Aldridge Gap Road reopened in Marshall County

Northeast Alabama
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MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. - On Christmas Day in 2015, Aldridge Gap Road washed away after many days of rain. 943 days later, the road was reopened but some people might notice that it's been moved.

Bob Pirando, a county engineer with Marshall County says the former Aldridge Gap Road was not salvageable.

"It was unstable and it had already failed, so we looked at probably four or five different repair options and my thoughts all along were to avoid the slope all together," said Pirando.

So to fix it, they cut into the rock and moved the road.

Marshall County District 1 Commissioner Ronny Shumate explained how far the road moved from the original road.

"The hill that we're on now is like 300 feet above the original roadway. We came up 300 feet, and we came over about 300 feet," said Shumate.

While the road was shut down for 943 days, only 24 of those were used for construction.

Shumate says most of the days it was closed were used for planning, funding, and complications.

"We had to get the funding first it was going to be very expensive and we've got a county budget," explains Shumate.

But once leaders got the funding, which was a budget of $280,000, former county commissioner Bill Stricklend, who started the project, says the task became even more frustrating.

"We went through the first year of paperwork and different FEMA representatives, a lot of calls to Washington," said Stricklend.

Because when they started digging they thought they found native burial grounds.

Then they found out it was only a few artifacts. Then, once they started working again, they found bats.

"Then they found a specific type of bat that was living in the area and we didn't want to interfere with the bat population but then they found out it wasn't specific just to this area," said Shumate.

Now, after jumping all those hurdles, Shumate, Pirando, and Stricklend say Aldridge Gap Road is open and safer than ever.

Shumate also says they only spent $240,000 of the original $280,000 budget.

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