As the Mayor of Downtown Huntsville, I have obtained the real story of the “skybridge” (overpass) being proposed…

I saw this story (and hated it)…

We are not Portland or Ashville and we don’t need to be.

Mark Russell responded to my request for info with great info:

To the Honorable Mayor of Downtown and Trolley Captain,

The Skybridge is part of a big project.  The estimate cost of the proposed project is 25-30 Million (maybe more). The design costs are approximately 2 million and were approved by the council at our first meeting in May. (design costs are generally 10 to 15 % of the project such as this) If the City is awarded the grant for the full amount, then there is a chance the Skybridge will be built. (based on public input, costs, council approval, planning commission approval….)

If the City does not win the grant, the design will still be used as funds are allocated over a long period of time.  An example would be the Parkway was designed many years ago, but parts are still being constructed as funds are available.

Below are the notes I received from the engineering department.

I have asked for the Trolley information and should have it this week.

Regards,

Mark Russell

Resolution between the City of Huntsville and Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. for engineering design and grant writing services for a new multimodal corridor between Holmes Avenue and Lowe Mill District adjacent to Huntsville Spring Branch.

Services will include

  • TIGER grant writing services,
  • Urban Planning Services
  • Public Involvement Meetings
  • Design of three (3) pedestrian bridges across existing streams/channels,
  • Design of one (1) pedestrian sky bridge across US Hwy 231,
  • Design of one (1) railroad bridge
  • stream restoration for flood control hydraulic modeling
  • Geotechnical Services
  • Environmental Permitting Services
  • To include decorative landscaping and lighting

for purposes of connecting under-served communities to job centers in Downtown area and Lowe Mill with alternate means of transportation.

Projects of this magnitude require significant outside funding, and the City is applying for a TIGER grant for this phase. Having the project as “shovel ready” as possible will increase the City’s chances to obtain grant funds. Should the City be unsuccessful in the grant, we will continue to look for additional funding options to realize the project.  It should also be understood that this is just one piece in a bigger puzzle, connecting A&M to Ditto Landing and that the City will continue to pursue the expansion of a greenway network throughout the entire Huntsville community.

More info on the grant.

It appears someone at the city or WAFF got ahead of themselves.

So this thing looks like a “pie-in-the-sky” deal that is contingent on a federal grant (which is a whole other problem).

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