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Workers clear construction debris on one of the new exit ramps from I-565 onto Greenbrier Road. Construction will soon start in that section of I-565 to widen it.

Area road projects moving forward, work expected to begin soon on widening of I-565

The widening of Interstate 565, the replacement of a portion of U.S. 231 and other area projects are proceeding on schedule despite the coronavirus pandemic, an Alabama Department of Transportation spokesman said this week.

“Project bidding and construction, along with other essential functions, are proceeding on schedule,” said Seth Burkett, a spokesman with ALDOT’s north region. “Now that we are seeing warmer weather, a number of projects across the north region are already underway or will soon be starting up for this construction season, and any projects wintered from the previous construction season will become active again.”

He said some projects have been awaiting the right conditions to finish paving and place permanent striping.

“Huntsville-Brownsferry Road is scheduled for July letting,” Burkett said. “However, there are 14 tracts of right-of-way to purchase, so it is possible that project will move further out based on (right-of-way) acquisition.”

Plans are to four-lane the road from U.S. 31 to I-65, replace multiple bridges and widen the overpass at I-65.

ALDOT said last month it is committed to providing essential services, while following state and federal guidance regarding COVID-19.

Another ongoing project is improving the I-565 interchange at Greenbrier Road, and Burkett said the contractor is finishing the guardrail this week and will be wrapping up the permanent grassing and some final grading there before final paving can begin.

“Final paving is only waiting on custom fabrication of materials for and installation of the bridge drainage system on the Greenbrier Road bridge,” he said. As soon as drainage is installed, possibly around the end of this month, the contractor will begin paving, he said.

“We anticipate all work to be completed by the end of May, weather permitting,” he said.

A major project in Morgan County is along a portion of U.S. 231 near Lacey’s Spring, where the northbound and southbound lanes were shut down when a large landslide occurred and cracks formed in the road after heavy rains. ALDOT’s plans call for building two 1,000-foot bridges crossing the slide area on the existing road alignments, with piers to be anchored in the solid bedrock.

Burkett said the project design is near completion and will be finalized over the next couple of weeks.

“We’re still on target for letting the bridge project in early May, with notice to proceed and bridge construction following shortly, about a week, after,” he said.

According to Burkett, ALDOT has taken steps to procure more than $2 million of materials including girders, bearing pads and steel casings in advance instead of having the winning contractor procure them as part of the contract, to try to avoid the possibility of delays for material fabrication coming up later.

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