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Highway 231 reopens two months ahead of schedule

A portion of U.S. 231 closed for seven months after heavy rain caused a landslide that washed away its foundation.

MORGAN COUNTY, Alabama — Highway 231 in Brindlee Mountain is officially open. Now, nearly 15,000 commuters will get some valuable time back.

Crews were able to reopen both roadways of U.S. 231 between Lacey's Spring and Morgan City two months ahead of schedule.

District 9 Representative Scott Stadthagen said, "For the residents, this kind of abrupted your life. It added 45 minutes, probably both ways."

The road closed for seven months after heavy rain caused a landslide that washed away its foundation.

Now, if you drive along Highway 231, you'll see twin bridges. To ensure a solid foundation, crews drilled giant shafts in solid rock beneath the landslide.

Each bridge is about 1,000 feet long and 44 feet wide, accommodating two 12-foot lanes with 10-foot shoulders.

ALDOT began developing the plan in February. By may, Reed Contracting removed 200,000 cubic yards of dirt and debris from the slide area. On June 1st, contractor Brasfield & Gorrie started construction on the bridges.

RELATED: Phase 2: Bridge construction starts on U.S. 231 on Brindlee Mountain

Brasfield & Gorrie Regional Vice President, Kevin White, said, "In June, we kind of launched everybody's teams out of a canon and said go. Go fast, and get done quickly."'

Four months and over $14 million later, crews celebrated the reopening at a ribbon cutting.

ALDOT North Region Engineer Curtis Vincent said, "To think that we could get two 1,000 foot bridges built, not only built but have traffic back on them within four months, it's incredible. I don't know what else to compare it to. In our world, that's really outstanding."

Governor Kay Ivey proclaimed a state of emergency due to the landslide, helping to get the project done more quickly.

Since the road reopened ahead of the December 2nd deadline, the contractor will receive a nearly $2.5 million incentive.

RELATED: HWY 231 won't re-open for at least a year

"A project doesn't go this fast without a lot of cooperation between the state and their consultants, the contractor and the subs and the vendors," said White. "I think that everybody that was involved in the project on all sides of the aisle deserve a lot of credit."

There are some finishing touches being made, so the area will remain a work zone. They say there could be temporary single-lane closures as they finish up.

WATCH: ALDOT breaks down timeline of the Hwy 231 project