Price of Highway 20 overpass site may have gone up by nearly $2 million

Price of Highway 20 overpass site may have gone up by nearly $2 million
Traffic passes by the field next to Apple Lane Farms on Highway 20, near the site of a planned overpass. (Source: Jeronimo Nisa Decatur Daily)

DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Decatur city leaders are weighing their options after finding out the cost of a key piece of land needed for road improvements may have gone up significantly.

For years, we’ve been reporting that the city is planning to buy land on Highway 20 year Apple Lane Farms in order to create an overpass through the busy area.

Now, our news partners at the Decatur Daily are reporting that a court-appointed appraisal commission has found the city’s offer is $1.9 million dollars short of the actual value of the land. The land owners’ attorneys say it’s worth more than 10 million.

The city received 14.2 million in federal grant money last year for the project, hoping it would spur economic development. If the city’s appeal is not successful, the price of this portion of the project will grow from $4.1 million to $6 million.

City Attorney Herman Marks said Monday the city budgeted for a lower appraisal so the City Council will have to approve the increase or it can choose to appeal. If the council accepts the increase, it can put twice that amount in escrow and begin the project without waiting for completion of the appeal process.

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