Auburn civil engineering team assists ALDOT with U.S. 231 landslide

By Austin Phillips

Published: Feb 18, 2020 2:25:00 PM

An Auburn civil engineering team is helping ALDOT identify the cause of a road landslide on U.S. 231 south of Huntsville An Auburn civil engineering team is helping ALDOT identify the cause of a road landslide on U.S. 231 south of Huntsville

A team of Auburn University civil engineering graduate students and researchers is gaining real-world, hands-on experience that will benefit a community south of Huntsville after a landslide closed a section of U.S. 231 on top of Brindlee Mountain.

The team is led by assistant professor Jack Montgomery, as they attempt to map the layers of rock below the road’s surface and identify what is causing the road to crack. The team will deliver its results to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

"It's kind of a big deal for us as we get to get out and work a high-profile project and hopefully show what we can do and show that we can help people," Michael Kiernan, doctoral student in civil engineering, told WAAY31.

The team conducted testing on Monday, Feb. 17 and will return on Friday, Feb. 21, to perform additional tests. The road will remain closed until ALDOT can design a repair for the slide.

“We’re working as hard as we can, as quickly as we can,” ALDOT engineer Curtis Vincent told WAFF48. “We have expertise on site evaluating the situation.”

Montgomery said his students volunteered to help because they knew how many people would be impacted by the road closure.

"We were excited to be able to come down here, it's a great opportunity for the students to be out on a major project and we're just grateful to be able to come and help ALDOT get the information they need to get this road fixed as quickly as they can," Montgomery said to WAAY31.

Kiernan agreed.

"Whenever (ALDOT) asks us for a favor, we try to jump in and help them because they're (helping support) our education," he said. "If we can do a good job out here then we're going to start getting more phone calls and start getting our name out there, then hopefully have jobs when we graduate.”

Media Contact: Austin Phillips, austinp@auburn.edu, 334-844-2444

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