Push for highway improvements to gear up for new Toyota/Mazda pl - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Push for highway improvements to gear up for new Toyota/Mazda plant

(Source: WAFF 48 News) (Source: WAFF 48 News)
(Source: WAFF 48 News) (Source: WAFF 48 News)
(Source: WAFF 48 News) (Source: WAFF 48 News)

Officials continue to push for enhancements along one of the busy highways that lead in and out Decatur. Before things get going with the new Toyota/Mazda plant, local leaders say roadwork is needed.

Prepping are underway across the region on many different levels for the massive facility, which will bring thousands of jobs to North Alabama.

The Highway 20 corridor from the interstate to the bridge that leads into Decatur is already a very busy road and the new auto manufacturing plant is going to add to it- more trucks, more travelers, more traffic.

“Think about 4000 employees going in and out of Toyota/Mazda on a daily basis, and the construction that will take place. But we have to think about materials, consumables, the products that will be used to make the automobiles. The freight going in and out is an issue, especially on an already high capacity roadway system. It's something that we need to give consideration to,” said Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling.

He explained that a lot of freight comes through Decatur from Memphis and makes its way East.

“With the addition of Toyota/Mazda, we're going to see additional freight come through Decatur, lots of trucks, and we need to have improvements on our Highway 20 corridor. That will happen from Interstate 65, all the way to our bridge,” the mayor explained.

He wants to see better access to the properties along the highway.

“Take BOCAR, just trying to get freight out of their new plant or the Toyota/Mazda facility, if traffic trying to come off of the Highway 20 corridor where there is not controlled access, that lends itself to unsafe conditions,” Bowling added.

He wants attentions to be paid to areas where cars can stack up in the medians as they wait to turn or make a U-turn.

There's also the one-lane ramp many drivers are familiar with. It loops around to take commuters across the river into Decatur. The mayor says it too needs some work.

“That will need reworking and design for that. Of course this week, President Trump announced his infrastructure plan. We'll keep an eye on how that moves forward and the funding for it. And then our ability to work with the state of Alabama and ALDOT,” he added. “We believe that we'll have the support of our regional partners, Limestone County and the City of Huntsville, in finding funding support for the improvements that need to be made.”

Representative Danny Crawford, from Limestone County, also addressed the infrastructure improvements on Thursday.

“I know some of the infrastructure from the federal government, they were talking about 80/20 with private and public. The public puts in 80 percent, the government 20 percent. If we're already doing it anyway and we qualify, I can assure you we'll take advantage of that,” he said.

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