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Huntsville City Council considers closing Cecil Ashburn Drive for 1 year

The city initially budgeted $15 Million for the project, but after receiving bids from contractors the plan to keep at least one lane open during construction is proving to be a $25 million budget buster.

Posted: May. 12, 2018 5:26 PM

Huntsville city Council has a tough decision to make on whether or not to close Cecil Ashburn Drive for a year in order to fast track the widening project for the major thoroughfare.

With 17,000 cars crossing the mountain each day, city leaders say it’s over capacity.

The Cecil Ashburn project is a 2 1/2 years—3.4 mile road widening initiative to ease congestion in Southeast Huntsville between Hampton Cove and Jones Valley. The city initially budgeted $15 Million for the project, but after receiving bids from contractors the plan to keep at least one lane open during construction is proving to be a $25 million budget buster.

A Huntsville City spokesperson said there are a lot of the added cost associated with having construction workers keep one lane open during peak hours; as well as long traffic lines.

Shane Davis, Director of the City's Urban & Economic Development, told the council that closing Cecil Asburn completely during construction would help cut the budget and the length of the project. It would not, however, affect nearby businesses or individuals who live on Cecil Ashburn gaining access to their homes.

City leaders told WAAY 31 the South Parkway project is on scheduled and will open in November, so that will help drivers find alternate routes includes Governors Drive.

The city previously stated that construction on the project would begin this summer, but in light of the added expense, the council plans to reevaluate their options and come up with a recommendation within the next two weeks.

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