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Officials: Cecil Ashburn Drive construction not impacted by rain

City officials said they planned to start construction in January for a reason.

Posted: Feb 21, 2019 7:31 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2019 10:01 PM

Road work has come to a grinding halt this week across Alabama, but one major Huntsville road project hasn't been impacted.

The City of Huntsville said it planned the Cecil Ashburn Drive project to start in January, because the weather is suitable for the work crews are doing.

Jeremy Millich is one of the thousands of drivers who takes a detour these days, since the city closed Cecil Ashburn Drive in January.

"We've had a lot of rain, and the rain can definitely delay projects," he said.

However, City Engineer Kathy Martin said the rain isn't impacting the project. The contractor has finished clearing the site and 50 percent of the blasting is done.

"It's not dependent on cold conditions, nor is it dependent on wet conditions, because the contractor can continue to work in those conditions," Martin said.

Blasting and excavating are able to happen rain or shine, and both are expected to last until April. The contractor is also working on safety upgrades that include improved drainage for the road.

"We're installing storm drainage to keep the water from traveling across the road and from causing any slippery surfaces. We are also installing some retention ponds on the upside of the mountains and some large ditches to control that runoff, so it's not sheet draining off the mountain and across the road," Martin said.

Millich says any progress is good, and he's looking forward to the day when he doesn't have to take Governors Drive to get into Huntsville from Owens Cross Roads. The project is not expected to be fully complete until spring of 2020, but he hopes crews keep working as quickly as they can.

"That's a major undertaking and ... for them to make that kind of progress, that's amazing," he said.

Martin said, next up on the list, is working on moving some of the utilities for the road. She said crews are supposed to begin on the Hampton Cove side of the road next week.

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