The Alabama Department of Transportation has halted all 23 of its construction projects that involve grading until environmental concerns can be addressed, said ALDOT Chief Engineer and Deputy Director Don Vaughn. The projects were scheduled to go out for bid from December through March.
All state projects must be reviewed by district engineers to determine that there will be no runoff from the grading and that erosion controls are in place.
In October, sediment from the widening of U.S. 98 ended up in creeks, wetlands and the lake that supplies water to Mobile. Director Joe McInnes said the delay, ordered Nov. 8, is related to the problems with U.S. 98.
"We are going to do a better job of storm-water runoff review before we go to contract," McInnes said. "So we're ready to delay projects until that review is complete and we are satisfied with it. We are serious about this."
The move means a delay for several Birmingham-area projects, including Corridor X from Cherry Ave. to I-65, the widening of I-65 in Shelby County, the extension of Municipal Drive in Hoover and the widening of I-65 to accommodate Corridor X from 41st St. to Walker Chapel Rd.
Birmingham Division Engineer Brian Davis said the reviews will determine whether there is enough working room along the worksites to maintain slopes and prevent runoff.
"We will determine how steep the slopes are and see that there is enough room to do the things we need to do to contain the sediment," Davis said.
Davis said he was unsure how long local projects will be delayed.