Residents near Cecil Ashburn Drive have mixed reactions to road construction coming

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the city will close Cecil Ashburn Drive in January so the road could be widen.

The city plans to close the road and start the work after the holiday season, Battle said, with the hope that additional lanes will be finished and ready to drive on within 10 and 14 months.

Bob Lewis has called Donegal Drive home for 20 years. The road intersects with Cecil Ashburn Drive.

"We built it when Cecil Ashburn wasn`t a completed road it was a stub about 100 yards long," Lewis explained.

The stub has since grown into a major road where more than 17 thousand drivers use daily. Lewis agrees with the city; it needs to widen, but he's worried about how crews plan to get the job done.

He remembers the last time work was done on the road, it cost him $2,000.

"Before they put the road in they came by and took pictures of everybody's houses. That was so we could collect any damages from blasting," Lewis said.

He says crews blasted the brick right off his home.

"We hired an attorney and we signed a petition. We went to court and the contractor told her and I quote the equipment we had wasn`t calibrated therefore nobody received any damage, well everybody was flabbergasted," Lewis said.

He would like to see someone from the city oversee any possible blasting.

"That overseer would make sure if we do get damage we get compensation," Lewis said.

Lewis along with many others living in this community say they haven`t heard anything from the city on how road construction will impact them. Crews plan to shut down the road starting at the intersection of Avalon and Cecil Ashburn.

Down the streetĀ the owner of Mellow Mushroom on Cecil Ashburn is worried shutting down the road will put him out of business.

"We don`t like it. We have called the city there`s nothing we can do about it to my knowledge. I understand the reason for them doing it," Mellow Mushroom owner Mark League said.

League has gone into survival mode because he doesn't know how many customers he has in the Hampton Cove area. He says they could lose out on customers because of the road closure next year.

Mayor Battle said shutting down the road completely will save the city millions.

"Somebody told us they were going to work 24 hours a day seven days a week and do it as quickly as possible, like ripping a band-aid off," League said.

The City of Huntsville posted online how they share the same concern of business owners like League. The city's post said construction will wait until January 2019 so it doesn't interfere with the holiday season.

The city also plans to offer cost incentives if the contractor finishes early, but not havingĀ  Cecil Ashburn open for a year makes League question if customers will still come to Mellow Mushroom.

"We have a lot of people, this is their job they need to eat and live. We have probably 70 employees here. I`m worried about them and the company. We are just going to take it day-by-day and do the best we can to survive," League said.

He said there are other ways to get to the restaurant by not going over the mountain, but some may view it as an inconvenience.

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