Plans being made for new bridge over Tennessee River in Decatur

Senator Arthur Orr proposes renovations to the overpass and causeway leading into Decatur.

Posted: Nov 15, 2019 4:33 PM

Plans are being made for a new bridge over the Tennessee River in Decatur.

State Senator Arthur Orr said a new and wider bridge will need to be built in the next decade. 

In the meantime, Orr has ideas on how to begin that process now, which includes Alabama 20. 

"You'd be in traffic an hour, hour and a half something when you're just trying to get home," one driver told WAAY31. 

Decatur commuters agree something needs to change when it comes to the Keller Memorial Bridge. Orr said he is already meeting with the department of transportation to discuss short-term solutions leading up to the bridge. 

He said the state could add a second lane to the overpass off Alabama 20. Then expand the two-lane causeway to the three lanes. Orr said the state told him those renovations are possible. 

These plans comes as big companies like Mazda Toyota move to the region. Orr believes it could be a potential economic and population boost for Decatur. However, he worries people will avoid moving to the city because of how bad the commute is.

He stresses repaving and re-striping on Alabama 20 will not necessarily solve the traffic problems, but it is a start to a long process of addressing them.

"Anything will help, because right now it is such a problem," one driver said. "If someone has a wreck right there, it really shuts them down."

While Orr said the Highway 31 bridge needs to be replaced in the next decade, he hopes work can start in about five years.

Right now, he is in the groundwork stages.

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