Alabama Department of Transportation officials are anticipating by mid-August the completion of two separate ongoing projects that will eventually provide a new surface for both lanes of the portion of U.S. 31 that runs through western Escambia County and Atmore and into the middle of Flomaton.
The 20-mile stretch of mostly two-lane blacktop is being resurfaced and re-striped by Mobile Asphalt Co., which won separate contracts with combined bids of about $3.3 million.
“The U.S. 31 paving is actually two projects that butt up to each other,” said Cheyenne West, a public information officer with ALDOT. “The first was from the Baldwin County line to Canoe, and that bid was $1.8 million. The second will be from Canoe to downtown Flomaton, and the bid for that was $1.5 million. Mobile Asphalt will do the paving and striping on both lanes of U.S. 31.”
Paving for the first leg of the initial project stopped just west of Rockaway Creek Road and resumed several yards east of Martin Luther King Drive, leaving the highway’s stretch through Atmore unpaved.
That status is only temporary, West explained.
“That portion was left unpaved, but I believe that was for traffic-control reasons,” she said. “They will go back and resurface the part that runs through Atmore. They will likely do that part at night.”
MAC crews had put down new surface on the eastbound lanes as far as Cowpen Creek Road in Canoe by the end of last week and were moving toward Flomaton as midweek approached.
West noted that stoppages caused by torrential rains that fell during June, along with brief respites due to pop-up thunderstorms and showers that are part of the summer weather pattern in lower Alabama, are the only problems reported by the paving contractor that have slowed progress on the twin projects.
“The only problem they have had has been when it rained,” she said. “Other than that, they’re moving right along.”