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  #141  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2014, 3:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HSVTiger View Post
Quite genius at work

Alabama Department of Transportation director John Cooper made the presentation himself Friday afternoon, saying 38,000 vehicles a day already cross the Tennessee River at Decatur. Cooper says that number is only expected to grow.
“I think this is rapidly becoming the primary east-west commercial corridor across north Alabama,” said Cooper. Really? 25 years too late bubba.
The proposed new highway would begin essentially at the end of I-565 and would include the new access to the proposed Sweetwater Development site.

The price tag, according to Cooper, would be about 500 million dollars. He says making it a toll road would relieve taxpayers of that burden.

In the next phase of the project, workers will install traffic monitoring cameras in Madison, Limestone and Morgan Counties that will track the flow of traffic for miles leading to and away from the proposed new highway.
Cooper says it’s a 7-year project and he expects the toll to be about two dollars.Dream on, why not just finish whats been in the planning stages for decades
Highway 20 would remain in place, along with the current river crossing, for local motorists who choose not to pay the toll. (Which would be the majority)
I know right?

For the Huntsville-Decatur area ALDOT has been whispering wishes for years...

One of the worst bottlenecks is between the I-65/565 interchange and downtown Decatur and residents have known it for years. Along with the Wallace Tunnel in Mobile, it's the worst in the state. I'm hoping ALDOT legitimately addresses both issues within the next three years.
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  #142  
Old Posted Jun 26, 2014, 9:43 PM
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Getting some more info from ALDOT about the proposed toll bridge linking I-65/565 with northwestern Decatur.

Toll bridge across Tennessee River could cut costs for Decatur businesses; wildlife officials concerned about impact

Kelly Kazek
AL.com
June 26, 2014
LINK

Quote:
DECATUR, Alabama – Residents came to a meeting today to give input or ask questions of state highway officials about a proposed $500 million bridge that would cross the Tennessee River from Limestone to Morgan counties to provide quicker access to Interstate 65.


The project would be fall under the direction of the Toll Road Bridge and Tunnel Authority, with the DOT acting as its agent. The state hopes to let a single contract with a conglomerate of companies that would design, build and maintain the bridge, as well as toll facilities.

$500 million is a maximum expected cost. The cost of building and maintaining the bridge would be recouped by tolls.

The hoped-for start date would be early in 2016 with construction expected to take about 3.5 years.

Tolls are estimated to be about $2 for cars and $4 to $6 for trucks.
Tolls could not arbitrarily be raised without approval of the Toll Road Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Wording in the contract would likely allow for cost-of-living raises in tolls.

The bridge, or elevated part of road, would be about 2.3 miles and another 2.5 miles of ground-level, toll-free road would be required to access the interstate.
Here are some pictures:


V Proposed route V



V The proposed, unimaginative design of the bridge V
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  #143  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2014, 10:19 AM
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I was born in the Shoals and drive over to visit with my family every couple of months or so. I have long wished that 565 would be farther extended west - it's a pipe dream, but I'd love to see it some day follow AL 20 all the way to Muscle Shoals. Part of that would obviously require a new bridge such as this. But I have to wonder if a toll bridge would ever be able to pay for itself. I'm asking because I really don't know - are there enough people making an every day journey from the west side of Decatur to Athens/Madison/Huntsville? I suppose people just passing through might decide the bypass is worth it. I don't even know if I would use it, and I'm an impatient guy who hates traffic lights. While I'm fine with the idea of toll roads when funding seems to otherwise be a long shot, I'm not sure it's the best solution here. Maybe someone can prove me wrong?
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  #144  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2014, 4:08 PM
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I was born in the Shoals and drive over to visit with my family every couple of months or so. I have long wished that 565 would be farther extended west - it's a pipe dream, but I'd love to see it some day follow AL 20 all the way to Muscle Shoals. Part of that would obviously require a new bridge such as this. But I have to wonder if a toll bridge would ever be able to pay for itself. I'm asking because I really don't know - are there enough people making an every day journey from the west side of Decatur to Athens/Madison/Huntsville? I suppose people just passing through might decide the bypass is worth it. I don't even know if I would use it, and I'm an impatient guy who hates traffic lights. While I'm fine with the idea of toll roads when funding seems to otherwise be a long shot, I'm not sure it's the best solution here. Maybe someone can prove me wrong?
Very good questions. ALDOT is supposed to be doing a traffic study to figure out just how many of the roughly 50,000 cars a day that take the US 31 bridge are coming to town or just passing through. I haven't had to experience rush hour on the Limestone side in years, but when I still lived in Decatur if I didn't take I65 across the the river around 5:15 5:30 I'd be sitting AL20/US31 for about half an hour just trying to get from the 565/65 interchange to downtown. So, if I'm a resident of SW Decatur trying to get home from Huntsville I'm gonna pay the few bucks for the toll bridge instead burning the same amount in gas in traffic. Also, considering the amount of heavy industry along the river in NW Decatur, I think a lot of those companies would be very interested in shaving some time off travel and shipping.

As it is there are only only 6 lanes of road in each direction between a metro area of 150,000 and one of 430,000; there are more than that that cross the Black Warrior in Tuscaloosa.
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  #145  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2014, 11:23 PM
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This is so asinine, typical aldot garbage. Ask the people in Mobile how their new I-10 bridge is coming along. Ask Huntsville leaders how the new Tennessee River bridge at South Parkway is coming along.
This is just eye candy to please a few and justify this inept department.
Hey aldot can you finish just one project of the 15 or so Huntsville projects you cancelled last year, until Huntsville had to raise taxes and offer to pay for most of it?
This bridge which will never be built in anyone reading this lifetime would destroy Decatur's historic waterfront.
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  #146  
Old Posted Jun 28, 2014, 2:30 AM
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Originally Posted by HSVTiger View Post
This is so asinine, typical aldot garbage. Ask the people in Mobile how their new I-10 bridge is coming along. Ask Huntsville leaders how the new Tennessee River bridge at South Parkway is coming along.
This is just eye candy to please a few and justify this inept department.
Hey aldot can you finish just one project of the 15 or so Huntsville projects you cancelled last year, until Huntsville had to raise taxes and offer to pay for most of it?
This bridge which will never be built in anyone reading this lifetime would destroy Decatur's historic waterfront.
It really makes us wonder why ALDOT doesn't pursue most of these kinds of projects as a toll-based project. There are countless projects that the state needs done that could easily be pursued if they were to be financed by tolling.

I actually think this route will be constructed, but it would never happen if it weren't for the idea of tolling it. ALDOT really needs to consider tolling as an available option for most of its heavy options if it ever expects to construct them.

EDIT: Cause let's be honest, the state will never increase taxes to fund transportation... even if the reduction in DOT funding is due to increased fuel efficiency. They're all too scared.
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  #147  
Old Posted Jun 29, 2014, 5:43 PM
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News in the DecaturDaily about how this project could mean more consideration placed on tolling future road projects (Mobile River bridge?).

Toll success could alter state system

Mary Sell
Decatur Daily
June 29, 2014
LINK

Quote:
MONTGOMERY — The proposed toll bridge over the Tennessee River in Decatur isn't the first time the Alabama Department of Transportation has considered a pay-for-access project. But it's the first one the department thinks will generate enough money to pay for itself.

If the project, which would require a private company to finance, build and maintain the $500 million bridge, is deemed successful, the strategy could be a road map for future highways and bridges in Alabama.

"We've done several toll revenue studies around the state, and this is the first one that appears to be able to work from a financial standpoint," Ronald Baldwin, ALDOT's chief engineer, said last week. "Will it be used later? Yes, if conditions are right, it could be."
There is also now a website for the project: Decatur Bridge Project

Below is an image I found on the same website:

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  #148  
Old Posted Jul 10, 2014, 7:03 PM
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Officials hope Phase II of Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur will make school a 'destination'

Lucy Berry
July 10, 2014
AL.com
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Quote:
DECATUR, Alabama – Athens State University President Bob Glenn hopes the addition of a $13.5 million music and drama building will make the Alabama Center for the Arts in downtown Decatur a "destination" program for students from Alabama and across state lines.

The college, a collaborative effort between Athens State and Calhoun, already serves between 500 to 600 visual arts students. Glenn hopes the new 44,000-square-foot building, which will open in the fall 2016, will attract even more and spur economic growth in Decatur for years to come.

"Since we've been here, five new restaurants have opened," he said " ... We think having higher ed in the metropolitan area is a powerful economic driver because it brings new blood into the community every day."

In the past two years, Mellow Mushroom, Moe's Original Bar B Que, Jefferson's, Zaxby's and Gyro Uno have opened eateries within walking distance of the arts college.


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  #149  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2014, 3:17 AM
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Welp, looking like Sweetwater is falling through again..... LINK
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  #150  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2014, 1:21 PM
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  #151  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 4:38 AM
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I'm posting this in the Decatur thread because it's nearest to The Shoals and because I don't think something as outlandish as this warrants a new thread.

Can a $3 billion project be planned for Alabama and no one know it? Giant theme park set for Shoals

Paul Gattis
AL.com
January 30, 2015
LINK

Quote:
The email went out about noon on Friday with the subject line "World's Largest Theme Park Coming to Alabama."

It outlined in general terms that the theme park would be located in Muscle Shoals, provide up to 20,000 jobs and cost $3.4 billion to build - all in private funding.

Only problem is, no one in Alabama seems to know about it.

......

"We do not have any info or data from this guy that is making the claim," Greg Canfield, the state secretary of commerce, said in an email Friday to AL.com.

The email announcing the theme park - which came from what appeared to be a personal Gmail account - said DreamVision Company is planning to open two of the world's largest theme parks. Along with the park in the Shoals, another park would open in Fort Worth, Texas. DreamVision is based in Fort Worth, according to its website.

Efforts to reach DreamVision on Friday were not successful. A message left at the phone number of the person who sent the press release was not returned. There was no reference to the project on the DreamVision website.

......

Indeed, the press release would pique your interest. The 1,400 acre Shoals park would be built at the same as the 5,000 acre Fort Worth park.

For comparison, the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida is made up of just 107 acres and Six Flags Over Georgia is made up of 297 acres.

The press release also said "each property will include golf courses, water parks, hotels, theatres, concert venues, retail and more."

Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford said he didn't know anything about the project but alluded to the Muscle Shoals Reservation owned by TVA. That land in the Shoals covers about 1,400 acres and there has been speculation over the years about possible developments on the site.

......

The press release said there would be a press conference in Muscle Shoals on Feb. 11 to provide more details about the park.

"Hopefully we'll be involved with the press conference and find out more about it as we go," Bradford said.

......

"I touched base with the Fort Worth chamber and they acknowledged they were familiar with (DreamVision) and worked with them and there was an ongoing confidential project on their end," Holt said. "That's the extent of the legitimacy they could share with us. They were aware of it for sure."
WTF?
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  #152  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 3:23 PM
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very bizarre, it would be great if true I guess but what comes to mind is the tremendous lack of infrastructure for a project that large. No interstate highways, what roads do exist or minimum capacity at best. The nearest airport capable of handling any kind of air traffic is Huntsville and Memphis, a long haul either way.
I guess Orlando was a bit similar when Disney World began, this will probably be a grand announcement but a 20-30 year project timeline which means they will start something small (a big IF) but never finish.
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  #153  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 4:17 PM
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such an odd announcement, especially considering no city/state officials know anything about it.

will be interesting to see if this has any teeth.
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