An intersection study that includes looking at a possible Interstate 65-Upper River Road interchange has been commissioned for Priceville and Southeast Decatur.
The $104,558 study by Garver LLC will focus on improving safety and traffic flow at 15 intersections along Alabama 67 and Upper River Road.
The Decatur-area Metropolitan Planning Organization awarded the contract Wednesday to Garver LLC for the study that’s scheduled to begin in January and will likely be completed in August.
Federal grant funds will pay $83,646 for the study, with Decatur, Priceville and the Morgan County Commission contributing $7,000 each, said MPO Director Dewayne Hellums.
The MPO was scheduled to award the contract in November, but Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran requested that the intersection of Alabama 67 and Skidmore Road be added to the study, forcing a recalculation of the cost.
Duran said he recently visited with Alabama Department of Transportation officials in Montgomery and asked them to consider an interchange at Upper River Road and I-65.
“They said we needed a study,” Duran said.
Scott Leach, of Garver LLC, said the study will determine if Upper River Road is too close to the existing I-65/Alabama 67 interchange to warrant creating a new interchange. This issue is the main holdup on getting another interchange.
Leach said Upper River Road is likely too close to Alabama 67 for a conventional diamond, which has exits on two sides and entrances on two sides.
“We may have to go with a folded diamond, which puts the ramp loops only on the north side,” Leach said.
Leach said it’s also possible that they could realign Upper River Road by moving the portion of the road over the interstate to the north to create more distance between it and the Alabama 67 interchange.
Officials want an I-65 interchange at Upper River Road because it would create easy access for those who plan to live nearby and commute to Madison or Huntsville.
Duran said the study is needed because traffic has become so heavy in this area due to growth.
“We need to do something for safety and to help us deal with the traffic,” Duran said.
Duran said one of the worst intersections is at Alabama 67 and Upper River Road “where people turn back to come to Priceville.” He said a turn lane is also needed at the Bethel Road-Alabama 67 intersection.