The city of Decatur has been awarded a $14.2 million federal grant for the construction of an overpass bridge that could open up an area of the city in Limestone County for development.

The overpass would be at the intersection of Alabama 20 and Bibb Garrett Road near where a Bass Pro Shop-anchored development was once planned before the commercial project was abandoned. The overpass project includes ramps, a new access road, improved highway lighting, and accommodations for safe pedestrian access.

“The creation of a Highway 20 overpass and exchange is the catalyst of growth and change our city has been striving to achieve,” Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said in a news release. 

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, announced the grant today.

The announcement earlier this year of the 4,000-employee Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA plant 4 miles east of the former Bass Pro site added to the urgency of preparing the Alabama 20 corridor for development. Additionally, a state Supreme Court ruling last month appeared to end a lawsuit that tied up development of a key piece of property in Decatur-annexed Limestone County for four years.

The building of a bridge across Alabama 20 would allow traffic to exit to properties north and south of the busy and dangerous highway.

Decatur will receive the grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program. This program focuses on economic development and infrastructure improvements.

“This $14.2 million BUILD grant is great news for the city of Decatur and the surrounding region,” Shelby said in a news release. “The funding will allow for much-needed improvements and enhancements to the current infrastructure in Decatur."

Shelby said there has been a significant lack of resources for the city to develop and maintain major rural highway infrastructure.

“This funding will help bridge the gap between Decatur and other main employment areas in the state, providing necessary funding for these much-needed transportation resources,” he says.

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