“We may be able to estimate Alabama 21 may reopen within the next week — possibly by the weekend,” ALDOT Bureau Chief of Media and Community Relations Tony Harris said.
Construction crews from Newell Roadbuilders Inc. of Hope Hull began work on the $9.4 million emergency repair project Aug. 14. The project start date, originally scheduled for Aug. 12, was delayed because of weather concerns.
Terms of the contract required the project to be completed within 21 days of the construction start date, but because the sinkholes were larger than originally anticipated, the project now enters its 29th day.
When Harris announced the initial delay Aug. 28, he said the crews had to “dig down to a solid base” before the boulders and cement used to plug the two sinkholes could be deployed.
While the project has seen its share of inconveniences created primarily because of issues with the detours, local resident Barbara Moore said she was satisfied with the crew’s progress on the project.
“I’ve been very pleased with their progress,” Moore said. “I’m sure they were doing the best they possibly can out there. I couldn’t believe they had to dig down that deep to make the repairs. I believe they’ve done a great job and I’m excited to hear that the highway could be reopened as soon as this weekend.”
Moore, who had voiced her concerns during the planning stages of this project at various meetings, also received assurance that the neighboring landscape bordering the southbound lane would be fixed following the project’s completion.
“When I spoke to the project manager, he promised me they’re going to repair the hillside and possibly put some grass there,” Moore said. “They’ve already put some white rocks in there. I hope they keep that promise and restore it back to the way it was before the project began.”