MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that the first phase of their plan to repair and reopen U.S. 231 is now complete.
This includes the excavation of about 220,000 cubic yards of loose rock and soil from the landslide on Brindlee Mountain in Morgan County.
Over the past two months, Reed Contracting of Huntsville removed the volumetric equivalent of more than 65 Olympic-sized swimming pools of material. This was to reduce the overburden on the slide as well as the depth to the underlying bedrock.
That sets the stage for the second phase of the repair. That will be the construction of twin bridges to span the unstable area of the mountainside between Morgan City and Lacey’s Spring.
Completion of phase 1 comes one week after contractor Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham was awarded a $14.6 million contract for the phase 2 bridge construction.
ALDOT issued notice to proceed on May 12, and Brasfield & Gorrie is mobilizing in preparation for the bridge work slated to begin June 1.
During the next two weeks, the contractor and subcontractors will be moving equipment and handling miscellaneous preparatory work, including constructing access points and haul roads for the transfer of materials and equipment.
Deliveries of $4.2 million in custom-fabricated bridge materials ordered in advance by ALDOT are also anticipated to begin.
ALDOT’s goal is for the contractor to complete bridge construction and fully reopen the closed section of highway to traffic before Dec. 2.
ALDOT has attached a nearly $2.5 million total incentive for early completion of the project, as well as disincentives for late completion.
The closure of U.S. 231 followed severe damage caused by a substantial landslide triggered by heavy rainfall in February. Further investigation revealed a slide plane roughly 50 feet underground affecting about 1,000 feet of the bifurcated highway in each direction.