South Memorial Parkway mainline now open

The mainline opened to drivers before noon Tuesday.

Posted: Aug 1, 2018 5:40 AM

Lonnie Sloan drives on of the 70,000 vehicles that travel South Memorial Parkway everyday.

"It's gonna be nice being able to get home on time," Sloan said.

Now, after being stuck in what's felt like a nearly three year traffic jam, drivers can make it from south of Weatherly Road to north of Oakwood Avenue without stopping.

State and local leaders showed up to celebrate the turning point in south Huntsville traffic Tuesday morning with a focus on just how quick this part of the project came to a close.

"The whole essence of it is, in over two years we have been able to complete this when it took us 12 years to complete the overpasses at Weatherly, Airport, and Pratt," Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle said.

The South Memorial Parkway project cost $59 million.

The roadwork cost $54 million, and an additional $5 million in incentives were paid to the contractor for getting the project finished nearly one year ahead of schedule.

"The time that motorists are losing in sitting in congested traffic is probably saved with that money," Seth Burkett with the Alabama Department of Transportation said.

The mainline is open, but there is still some construction to be done on the frontage roads.

"There is paving on the service roads that remains to be done, but beyond that most of it is pretty minor stuff and it shouldn't bring major traffic impacts with it," Burkett said.

This makes it easier for drivers like Sloan to get home on time.

"It’ll be nice to be able to go out and do something fun without having to worry about the headache of fighting the traffic to get there," Sloan said.

WAAY 31 also looked into how the South Parkway project will bring business back to the area. You can see that story here.

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