Recently Congressman Mo Brooks sent a letter to Governor Kay Ivey urging the state to fast track the widening of interstate 565 between Madison and I-65 near western Decatur.
With Mazda-Toyota coming to the Tennessee Valley in the next four years, some local, state and federal leaders believe we could have a big traffic problem on our hand if that portion of the interstate isn’t address sooner than later.
Experts estimate there could be as many as 10,000-15,000 additional drivers traveling this corridor between Madison and the I-65 connector near Decatur once the Mazda-Toyota plant is fully operational.
“There’s going to be additional traffic onto an interstate that’s almost at capacity at this point,” said Tom Hill, President and CEO of Limestone County Economic Development.
Brooks would like to see the interstate widen from 4-lanes to 6-lanes and have the project move up on the Alabama Department of Transportation’s priority list. There's just one thing holding the project back...FUNDING.
A project of this magnitude would cost millions of dollars in federal and state funding and take several years to complete.
“I’ve personally met with the governor and Department of Transportation head, John cooper, and others regarding I565 for the last couple years. But, this [Mazda-Toyota] certainly has this [I-565] even higher on their radar,” said State Senator Arthur Orr, District 3.
WAAY 31 combed through the “Alabama Statewide Transportation Plan” from last year [July 2017; before the Mazda-Toyota deal] and based on the 80 page document the widening of I-565 was not listed as one of the top 17 key capacity improvement projects scheduled prior to 2040.
We reached out to the governor’s office for comment and we’re still waiting to hear back.