FAIRHOPE – With traffic shifted to the new lanes on Alabama 181, highway officials hope to have all four lanes open by the end of the year.
Work has finished on what will be the northbound lanes of Alabama 181 between Baldwin County 64 and Alabama 104. On Monday, July 19, traffic was moved to the two new lanes to allow improvements to be completed on the older part of the highway, Vince Beebe of the Alabama Department of Transportation said.
Beebe told members of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization Technical Advisor Committee on Tuesday, July 20, that the traffic shift went well, and work is continuing.
“Everybody knows with the rain we've been having every morning, every afternoon, so working around that. That's obviously affecting schedules a little bit as well,” Beebe said.
“We hope to have that project here completed toward the end of the year, beginning of next year, some time in that time frame,” he added.
The Alabama Department of Environmental Management recently completed an erosion control audit of the project and approved the work done to manage runoff and silt loss, he said.
The project to widen U.S. 31 in Spanish Fort to four lanes east to Rockwell Elementary School is also continuing, he said. Rain has also delayed some work on that project.
“We're hoping that our schedule would let us get to opening four lanes middle of this month. I don't know how that's going with all this weather again, but that was the goal to try to get four lanes open before the school year begins,” Beebe said. “It's still the goal. We're trying to see how that goes. Again, we're hoping to complete that project by the beginning of next year as well.”
Work has also started to improve the intersection of U.S. 90 and Alabama 59 in Loxley. Workers recently removed a bump in U.S. 90 that was part of the foundation of an old railroad track, he said. Crews have also installed the foundations for new signal lights, which should soon be installed at the intersection, Beebe said.
He said the project also includes work on the connection with Baldwin County 68 at the site.
Plans are also moving forward to improve the intersection of U.S. 31 and Old 31 in Spanish Fort. The two roads now intersect at an angle, which has created a safety hazard, he said.
Baldwin County and ALDOT officials are working to acquire the land needed for rights of way to make the intersection a 90-degree angle.
Beebe said plan now call for construction on that project to begin around May 2022.