City of Decatur hosts public input meeting regarding Tennessee River Bridge
DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - The city of Decatur is tossing around the idea of whether to repair the Tennessee River Bridge on Highway 31 or add a new one altogether.
The city held hosting a public meeting Tuesday regarding the feasibility study of the bridge at the Turner-Surles Community Resource Center. The meeting was informal and no formal presentation was given.
According to the City of Decatur Chamber of Commerce, the city received a $1 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the city will be providing an additional $1 million for the study.
In January, the Decatur City Council voted to perform a feasibility study on the bridge. The study conducted by Huntsville-based engineering firm TTL, will look at congestion relief, how to increase capacity, and accommodate future growth. It will also determine if there is a need for changes to the bridge or even a new bridge. TTL’s chief operating officer Jason Walker said this will be beneficial for the entire city.
“To have the proper infrastructure in place to support the existing residents and also the future businesses, residents, it’s going to be vitally important to the future of Decatur,” said Walker.
Mayor Tab Bowling believes hosting events to engage the public is important to know where to invest resources.
“ALDOT knows that we need a bridge. The Federal Highway Administration knows that we need a bridge, this is part of the process of getting there,” said Mayor Bowling.
During the meeting, Several people voiced their opinions on what they’d like to see in the future of the River City.
Jeff and Lawana Jeffers said a new bridge is nice in theory, but believe there are more pressing matters at hand.
“They’re getting ready to build that new big addition at Ingalls Harbor,” said Jeff, “If you can’t get to it because Wilson Street is crowded with trucks? You’re not going to get anyone coming to it. "
The two live right next to the bridge and said traffic is a nightmare. They believe the city should look into building a causeway to extend 565.
“I would want people to have good things to say about Decatur and come to Decatur. Make Decatur their destination. And in order to do that, there’s going to have to be some changes,” said Lawana.
A comment period will be open until June 1, 2023. Comments can be submitted to: TTL, Inc. Decatur Bridge Comments 3516 Greensboro Avenue Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 or Decaturbridge.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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