Junior Ramos of Huntsville didn’t seem to mind being in slow traffic Tuesday as road crews began work for the night resurfacing of Alabama 20 between U.S. 31 and Interstate 65 in Decatur, a route he drives twice a day.
“Traffic is slower but it is still moving, so that is good,” said the native of Guatemala who works as a mechanic in Decatur. “I know we will all be ready for them to finish. It will be much nicer and smoother. Improvements were needed there.”
On Tuesday night, traffic flowed through the construction area at about 25 to 45 mph. One lane in each direction was closed. More than a dozen workers and vehicles were busy. A state trooper was on site ensuring safer driving.
The Alabama Department of Transportation said resurfacing the 2.7-mile stretch began Sunday night and is expected to be completed by late fall. Reed Contracting is doing the $1.15 million project.
“It’s a 35-day work project, and weather permitting it could be finished by mid-November or even earlier,” said ALDOT spokesman Seth Burkett. “As we get later in the year, favorable weather conditions are not as reliable for some projects like this.”
He said 36,000 vehicles use that stretch of Alabama 20 daily.
He said work will be done from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays to avoid heavier traffic times during the day. He said he doesn’t anticipate any lane closures during daytime hours.
Burkett said Reed will grind off the old paved surface and replace it.
“The milled surface will be a rougher ride (temporarily), but it really shouldn’t be an issue,” he said. “Even during the day, motorists need to remember it is still a construction zone. They need to check their speed.”
That portion of Alabama 20 also is where Decatur plans to build an access road and overpass. Several landowners on the north side of Alabama 20 have challenged those plans in court because they would lose acreage to the right-of-way acquisition that could be used for future development.
In December 2018, the city was awarded a $14.2 million federal grant for the overpass meant to spur economic development. The project is expected to cost almost $19 million.
Burkett said ALDOT has "very little" to do with the proposed overpass.