LACEY’S SPRING, Ala. – The stretch of U.S. Highway 231 in Morgan County that has been closed since February due to cracking of the roadway, exacerbated by heavy rains in early 2020 and caused by an underground landslide, will re-open Monday after a ribbon-cutting ceremony that is scheduled to include Gov. Kay Ivey.
U.S. 231 between Hill Road and Huskey Mountain Road on Brindlee Mountain in Morgan County was closed in February when large cracks appeared in the pavement after heavy rainfall triggered movement of a landslide deep underground, about 50 feet below the road surface. Both the northbound and southbound roadways were closed, and all pavement was been removed from the roughly 1,000-foot areas impacted by the slide.
The repair was a two-phase process. The first phase consisted of removing 220,000 cubic yards of loose rock and soil to significantly reduce the mass of the landslide and the depth to solid rock. The second phase was the construction of two 1,000-foot bridges crossing the slide area on the existing roadway alignments. These bridges stand on thick piers anchored in the solid bedrock beneath the landslide.
The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) anticipates contractor Brasfield & Gorrie opening the twin 1,000-foot bridges, which were constructed across the slide area, to traffic following the ceremony.
Initial estimates suggested bridge construction could take a year to complete, but thanks to creative planning and hard work by both ALDOT and the contractor, the bridges will be complete in less than four months. U.S. 231 is expected to open less than eight months after record-breaking rain caused damage and prompted closure of the highway near Lacey’s Spring, more than two months ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline for reopening.
It’s important to emphasize that that fully reopening the highway following the ceremony is a process that may take time and could occur in stages. Motorists should also be aware that the area will remain a work zone and additional work will cause some daily temporary lane closures in the coming weeks.