Drainage issue halts intersection work

Published 3:52 pm Friday, May 29, 2015

Work on the intersection of highways 31 and 22 in downtown Clanton was halted because of a drainage issue.

Work on the intersection of highways 31 and 22 in downtown Clanton was halted because of a drainage issue.

A drainage issue has delayed work on the intersection of highways 31 and 22 in downtown Clanton.

Work at the site, which was an effort to improve an intersection that was too narrow for many trucks and prone to traffic back-ups, started April 21 and was estimated to last 140 days.

However, an Alabama Department of Transportation spokeswoman said a drainage issue put a halt to the work, and the latest estimate is that the work will be completed in November, weather permitting.

Haley Ansley with ALDOT said the department is working with its design consultant to address the drainage issue.

“As the contractor began work [at] the intersection, it became clear that the drainage work as proposed in the plans needed revision due to current field conditions,” Ansley said. “ALDOT has worked with the original designer of the project as well as the contractor to revise the drainage work as quickly as possible. This revision is in its final stages of approval now, and we hope to have a final answer next week so the contractor can get back to work.”

April 30 was the last day of work at the site before the delay.

Local residents and business owners have expressed their unhappiness with the situation, as the road closures force traffic onto detours and away from several businesses.

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver addressed the situation at the Clanton City Council meeting Tuesday but was unable to tell those in attendance when the work would resume.

Chris Johnson of J&W Communications told the mayor and council that businesspeople in the community were hurting.

“We feel that it is crippling the economy of the city,” Johnson said. “It seems to us that they’re dragging their feet on it.”

The improvements to the intersection will include widening at all four corners to accommodate large trucks (primarily those from Highway 31 South onto Highway 22 West toward Maplesville), Ansley said.

Also, new signals and drainage will be installed, and asphalt will be replaced with concrete pavement to withstand the weight of heavy truck loads and traffic, she said.

Intersection improvement work will result in intermittent lane closures, and ALDOT urges local commuters to allow extra time for their travels.

While the overall project completion is expected in November, various phases will be completed and opened to traffic as the improvement project progresses along through the summer and early fall, according to a press release.