Huntsville High School families adjust commute to Cecil Ashburn closure

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville High School students who normally take Cecil Ashburn Drive are setting their alarm clocks earlier to make it on time.

At the end of the school day on Monday, several parents and grandparents were parked outside, ready for the trip home.

"Maybe it'll be five or ten minutes longer, I have no idea," Patricia Renfroe said. Renfroe was picking up her granddaughter from the school.

Many of them are headed for Hampton Cove, but there's one fewer way to get there now that Cecil Ashburn Drive is closed.

"I left about 20 minutes earlier," Huntsville High School freshman Jenny Dumbacher said.

"I took Green Mountain and it was a lot quicker that way," Huntsville High School parent Jennifer Morgan said.

For weeks, families have been making plans for getting to work and school on time with the mountain pass road undergoing a year and a half lane widening project.

"It normally takes 15 minutes to get from here to the Big Cove area where we live," Renfroe said.

The journey from California Street and Governor's Drive to Hampton Cove is just over seven miles. In a test run at 4:13 p.m., the trip took 10 minutes, 32 seconds for a WHNT News 19 vehicle to get from California Street to Sutton Road in Hampton Cove using 431.

"I'm going to be more careful than ever. You just have to do the best you can," Renfroe said.

"Once people find new routes or start to carpool, I think it'll help a lot," Morgan said.

It proved to be smooth sailing on Monday. Drivers say during rain and traffic accidents, that commute can take up to three times longer. They say they expect the thousands of drivers will adjust over the next few weeks. You can find more information about ridesharing and other resources here.

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