ALDOT Hears Opinions Regarding Proposed Decatur Toll Road And Bridge

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Department of Transportation sponsored two public meetings in Decatur Thursday to hear input regarding plans to build a toll road and bridge over the Tennessee River.

A lot of people don’t want to pay to cross the river, especially those who live in Morgan or Lawrence Counties and commute to Madison County to work each day. There are others who recognize the growing need for another river crossing, but they’re not happy with where the state wants to put this bridge.

An artist’s rendering shows how the new bridge might look. No word yet on when construction might begin, because we don’t know who is going to pay for it.

“Well, we’re just looking for people’s thoughts and ideas. We work for the public and we always want to know what the public thinks, even if it’s built with private funds,” says ALDOT’s James Brown.

Opinions were not in short supply at the meetings. The mayor and council members who looked at it say they like the idea, but they have some concerns about the plan.

“One of them is we’ve had thousands of people commuting to and from jobs in Huntsville for many years and we’re not seeing straight free-lanes off of Highway 31 for those commuters who want to come this way and pick-up 565 going to and from work,” Decatur Mayor Don Kyle told WHNT News 19. The current plan, as drawn, would route that traffic on access roads along the new highway, which would mean a longer commute each way.

Dorothy Gordon looked at it, and she doesn’t like it. She says traffic coming into Decatur on the new bridge would be dumped into a historically black neighborhood.

“It’s just two traffic lights on Highway 20. It takes you a good 30 minutes to get out to get on 20 to go where you going, and if you’re not careful, you’ll get hit, ran over, knocked over and whoever hit you going on, you don’t know who hit you, you know,” Gordon said.

Several other ideas have been mentioned at Thursday’s meetings, including moving the toll road further north to tie in at the Browns Ferry Road exit on I-65. Another proposal would include building a new bridge parallel to the existing bridges.

 

8 comments

  • BigOne

    Dorothy Gordon looked at it, and she doesn’t like it. She says traffic coming into Decatur on the new bridge would be dumped into a historically black neighborhood. What does that have to do with anything? Like white people want the traffic dumped on them?

  • Jones Bobby

    I could care less where the bridge enters or exits. If they charge to cross it after I pay the amount of taxes I pay each year and for everything under the sun between paychecks, Decatur can rot, I will never travel there again. I do not agree with toll roads under any circumstances. Our tax dollars are already misused as it is and I will not give them a penny more than they steal already.

  • noahchapcullmanwx

    If the Toll Road/Bridge is Built i will Boycott Decatur and Morgan County. This is what we pay taxes for is to build Bridges and Roads with as it is our Tax $ are being wasted. It is time our Politicians (even the President who i don’t like) take a 75% pay cut and clean out the waste in our Local County State And federal So things like this can be payed for with Our Taxes. Remember Politicians WE THE PEOPLE VOTE and WE HAVE THE POWER TO REMOVE YOU FROM YOUR OFFICE.

    • Bob

      You do realize the other bridge will remain in place and you can still cross over into Decatur without having to pay a toll? Right?

      I mean, you read the article, right?

      • Peter Potter

        Bob its obvious they read the article. the fact that other bridges still exist doesn’t mean squat. its the principle of the thing. they want us to pay more for what we already have and works although it is congested at times. the plan is to tax us for another route that will not help the problem that already exists with traffic. more taxes via tolls is still more taxes. you are welcome to pay it but I am another that refuses to support a city and county with toll anything.

  • Chris

    This will degrade the existing connection to Decatur, though. Instead of Hwy 20 free-flowing into 31 like it does now, you’ll have to exit and wait at a traffic light to turn left to go over the existing bridge. All traffic destined for Hwy 31 south from I-565 and AL 20 will have to do that instead of the free-flowing way that exists now. It’s the main reason I don’t like it.

  • ac

    It would be nice if the bridge was between the existing 65 river bridge and the existing Whitesburg Bridge. Triana to Somerville maybe?

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