TUSCUMBIA — A Hanceville contractor is expected to begin repairing the slide damage along a segment of Frankfort Road on Wheeler Mountain early next week.
The portion impacted by the slide has been closed since the devastating flooding that hit the Shoals in February.
The Colbert County Commission has awarded the project to Hanceville-based contractor Carcel and Gee, which was one of two contractors to bid on the project, County Administrator Roger Creekmore said.
Assistant County Engineer Jeremy Robison said Carcel and Gee's bid was $968,197.
County Engineer John Bedford said Rogers Group submitted a bid that was about $70,000 higher than Carcel and Gee.
After the commission approved the low bid, Robison said the Road Department began working with the contractor to get all the necessary bonds and documents signed so work can begin.
Robison said Sheffield Utilities has been setting six new, taller utility poles so overhead utilities can be raised out of the way for the contractor to access the slide area with track hoes.
Once the poles are set and electric lines are moved, phone and cable lines will be moved.
Bedford said he expects to issue a notice to proceed later this week. His goal is to have the repairs completed by Aug. 1, before the beginning of the new school year.
"The contractor is very optimistic that they can get the road opened back up before school starts," Robison said. "The contract gives them 45 calendar days."
A Carcel and Gee crew was at the site Tuesday installing a silt dam to prevent erosion.
Trandle Johnson, a foreman for the company, said workers will dig out sections of the hillside and use a "stair-step" method to reinforce the bank with rip rap. Johnson said he's optimistic the project can be completed by Aug. 1.
He said a neighbor near the slide area told him it looked "like a river" flowing down the mountain during periods of heavy rainfall.
Deep cracks are visible in the outside lane of the roadway, and the pavement and shoulder has slid 1 to 2 feet down the mountain in several places. One area collapsed to the point it caused a section of steel guardrail to bend downward.
Bedford said the county will be reimbursed for 80 percent of the cost of the repairs. He said the county has been working the past two months to get approvals from the Federal Highway Administration and the Alabama Department of Transportation.
"Both agencies have been extremely helpful getting things approved much quicker than normal," Robison said.
Bedford said because the slide happened off the county right of way, the county had to purchase additional right of way, which placed the project in the "emergency relief and permanent restoration" category.