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Officials expect delays on I-65 bridge, Ala. 67

By Chris Paschenko 340-2442

Two road projects promise to lengthen Decatur commute times next month when state and local contractors begin closing lanes on Alabama 67 and Interstate 65.

Johnny Harris, a division engineer with the Department of Transportation, said the state would begin bridge maintenance Monday, which will require closing lanes on the I-65 bridge spanning the Tennessee River.

"We've tentatively scheduled work to begin April 2, but we don't know when there'll be lane closures," Harris said. "It'll be decided on a day-to-day basis. We'd like to supply that information, but unfortunately we don't even know that ourselves."

Harris said the maintenance work could take several weeks to repair general wear and tear, and repair caps, girders and stress fractures.

"A lot of the work we'll do underneath the bridge without closing lanes," he said. "But sometimes we'll have some equipment topside."

Drivers could also see major delays on Alabama 67 in mid- to late April as Waters Brothers Contractors builds an exit lane from the Target shopping center.

Waters Brothers closed one lane of Alabama 67 east of U.S. 31 last week, but doesn't anticipate another closure until DOT reviews its plans, said David Binkley, the company's safety director.

"It will be a heavy undertaking, because it will be closer to the intersection." Binkley said. "We'll actually shut down one of the turn lanes coming off (U.S.) 31 onto (Alabama) 67 southbound, and we'll close the right-hand lane in front of Kmart to start channeling vehicles."

Binkley said the company would also begin building entrances to the Target development in late April or May.

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