231 bridge work

Repairs to the bridges on U.S. 231 on Brindlee Mountain could be finished in early October. About 15,000 vehicles a day have been rerouted since a landslide in mid-February destroyed the bridges. [COURTESY PHOTO]

Morgan County motorists may see the bridge repair work along U.S. 231 on Brindlee Mountain completed in about three weeks if the weather stays cooperative, officials said.

A $2.49 million incentive is a driving factor for Brasfield & Gorrie, contractor on the $14.6 million project, if the work is completed by Oct. 3, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation. The contractor can receive gradually reduced portions of the incentives through Dec. 2.

A landslide destroyed the bridges during heavy rains in mid-February, causing a 16-mile detour for nearly 15,000 vehicles daily.

ALDOT spokesman Seth Burkett said the contractor has been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to complete the work. He said the incentive money will be paid from the Federal Emergency Aid fund.

“It’s been phenomenal to watch the project come together,” he said. “It’s been a monumental effort on the part of a lot of people inside of ALDOT and outside.”

He said Brasfield & Gorrie has finished pouring concrete for the decks of both bridges and additional concrete pours will be necessary to complete the bridge rails.

“There is a mandatory 14-day curing period for the concrete,” Burkett said.

Last week, Brasfield & Gorrie also began constructing the asphalt approaches to the bridges, tying the structures into the existing roadway, he said.

When completed, each bridge will be about 1,000 feet long and 44 feet wide, accommodating two 12-foot lanes with 10-foot shoulders.

Greg Abercrombie, Morgan County District 4 commissioner, and Commission Chairman Ray Long said they are impressed with the contractor’s speed on the project but are concerned about the premature wear and tear on two county roads, Luker Road and Union Hill Road, being used by motorists to detour around the construction.

Abercrombie said he’s seen about 80 vehicles on the half-mile Luker Road at a standstill because motorists must wait to turn left onto Union Hill Road, which is a portion of the detour. Luker Road is not on the official detour route, but motorists are trying to save driving an extra mile by taking a shortcut, he said.

Long said once the ALDOT project is complete he expects the state will help in repairing the two roads.

“We’re seeing some areas on our county roads that will need repairing because of the heavy traffic load,” he said. “These county roads aren’t designed for the amount of traffic and the big trucks that are on them every day. ALDOT has always been good working with us on these type of projects.”

Temporary lane closures will take place after the project is deemed complete, Burkett said.

“Likely there will be some striping and some cleanup work that will have to be done, so motorists need to remember it will still be considered a work zone, and they may see some delays at the bridges.”

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mike.wetzel@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.

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