Taking Action: Why does Chapman Mountain project site look like a ghost town?

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - If you drive over Chapman Mountain in Huntsville, you know right now, with a widening project underway, it's not a lot of fun. A WHNT News 19 viewer emailed asking why he hasn't seen much work going on behind the barricades.

Shannon Barron wrote: "Can you find out why the road project on Chapman mountain apparently has been shutdown? If this road project has been shut down it would be nice if they would relocate the concrete barriers to make more room in the westbound lanes. Sometimes traffic is backed up on Moores Mill because the big trucks cannot merge out into the westbound lane. Please look into this."

So, what is the deal with progress on Chapman Mountain? We took your question straight to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Turns out, there's a perfectly good explanation for why activity on site has been a little slower these days. ALDOT's Johnny Harris says after quite a harsh winter, crews are moving from their initial phase of construction into prime construction season through the spring, summer and fall. Their next phase will mostly require moving tons of water and power lines.

"With the project being let in October, it moved the first phase into the winter and it's hard to do much grading work out there. So as the weather breaks you'll see some activity pick up again," Harris explains.

He says a much as the work may impact you now, this is really just a sort of stop-gap project to improve the intersections from Moores Mill to just east of Shields Road, where the construction will end.

And Harris says if you're complaining about traffic impact now, buckle up. In the latter phases of construction, crews will have to emerge from behind barricades to complete work right in the middle of the intersections at Moores Mill and Shields. Harris does say though, the project is on schedule, and should wrap up entirely by early 2016 -- when there'll be tons more elbow room on Highway 72 East.

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