The current Highway 20 plan puts the area on a trajectory toward suburban sprawl and lower value development. However, there is an opportunity to design alternatives that get it right for a better future that benefits Decatur, Limestone County and North Alabama landowners, commuters and residents. We want your input, and we encourage you and our elected officials to think holistically for the region. Let’s create a better plan with more valuable future development opportunities.
The proposed Highway 20 bridge design developed for the now defunct Bass Pro Shop development will take some of the best parcels of local farmland, along with a part of the community’s future. Some current landowners simply want to keep farming for the time being, while others would like to develop their land. This intersection needs to be planned and built in a way that protects our farmers, while encouraging and accelerating desirable types of development.
Due to increased congestion in the corridor and high speeds of those traveling west on I-565, vehicle accidents are an important issue along Highway 20. There is a clear need for reduced congestion, safety improvements and safer access to the north and south sides of Highway 20. The current plan does not meet these needs and has the potential to be even more confusing and dangerous. Additionally, it does not address the real congestion issues, which are west of the proposed interchange and caused by the one-lane bridge over Highway 31.
The current Highway 20 bridge plan was designed specifically to serve a Bass Pro Shop development that is no longer happening. The plan underwent significant changes in 2014 when originally designed, and also in 2018 when it was used in a grant submittal to fund its construction without adequate public input or required environmental impact evaluations. Our democracy is built on a foundation of laws, not exclusions to those requirements. Let’s move forward and design a plan for the best future, but let’s do it the right way.