Captain William J. Hudson and Steamboat Bill Memorial Bridges
Decatur, Morgan County, Alabama
Photo: License: Public Domain
The "Steamboat Bill" Memorial Bridges are two bridges that span one of the widest points along the Tennessee River within the City of Decatur, Alabama, between Morgan County, and Limestone County.
One is a cantilever truss, and the other is a reinforced concrete. The bridges carry US 31, Alternate US 72, and State Route 20 from the intersection of Wilson Street (Alternate US 72, and SR 20), and 6th Avenue (US 31) in Northeast Decatur.
The first bridge built here was the William Keller Bridge, completed in 1928. This drawbridge served as the primary until the cantilever truss bridge was built in 1963. The Keller Bridge carried the southbound traffic and the new bridge carried the northbound traffic.
As time moved on, the currents of the Tennessee River changed and running barges through the narrow gap created by the drawbridge became more dangerous, and the bridge was hit several times by barges. Also, with the amount of traffic carried by the road, the drawbridge could produce mile long traffic jams.
In 1999 the new concrete bridge opened. Northbound traffic was shifted to the new bridge, southbound was moved to the cantilever bridge, and the Keller Bridge was removed.
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