The U.S. Department of Transportation will award grants of $14 million each for highway infrastructure improvements in the cities of Decatur and Cullman.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) announced Dec. 7 that the U.S. Department of Transportation will award grants of $14 million each for highway infrastructure improvements in the cities of Decatur and Cullman.
The grants are made available as part of the DOT Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program, which focuses on economic development and infrastructure upgrades.
The $14 million grant to Cullman will help to widen Alabama State Highway 157. According to the city, traffic on Highway 157 has increased to more than 15,000 vehicles per day, creating hazardous driving conditions and lengthy delays for numerous businesses and individuals.
"This BUILD grant awarded to the city of Cullman will allow for critical highway infrastructure improvements in the region," Shelby said. "As Cullman continues to experience significant commercial, industrial, and residential growth, it is important that we find ways to support this rapid development. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and DOT in paving the way for economic success by rebuilding our local infrastructure."
The project also will help address existing transportation issues and provide infrastructure enhancements that will benefit the city and surrounding areas.
"The widening of Alabama Highway 157 is one of the most critical transportation projects needed in our community. I am delighted the city of Cullman has been awarded this grant that will make the construction a reality," said Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs. "Our team at the city of Cullman did a remarkable job preparing this grant. The city of Cullman, Cullman County and the surrounding area will benefit greatly from this project. I would like to thank Senator Shelby and his staff for their assistance with this grant process. Without their support, this project would not be possible."
The grant to Decatur, which totals $14 million, will aid in the construction of an overpass bridge at the intersection of State Route 20 and Bibb Garrett Road. The project also includes ramps, a new access road, improved highway lighting, and accommodations for safe pedestrian access.
According to the city, there has been a significant lack of resources to develop and maintain major rural highway infrastructure.
"This $14 million BUILD grant is great news for the city of Decatur and the surrounding region. The funding will allow for much-needed improvements and enhancements to the current infrastructure in Decatur," Shelby said. "As Alabama's transportation needs evolve, it is important that we find ways to support rapid growth, especially in rural areas. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues and the DOT as we continue to prioritize the infrastructure needs of the state and the nation."
The funding will help bridge the gap between Decatur and other main employment areas in the state, providing funding for much-needed transportation resources.
"The creation of a Highway 20 overpass and exchange is the catalyst of growth and change our city has been striving to achieve," said Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling. "Through the keen oversight of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the generosity of Sen. Richard Shelby's office, and the ever-diligent work of the city of Decatur's grant team and Director of Development Wally Terry, our collaborative efforts have culminated in a regional development that will benefit North Alabamians for generations to come."