City looks at delaying Cecil Ashburn Drive road work

(Source: WAFF 48 News)
(Source: WAFF 48 News)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Huntsville could pump the brakes on a major road project on the south side of town.

The widening of Cecil Ashburn Drive  from two to four lanes over Huntsville Mountain might be delayed as the city continues to look at options in an effort to reduce the impact on residents, businesses and commuters.

The mountain road connects Jones Valley and Hampton Cove. Roadwork was expected to start this summer, but the city could be pushing that back.

"We're looking at delaying the project to January of next year. We've talked with businesses and with the holiday season, they want to get through that. It's a peak portion of their revenue stream to carry them through an entire calendar year," explained Shane Davis, the Director of Urban Development.

There's also possible upcoming road work on Governors Drive.

"We've also talked to the Alabama Department of Transportation. They're looking at resurfacing a portion of Governor's Drive this summer. They haven't finalized that decision but they're leaning pretty heavily towards that. So we don't want to have both those main corridors with active construction," Davis said.

The city says the best option for the least amount of impact is to shut the 3.5 mile stretch of Cecil Ashburn Drive down totally during construction, shortening the time frame from 2.5 years to one year.

Officials are also looking at doing improvements on other roads drivers will use during construction.

"We're looking at doing some improvements on the eastern bypass to make a better connection to US 72 temporarily during construction to help those alternate routes people will have to take to make the commute quicker," Davis stated. "We're putting together some detour routes that will think will be a big benefit to the Hampton Cove area during construction."

The city could start clearing trees along Cecil Ashburn Drive during the fall to get ready for rock removal. That can be done with the road open.

Over the next few weeks, officials say a plan on how to move forward will be finalized to share with the public.

"We want the public to know that we're trying to find a way to do this as fast as possible," Davis said. "I think most people would agree that the road is at capacity. With the projected 10 year growth of doubling the amount of doubling the traffic on it, is why it's one of the Restore Roads projects, one of the top five projects. We're trying to make sure we do it in the least impactful way possible."

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