By Melanie Patterson

The North Jefferson News

There is still no official word on when the outside lane of Interstate 65 North in Warrior will re-open following a rock slide this weekend.

Officials are urging motorists to use caution just north of Exit 282, where the right-hand lane is still blocked with temporary concrete barriers.

A portion of the acceleration lane coming from the Exit 282 ramp is also closed. Drivers entering I-65 North from Cane Creek Road in Warrior will find a stop sign at the bottom of the ramp instead of a merge lane.

Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) officials are conducting assessments to make sure the area is safe before they re-open the lane, according to Tony W. Harris, special assistant to the transportation director for ALDOT.

“It’s an area that we do monitor,” said Harris. “Any situation like that, where you’ve made cuts to make the roadbed, requires ongoing monitoring. ... Interstates all over the country are built like that, so it’s not unique to Alabama.”

Alabama State Trooper Charles Dysart said the rock slide, which was caused by weather and erosion, contributed to two accidents on Saturday.

The rock slide reportedly occurred at 1 a.m. Saturday. Boulders and rocks slid down a high-cut slope, crossed the guardrail and the shoulder, and landed on the roadway lanes of I-65 northbound, according to a press release from ALDOT.

ALDOT crews cleared the boulders and rocks from the two left lanes and reportedly had them re-opened by Saturday afternoon.

The outside lane will be closed until officials complete assessments and determine that the area is safe of future rock slides.

“Motorists are requested to use extreme caution, reduce speed and consider adjusting arrival/departure times and consider using alternate routes while the lanes are closed due to the rock slide,” according to the press release.

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