ALDOT shifts lanes around Pelham sinkhole

Alabama Department of Transportation crews have been forced to divert traffic onto newly constructed southbound lanes as the department works to repair a sinkhole below Interstate 65.

ALDOT diverted southbound traffic on I-65 onto the new lanes July 21, and began excavating the inside southbound lanes on July 22, said ALDOT spokesperson Linda Crockett.

As a result of the diversion, three 11-foot southbound lanes are now operational near the sinkhole.

Crews discovered the sinkhole slightly south of the Valleydale Road exit in Pelham on July 1, and have been working to identify the magnitude of the hole and fill it for the past several weeks.

Because the sinkhole is under the northbound and southbound inside lanes of the interstate, workers have been forced to tear down a portion of the concrete median, and have lowered the speed limit near the sinkhole.

As crews work to excavate the sinkhole, they may be forced to close an additional lane on the northbound side of I-65 this weekend, Crockett said.

“They actually started excavation this morning,” Crockett said July 22. “We may have to close some lanes on the northbound side this weekend, but we will make a call on that in the next few days.”

ALDOT officials are also planning to close portions of U.S. 31 in downtown Calera this weekend.

Weather permitting, the department will close portions of the outside southbound lane between mile marker 243 and 243.4 from 8 p.m. July 23 until sometime July 26 as crews repave parts of U.S. 31.

The project will close the U.S. 31 – Shelby County 16 intersection, and ALDOT will post detour signs around the closure.

ALTOT is urging motorists to consider using alternate routes and adjust arrival and departure times to compensate for the work in both construction zones.