Landowners suing over planned Decatur overpass

Landowners suing over planned Decatur overpass

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Landowners near Highway 20 and Interstate 565 are suing the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

This, after the city of Decatur got a federal grant to build bridge over Highway 20. An interchange plan that has been in the works for nearly a decade. An interchange meant to ease traffic in that area going to and from Decatur.

However, some landowners see issues with this.

"When we got news about this overpass, it was very unsettling. We felt kind of taken advantage of a little bit,” Beth Robertson said.

Robertson is the sixth generation in her family to own and live on the land north of Highway 20 near Bibb Garrett Road.

Robertson says this interchange plan was originally put in place for the Bass Pro Shop coming to Decatur, but that's not happening now.

"We thought it was kind of gone away. Then they got this grant and it all came back up, but they're using the same plan for Bass Pro even though it's not happening anymore,” Robertson explained.

Robertson and others are suing ALDOT and the Federal Highway Administration for a few things.

They claim there was never an environmental study done in the area. They also say officials never got resident's input on the project.

"We’ve met these particular property owners on numerous times and listened to their proposals. As have ALDOT and the federal highway administration, and they found them to be flawed,” Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said.

Bowling, who’s not involved in the lawsuit, says he was shocked to hear litigation was happening.

He says officials have already appraised all of the land necessary for this project.

"We know it's not safe, and we know something needs to be done, but we just don't think it's the best plan,” Robertson explained.

If the landowners do not agree to ALDOT and the FHA’s plan, a probate judge will select a commission to vote on the official appraisal of the land.

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