Drivers using LaFayette Highway to travel between Main Street and Highway 431 in Roanoke will have to find an alternate route for the foreseeable future.

The city of Roanoke closed LaFayette Highway Friday night at the bridge that spans the railroad tracks due to a large hole that had opened up at the seam between the asphalt pavement and the bridge on the north end.

The ground underneath the pavement eroded leaving a small chasm that eventually caused the pavement to collapse.

That left a gap of about a foot and a half between the edge of the bridge and the other end of the hole. The hole was about 3 feet wide and swallowed up the double stripe in the middle of that portion of the road.

The hole was first reported by a Roanoke resident on the resident's Facebook page Friday, and by Friday night the city had closed the road at the bridge.

The city is responsible for the repairs. ALDOT inspected the damage Monday along with city officials to determine the nature of the repairs needed.

But before work can proceed, the city will have to accept bids, open them and select a contractor. Those are all steps that must be taken during official city council meetings, a process complicated by the fact that the council has no scheduled meetings in April due to statewide coronavirus related limitations on gatherings.

That means it could be months before the road is reopened to thru traffic.

"The road is going to be closed indefinitely until we can get everyone together and start the process," said Roanoke city clerk Patricia Truitt.

The city placed temporary barricades on either end of the bridge, and by Monday afternoon those were augmented by a dump truck on one end and a backhoe on the other.

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