Tony Harris, ALDOT bureau chief, explained when the excavation of the second sinkhole began, workers discovered a much larger area than anticipated needed to be unearthed.
“You have to dig down to a solid base before you can begin to build the roadway back up,” Harris said. “I don’t think it should come as a surprise when you get into that kind of excavation. It’s just part of the maintenance that comes with overseeing more than 11,000 miles of roadway.”
Workers from Newell Roadbuilders Inc. of Hope Hull started work on the $9.4 million project Aug. 14.
County Engineer Tim Markert alluded to potential delays when briefing the Talladega County Commission on the status of the project during Monday’s meeting.
While a firm date for reopening Alabama 21 could not be set, Harris estimated a window for when travelers may resume putting wheels to the asphalt.
“I think we’re going to see an additional seven to 10 days added to the anticipated re-open date,” Harris said.
According to Harris, Alabama ranks in the top 10 for states with active sinkholes.
The original terms of the contract with Newell Roadbuilders Inc. called for the road to be re-opened within 21 days of the project start date.
Harris would not speculate on how recent developments would affect the contract and said any decisions would be made once the project closeout occurs.