Motorists should be aware that the westbound lane of Highway 68 – going up the mountain, toward Sand Rock from Leesburg, remains CLOSED. Many motorists are reportedly driving around those barricades and traveling up the mountain – going the wrong way in a one way lane, with traffic coming down the mountain. This is, of course, extremely dangerous.
Westbound traffic should detour at the bottom of the mountain at Leesburg – onto Alabama Highway 273 to Blue Pond and then turn left onto County Road 48 which will take you into Sand Rock. All 18-wheel vehicles and other commercial carriers are to detour onto U.S. 411 south to Gadsden then onto I-59 north to the Collinsville exit. WEIS Radio News spoke with Alabama Department of Transportation District Manager Cody Adams on Monday morning, and he informed us that there are structural issues which will have to be dealt with prior to both lanes re-opening.
He said that portions of the road have been undermined by recent heavy rainfall essentially washing away dirt and gravel from underneath the surface of the road – so, even though the roadway may appear to be all right to the naked eye, it could in fact, be unsafe in spots.
Adams said he hopes to begin work to correct that problem within the next week or so with a target date for completion of the project being possibly an additional four weeks.
In the meantime, we urge you to exercise caution and common sense by taking the detours.
NEWS RELEASE / ALDOT asks drivers to stay off closed Alabama 68 westbound
HUNTSVILLE — The Alabama Department of Transportation asks motorists to please refrain from entering the closed portion of Alabama 68 westbound in Cherokee County, where a shoulder slide has created a major safety concern.
The shoulder slide, which developed during recent heavy rainfall in the area between Leesburg and Sand Rock, has compromised shoulders and guardrails on the westbound side of the road. The eastbound lane remains open, but the roadway is too narrow to safely accommodate traffic traveling in both directions. The westbound lane will remain closed until repairs are made.
Motorists who ignore closure warnings and drive around barricades put themselves at risk and endanger eastbound motorists as well. ALDOT has requested state troopers to monitor the construction zone at all times in an effort to curtail these violations.
Westbound motorists are advised to seek alternate routes. The official detour is U.S. 411 South to U.S. 431 North to Interstate 59 North to Alabama 68 at Exit 205.
ALDOT is in the process of securing a contractor to perform the necessary repairs to stabilize the shoulder and mountainside. A timetable for the work has not been established.