HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville is set to become Alabama’s biggest city some time in 2021. As the city’s population continues to grow the city is trying to keep its infrastructure up to par.
One of Huntsville’s most pressing traffic priorities, the I-565 interchange at Memorial Parkway which, due to population growth, is operating at twice its capacity.
According to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, it would cost more than $200 million for improvements to the I-565 and Memorial Parkway interchange something that is a top priority for the city.
The almost 20 mile stretch of road has not seen any substantial improvements since it opened in 1991.
As Huntsville continues on its track to becoming the biggest city in the state we can expect more road construction.
“Road infrastructure is the most critical infrastructure that we focus on to handle growth,” Mayor Battle said, “We want that good commute, we want that good infrastructure because it factors into quality of life.”
One of the top priorities of the city is a new interchange connecting Huntsville’s two major arteries.
“We’re starting to look at what is the next investment that’s needed and one of those is I-565 and Memorial Parkway,” Mayor Battle said.
The city’s Director of Urban and Economic Development, Shane Davis says the I-565 and Memorial Parkway interchange see around 110,00 vehicles a day.
Davis said, “We’re starting that process, not to wait until it functionally fails and say ‘okay, let’s get started’ knowing it’s going to be 10 years from now.”
Huntsville is in the process of doing a corridor study on the current interchange.
“We’re willing to pay for that and provide that to Alabama Department of Transportation and our partners at Federal Highway that are great partners. That’s the first step to say ‘hey, we know down the road something will have to be done what is that, what does that look like, what is the most economical long term beneficial plan?'” Davis told News 19.
In a recent trip to Washington D.C., May Battle lobbied for funding from the government saying it’s a needed project for Huntsville to sustain continued growth.
“We talked with all of our representatives and our senator, we talked about how we could continue to keep growing, growing our infrastructure,” Mayor Battle said.
During peak traffic hours, Mayor Battle says the Parkway can slow to a crawl and with more people moving to the area every year, traffic is only bound to get worse.
The city says this desired project could take ten years to see completion.