DAPHNE — Weather could delay the widening of Alabama 181 between Daphne and Fairhope could be delayed another two months, state highway officials said.The project to expand the highway from two …
DAPHNE — Weather could delay the widening of Alabama 181 between Daphne and Fairhope could be delayed another two months, state highway officials said.
The project to expand the highway from two to four lanes between Baldwin County 64 and Alabama 104 was scheduled to be completed by Christmas, James Gordon, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Transportation, said Wednesday, Jan. 11.
He said the severe cold that struck the area last month impacted workers' ability to finish.
"We were hoping to have traffic on it Christmas week, but then with the temperatures being so cold, asphalt has to be put down at 60 degrees or higher," Gordon said. "That's happening now. They're out there now."
Matt Ericksen, district engineer for ALDOT, said it could take crews until March.
"We got a commitment from the subcontractor, Mobile Asphalt, that they are there to stay until the four-lane is open. They've got anywhere from a month to two months for the paving to do before they open the four-lane. They're out there working."
Gordon said other work will continue once all four lanes are open.
"When they're done with that, they'll have all the finishing touches, driveways, the shoulders," Gordon said. "They can do that while traffic is on it."
The project began in 2018 with utility work, according to previous reports. The two additional lanes were completed and traffic was shifted to the new highway while improvements were made to the original roadway.
The road is the second of four phases to widen the highway from Interstate 10 to U.S. 98. The next phase will be to widen Alabama 181 south to Baldwin County 32.
A 2021 report estimated the cost of completing the 9.7 miles from Alabama 104 to U.S. 98 at $64.5 million.
The first two phases, which will extend from Interstate 10 to U.S. 98, were paid for with money from penalties from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill through the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act, known as RESTORE.
State officials said funding for the next phase of the project is not available at this time.