DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — The City of Decatur is considering several options for a major infrastructure project. The focus is the Steamboat Bill Memorial Bridge, and public input is a huge part of the project.
Decatur’s Tennessee River Bridge Feasibility Study is designed to allow people who use the bridge day in and day out to comment on the different proposed options.
The second public meeting part of the feasibility study was set up to show how the comments from the first meeting were incorporated into potential design plans. Dozens from the Decatur community packed the Ingalls Harbor Pavilion to have their concerns and questions heard.
City leaders say it’s time to address the traffic congestion that people run into on the bridge. They’re looking at several options including repairing the bridge, replacing the bridge in the same location, or building a new bridge in a new location.
There’s one part of the $2 million dollar study that’s especially concerning for some in the River City. With the possibility of building a new bridge in certain locations, some say this could have a significant impact on the wildlife and hunting area of Swan Creek.
Gann Bryan says generations of people including himself have visited Swan Creek for years. He stated it was one of the lone public hunting grounds in all of North Alabama.
“We’re just concerned that they’re going to put a bridge right through the wildlife management area that we have been enjoying for 70 years. Our dads took us hunting out there, we’ve taken our kids hunting out there, we want it to be there for a long time in the future,” Bryan told News 19.
TTL Incorporated is the engineering company behind possible designs for a new bridge. Jason Walker with the company says they’re aware and will consider any potential interruptions that a new bridge would cause.
“There are a number of other issues too that go into the process of determining feasibility, which include wetlands, threatening endangered species, parklands you know economic impact cumulative impacts of all these things together so all of that ultimately will be taken into consideration,” Walker said.
The city is going to require more money in order to move forward with the process, so this may still be several years down the road. They have to first look at acquisitions, processing, and engineering before any construction can begin.