Mr. Magazzu,  

I believe I started writing letters about the railroad overpass around 2005 that were published in the Courier Journal and have submitted several more that were published over the years.   

I did a drawing of my proposal and showed it to a couple of my coworkers back in ‘05.  I did the drawing after I videotaped that location a couple of times.  I’m not an artist by any means, but it gets the point across.  I’m sure there would have to have been some changes to the idea.  

I remember pointing out in one of my letters that the center lane would be for emergency vehicles only and that if one life was saved it would be worth it. I also pointed out that construction of an overpass at that location could be almost entirely built without interrupting traffic until it was tied into the existing streets.  It  also had another entrance into Sheffield that ran along the tracks which could probably be tied in with the new Inspiration Landing project.

I later proposed that a private firm build the overpass to ALDOT standards which would have been far cheaper than the current proposals.  I suggested that it be a toll overpass with smart phone readers that could charge a person’s account and after the private firm got a reasonable return on their investment it would be given to the state of Alabama.  I told you about the drawing I made, but you said you couldn’t publish it at that time.

The latest $120,000 study on the best places for a railroad overpass in the Shoals area has “can you believe five” locations.  My initially-proposed location was one of the two favorites of the latest from the design firm presented to the commissioners.  A two lane was the cheapest and of the two favorites, my location was cheaper than all the other proposals.  The two locations near downtown Sheffield are completely ridiculous and the craziest one was an underpass in this area that has flooding issues constantly.

The Cox Blvd to King Street that ties into Avalon is the only one that ever made any sense.  I will be glad to share the drawing I made with anybody who wants to see it.  I named the overpass in the drawing as “Unity Overpass” because this location would tie Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, and Sheffield together.  It’s a shame that it has taken this many years of discussion. We still don’t have one, and we may not get one this time. 

Roger Henry

Russellville