Southern Environmental Law Center calls Northern Beltline ‘wrong answer’
By Gary Lloyd
The Southern Environmental Law Center says the Northern Beltline is the “wrong answer” for the Birmingham metro area.
“SELC and our Alabama partners want to see Birmingham thrive economically with a transportation system that supports a world-class city with a high quality of life,” says the SELC website. “But the Northern Beltline is the wrong answer, as the project is bad for our environment and our economy.”
The SELC notes that not only will the project be the most expensive road in Alabama history, but one of the most expensive in the country. The cost is expected to be between $3.8 billion and $5.45 billion.
“This price doesn’t include the costs of sewer infrastructure and other investments that will be necessary to complete the project,” the SELC says.
The SELC says the project will also have “significant impact” on the natural resources around Birmingham, particularly the headwaters of the Black Warrior and Cahaba rivers.
A new film produced by the SELC, called “Beltline Blues,” can be found here.
A permit was signed Monday and Gov. Robert Bentley announced that construction of the first segment of the 52-mile Northern Beltine — a 1.3-mile segment that will connect Alabama Highway 75 and Alabama Highway 79 north of Pinson — can begin in 2014.
City of Pinson officials say the Northern Beltline will bring “welcomed commercial development” to the city.
The Northern Beltline will be a 52-mile highway that will stretch from Interstate 59 in northeast Jefferson County to the junction of I-459 and I-20/59 in Bessemer.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.