LACEY’S SPRING, Ala. (WAFF) - About 15,000 of you have been driving out of your way for the last seven months.
We’re talking about Highway 231 over Brindlee Mountain, and we’ve learned that you won’t have to keep making detours for long.
After the road split back in February, crews have been building two new bridges. Seth Burkett with the Alabama Department of Transportation says there is only two to three weeks left of work to be done. That could mean relief is on the way for those who have been driving around the mountain to get where you need to go.
Union Hill Road is one of several that is a lot more traveled these days.
“This road is not made to handle all this traffic, I don’t think,” Amie Dunn said.
Amie Dunn owns Hair Dynasty in Union Grove. The plus side, the forced detour has put a lot more eyes on her hair salon.
“I’ve actually had to hire another person because we’ve been so busy,” Dunn said.
But Dunn says what used to take six minutes to get to Huntsville. Now takes 26.
“Usually we would go out to eat on Friday or Saturday, once a week, something like that. Now we might go once a month,” she said.
There are thousands of other people like Dunn who are ready for the new replacement twin spans to open.
Each bridge will be about 1,000 feet long and 44 feet wide. There will be two lanes for traffic in each direction and shoulders on either side.
“They’re working 24/7 when it’s not pouring rain, and even a lot of work in the rain to try to get this done as quickly as possible,” Seth Burkett said.
Seth Burkett with the Alabama Department of Transportation tells us he’s thrilled with how quickly it is coming together. The deadline is December 2 but Burkett says the contractor is on track to finish in a matter of weeks.
“It was going to be a long closure for everyone no matter what, but the difference between a year and a half, and eight months is tremendous,” Burkett.
Weather could play a role in how long it takes crews to finish. There is a pretty big incentive for them to get the new twin spans done by October 3: $2.5 million.
Burkett says once the bridges do open, there may be some occasional lane closures, but 231 will be open again very soon.