MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - Thursday afternoon, for several minutes, traffic along I-565 was at a standstill. Not for a wreck or emergency, but for a crucial step forward in adding an interstate exit on 565 near Zeirdt Road, and eventually, opening up mega-development Town Madison.
Thursday's phase of construction may have started with a bang, on a project that's been a slow roll.
The land for Town Madison was first cleared in 2015. Now, two years later, they have finished the old Intergraph complex, but still no development.
“This is kind of the mass dirt work and grading that has to be done to get ready,” says Joey Ceci of Breeland Companies.
The developer says that won't be for too much longer.
“We’ve got the first phase of the residential that will be starting soon, you’ll start to see some of the site work for some of the retail developments coming,” says Ceci.
He says it's a "Field of Dreams" mentality. Build the 565 interchange, and they, the retailers, will come.
“You’ll start seeing the actual construction of the interchange itself starting this summer and certain phases of it open about a year later,” he says.
The full interchange is slated to open Summer 2018. Right now, blasting is a crucial step in making that happen.
“All we’re doing is breaking up the rock that is beneath the surface of the dirt so you just see the earth jump up about a foot," says Ceci.
Breeland Companies has been blasting rock out here for two weeks, but this one section in particular was too close to the interstate to keep traffic flowing.
“As you get close to the interstate, you don’t want a little bit of a pebble that’s on top of the soil to get onto a car or impact traffic in any way,” he says.
So crews will keep working, so that this "Field of Dreams" finally wakes up and opens for business.
"I think you’re going to see some exciting announcements for stores and restaurants and such coming very soon now," says Ceci.
The developer says blasting out at the construction site will continue for the next several weeks, but they'll only close traffic on I-565 when they absolutely have to and not during peak travel times.