LACEY’S SPRING, Ala. – The ribbon has been cut and more than just the commuters are celebrating Highway 231’s reopening.
Tee Time Boutique is two miles south of where a section of Highway 231 was damaged by heavy rains and a landslide. It’s also a quarter of a mile north of the detour around the previously damaged road.
“20,000 cars that used to travel here daily, now cut off a quarter mile north of us, so they never see us,” said Tee Time boutique owner Brandi Kiel.
Kiel said times were tough once the road was closed, then COVID-19 hit.
“It was just like a double whammy, almost a knock out. And as a business owner, so many businesses have closed and we had to really stop and ask ourselves could we sustain through what seems to be every obstacle that is coming at us?” she said.
Kiel said their in-store purchases decreased by 75 percent. They almost didn’t make it, and she was prepared to try and stretch revenue for a year and a half.
“Then all of a sudden we start hearing November, December, and I’m thinking, ‘ok, well if December comes then that’s Christmas, we’ll be ok,’ and then all of a sudden, it’s like the bridge is opening and it is Christmas in September,” she said.
At a press conference Monday, Alabama Department of Transportation’s Seth Burkett acknowledged the feat taken by all parties to make the repair happen before their December 2nd deadline.
“This was a monumental effort that the contractors have put in, the people at ALDOT have put in to make a lot of moving pieces come together to get this projected completed as quickly as possible,” Burkett said.
Kiel mentioned she is excited for the end of the detour for more than one reason. She can take Highway 231 straight to her daughter’s house to meet her new grandson, who was born just yesterday.