HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Crews are hard at work creating a new corridor into downtown Huntsville.
It's the second phase of a construction project that started almost 10 years ago. First, there was the rebuild of Hundley Drive and now work is happening on Church Street and Pratt Avenue.
The project will widen and realign one mile of Church Street and realign Pratt Avenue to straighten out its curve.
“It will have five lanes on Church Street and four lanes on Pratt Avenue. Anybody who travels that intersection frequently knows it’s a very awkward intersection with Church Street, Pratt Avenue, Wheeler Avenue. Church Street will be the main thoroughfare so it will be a much more traditional intersection. We’re building two brand new bridges and they’ll be able to accommodate five lanes of traffic as well as bike lanes and multi-use pass on both sides,” explained Kathy Martin, Director of Engineering for the City of Huntsville.
Construction started in November on the state funded project. Traffic has been shifted to one side of Church and Pratt to allow the contractor to work in the middle. What you see now is workers building the subsurface of the two bridges and realigning the existing roadway. The project also includes reconfiguring the existing Church and Pratt intersection.
"We're hoping that one lane does remain open both ways at all times. There will be short periods of time when there will have to be some full closures to tie the old bridge into the new bridge," Martin said.
It will make for better, safer access for employees and those who have business at the Huntsville Police Department and Madison County Sheriff's Office headquarters on Wheeler Avenue.
"If you have to come for a court date, or paperwork or a pistol permit, keep that in mind and leave a little early to make sure you get there in the time you want to get there. We'll manage it just like our customers who come to see us and once it's completed, it'll be better for everybody," said Lt. Donny Shaw, spokesman for the Madison County Sheriff's Office.
The project is expected to wrap up by mid-late 2020 depending on weather.
It is an active construction zone. So we just want to remind everybody about speed limits. There are workers present. There's a lot of work to be done and there's a lot of people out there working so we do caution everyone.
Northbound traffic on Church Street between the Huntsville Depot and Wheeler Avenue has been shifted to the southbound lanes. Eastbound traffic on Pratt Avenue between Washington Street and Church Street has been shifted to the westbound lanes.
This traffic pattern will remain in place until fall 2019 when the contractor progresses to the next phase of work. Two-way traffic will be maintained in this area, except during periodic full road closures needed for bridge construction. Separate notification will be sent for future road closures as they occur.
“It is an active construction zone. So we just want to remind everybody about speed limits. There are workers present. There’s a lot of work to be done and there’s a lot of people out there working so we do caution everyone,” Martin stated.