Feasibility study assesses next steps for Decatur bridge

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 5:16 AM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s no secret that the Highway 31 bridge into Decatur is a bottle-neck. It’s the only direct way from the interstate into Decatur.

According to Councilman Hunter Pepper, feasibility is the number one priority for a new bridge project.

“If a motor vehicle collision occurs, traffic will be backed up hours, and there’s no other way to get in the city,” he said. “Unless you want to drive on to 72 into Florence, turn around on highway 20, and come back, that’s not really feasible.”

To make this project happen Huntsville-based engineering firm TTL is studying the best plan to alleviate the problem. TTL chief operating officer Jason Walker said everything from traffic patterns, environmental impact, and public opinion goes into the study, where they’ll map out the best possible path for a new bridge.

“(We look at) where is traffic going from point A to point B,” he said.

So far, they have six possible routes, all somewhat close to the current bridge. Walker said it wouldn’t make sense to install a bridge that drivers wouldn’t consider taking.

No matter how long the study takes, Pepper said his constituents believe it’s passed time for a traffic upgrade.

“The bridge is necessary,” he said. “The bridge needs to be done. I’m not saying it needs to be done there, but I am saying it needs to be done.”

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