A 5-mile repaving project on Governors Drive in Huntsville is officially underway after a 48-hour delay.
The repaving is starting on Old Big Cove Road in Hampton Cove, going all the way down to Bassett Street near the medical district. It couldn't come at a worse time, while Cecil Ashburn Drive is closed.
The state says this project couldn't be held off any longer because it's a safety hazard, and even though they knew the city would be closing Cecil Ashburn, the plan all along was to repave Highway 431 during the closure.
Matt Ross works along Highway 431 and said he is not looking forward to the traffic that could be a result of yet another improvement project.
"I'm mostly worried about the extra time it's going to add onto the commute everyday when you have an already really packed schedule," Ross said.
A spokesperson for the City of Huntsville said this project has always been planned to start this spring. Even though, WAAY 31 was told back in April that no project would start until Cecil Ashburn Drive was completed, unless there was an emergency.
Seth Burkett with the Alabama Department of Transportation said this stretch of Highway 431 was overdue for repaving, even before the Cecil Ashburn closure. They are putting down a special asphalt mix that allows rainwater to seep directly into the ground instead of sitting on top of the road.
"We've been planning on this for awhile and this is the ideal time to do it, right now in the summer time," Burkett said.
Officials believe this will decrease the amount of accidents when it rains. Burkett said the asphalt is temperature sensitive, so it has to be done at night. He said he and the city worked together to make it as painless as possible, by doing the work at night.
"It's going to be the middle of the night, so I wouldn't anticipate any kind of extreme delays," he said.
Burkett said drivers will still see some delays but not as many since the work is not being done during peak drive times.
"They could encounter a lane closure anywhere in the project, northbound or southbound," he said.
Drivers say at this point, all they can do is hope for the best.
"I hope it's not going to be as bad as I think it is," Ross said.
Neither the City of Huntsville nor the state gave clear answers as to why they didn't tell the public about this when they announced the Cecil Ashburn Drive closure. They said this project has been in the works since late last year.
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