By Gary Lloyd
PINSON — The groundbreaking for the Northern Beltline is scheduled for Monday, April 21 in the Pinson-Palmerdale area, the Coalition for Regional Transportation announced.
The groundbreaking will begin at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Alabama Highway 75 and Clay-Palmerdale Road. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will lead the event, which is expected to draw a significant number of elected officials from the federal, state and local levels. State Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby have been invited to attend.
The initial project will connect Alabama Highway 79 to Alabama Highway 75. The entire project will consist of a 52-mile multi-lane highway that will stretch from Interstate 59 in northeast Jefferson County to the Interstate 459 interchange with I-20/59 near Bessemer.
The contract for the first phase of the project was awarded to Wright Brothers Construction Company, Inc. of Charleston, Tenn., last year. The estimated cost for the first phase of the project is $46 million and is expected to be completed by mid fall 2016.
“Certainly I think that will bring some commercial growth to our area,” Pinson Mayor Hoyt Sanders said earlier this month. “We’re excited about what that will mean.”
A federal judge in January denied a request for a preliminary injunction that would block construction of the Northern Beltline. The Southern Environmental Law Center in October had filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, challenging a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Northern Beltline’s first phase of construction. The SELC called the first phase “improper segmentation.”
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