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Shields Road closed for bridge construction for the next 90 days, impacts Election Day traffic

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - For the next 90 days, a portion of Shields Road will be blocked off to complete construction on the Norfolk Southern Bridge. It's the stretch of road between Highway 72 and Jordan Road.

“The road has settled on both sides of that bridge, so what the contractor will be doing is excavating that material adjacent to the bridge out and replacing it with stone back fill to stabilize the bridge approaches," says Kathy Martin, the Director of City Engineering for Huntsville.

Martin says before the city annexed that part of town, contractors in the past used material that wasn't strong enough to support the road.  “The contractor has 90 days to excavate both sides and backfill with rock, so in a perfect world, hopefully they’ll be finished in 60 days," she says.

While the road is closed, the city has posted several signs marking the detour route. Still, we saw dozens of cars that drove all the way up to the sign, only to have to turn around.  “We’re asking people to use Jordan Road which is a signaled intersection over to Moores Mill Road and get back on to 72 east," says Martin.

Election Day Traffic 

Chances are, there's always some sort of construction going on in a city the size of Huntsville, but cones made it a little bit more difficult for some voters just to get to their precinct. “It’s an easy detour to Jordan Road and both of these intersections are signaled so we have signed it appropriately and hopefully people will not be going over a mile out of their way," says Martin.

Coming from Highway 72, voters assigned to the Cove Church at Chase off Winchester Road had to take that detour by going down Moore's Mill Road then taking a right on Jordan Road, then going the rest of the way down Shields Road to the church.

The voters we spoke to at the precinct say the detour wasn't a problem for them, but we did see cars seemingly surprised by the barricades that had to turn around and find an alternate route.

City officials say the work couldn't wait.

“By removing all the material that was used to backfill it years ago, and will be putting back in rock or gravel to stabilize it and then just doing some adjustments to the bridge abutments as well," says Martin.

Construction is scheduled to last the next 90 days.