HUNTSVILLE, Ala - This marks the 7th-week Cecil Ashburn has been closed for construction. Crews are working on the blasting portion of the project. Crews are working to widen and improve safety on a 3.4 mile stretch of road that connects Old Big Cove Road to the Jones Valley Area. All lanes are closed to traffic, but city leaders say two lanes should be re-opened in November. And fortunately, city leaders say construction stayed on schedule this week despite heavy rains that moved through the area.
Construction is taking place seven days a week. The crew is almost finished clearing away trees. They are laying storm drain at the east and west end of the Cecil Ashburn and are halfway through the blasting portion of the project. Those blasts normally take place twice a day.
"We're really focused on blasting that material and moving that material to the correct location. So, you'll see that occurring for the next two months or so," said Kathy Martin, Huntsville Director of City Engineering.
Martin says the rainy weather hasn't put a damper on their progress.
"Really is not slowed down by the cold or the wet weather. So, again the contractor continues to make progress and is able to work in these conditions," she said.
But the city is hitting one bump in the road...Trespassers. Martin says people are using a trail to access the closed-off road to take pictures of the blasting, which is very dangerous.
"We are urging them not to do that," she said.
Martin says the blasting portion of the project should be completed sometime near April and she wants to remind people that going past roadblocks is considered trespassing and people can be cited for doing that.
Portions of the portions of the Certain, Smoke Rise, and Fanning trails are closed due to blasting. Five minutes prior to blasting, a series of five long sirens will sound to warn hikers.
Martin says she hopes Huntsville Utilities, city traffic engineers, and some of the fiberoptic companies will be on site next week to start relocating some lines near the east end of the project. Because of that, people who live on the Old Big Cove side of Cecil Ashburn may see more construction activity next week.
The city is providing updates on the project on their website.