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Limestone OKs pact for Tanner interchange

By Holly Hollman 340-2445

TANNER — The state is seeking county cooperation on an Interstate 65 interchange in Tanner, but work isn't slated to start before next year.

On Monday, the Limestone County Commission approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation regarding the multimillion-dollar interchange on Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road.

County Engineer Richard Sanders said the county has to agree to give the state right-of-way access and authority to close roads as needed during construction.

Sanders said the county also gave the state permission to move the entrance of S&S Lane a couple of hundred feet to accommodate the interchange.

DOT Division Engineer Johnny Harris said the state plans to bid the project at the end of this year or early next year. Once DOT accepts a bid, it will be up to 60 days before work would begin.

"So we're looking at sometime mid-2008 before work starts," Harris said.

U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, has secured $4.3 million in federal funds for the interchange. Cramer has previously said he wants the farm area around the interchange to be a TVA megasite.

The Tennessee Valley Authority megasite initiative certifies large industrial properties for potential automotive manufacturing or assembly plants.

Cramer has said he foresees an automotive manufacturing plant, steel mill or some other major development at the interchange. Then as the Huntsville-Browns Ferry corridor between Limestone and Madison County expands, residential and commercial development would emerge, he said.

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