The first month of construction on the U.S. 231 bridges that were washed out in a landslide in Morgan County has gone well, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

ALDOT reported more than half the drilled shafts that will form the foundations of the bridges spanning the landslide on U.S. 231 in Morgan County were completed.

Weather permitting, work continues around the clock, seven days a week, with the aim of opening the twin bridges to the traveling public by Dec. 2. Bridge construction began June 1.

Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham, the contractor on the $14.6 million project for the second phase of the repair on Brindlee Mountain between Lacey’s Spring and Morgan City, must construct a total of 32 drilled shafts, or caissons. These 9.5-foot-wide steel and concrete drilled shafts are socketed 15 feet into the solid rock beneath the slide to anchor the bridge abutments and piers. As of June 30, 17 of the shafts had been completed. In addition, seven grade beams –ground-level struts between pairs of shafts – were constructed, as well as 10 columns and one of the caps upon which the bridge girders will rest.

Each bridge will be about 1,000 feet long and 44 feet wide, accommodating two 12-foot lanes with 10-foot shoulders. The bridges will tie into the existing roadway following minor reconstruction of the roadway approaches.

The contractor could be paid incentives up to nearly $2.5 million for early completion. The highway must be fully reopened to traffic by Dec. 2 or the contractor will face pay deductions.

The closure of U.S. 231 followed severe damage caused by a substantial landslide triggered by heavy rainfall in February. Further investigation revealed a slide plane roughly 50 feet underground affecting about 1,000 feet of the bifurcated highway in each direction. During the first phase of repair, Reed Contracting removed about 220,000 cubic yards of dirt and debris from the slide area.

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