Further Commentary from Our Readers

Below are a few more comments from our readers that weren’t printed in the May issue. We wish to thank everyone for their ongoing feedback on this important issue.

I live in North Shelby County and routinely travel Highway-280.  Outside of commute hours, this highway currently serves me well.

During Commute hours, I travel Caldwell Mill or Grants Mill.  These roads are slowly becoming congested, over used, and should be expanded. The elevated highway should connect Highway-119 with Interstate-20, and could be expanded south to reconnect with Highway-280.

Providing better parallel paths to Highway-280 for our North Shelby neighbors would improve the travel for all.  The current option of increasing Highway-280 lanes simply moves the Highway-280 bottle neck deeper into our county.

Your neighbor,

Paul E. Marrs

I’m opposed to building an elevated highway boondoggle over the top of Hwy 280.  As the US desperately works to free itself from the oil and gas cartels (foreign and domestic) ALDOT proposes to build a super four lane highway to the suburbs encouraging reliance on automobiles and gas consumption for transportation.  The $8 million plus is a high price to pay for an unsightly monstrosity that will cast not only a physical but also an economic shadow over the businesses and residents that lie in its path.  There are other forms of transportation and traffic control systems that are effective that need to be seriously considered.  The future is not building more super highways leading to distant, scattered suburbs.  The future is in community sustainability and development, public transit and connectivity.

Ward Tishler

Concerning the Hwy 280 traffic plan:  Please, ALDOT, go ahead with your plan to do the elevated lanes, etc., that you have already presented to people living along 280 and travel it every day.  You’ll  never get 100% agreement but you already have 71% which is a great majority.  Also, you were put in these jobs to make decisions that are best for the majority of the people, so do it!!!  As for hurting businesses, how many people exit 280 in the heaviest traffic times to go shopping in Homewood, Mtn Brook, etc.?  If they do, you’ve covered that with your exit strategies.  Also, with the small population in this county, mass transit will never be profitable because people love their automobiles too much.

A. C. Higgins


Dear 280 Living,

I would like to give you my thoughts on the proposed elevation of 280. I grew up in the Northeast close to Boston, which is home of the public works project the Big Dig: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dig. This project turned the main artery of the city, 93, into a tunnel, with the hope of improving the flow of rush-hour traffic. More Wiki: “Although the project was estimated in 1985 at $2.8 billion (in 1982 dollars, US$6.0 billion adjusted for inflation as of 2006),[3] over $14.6 billion ($8.08 billion in 1982 dollars)[3] had been spent in federal and state tax dollars as of 2006.” The elevation of 280 strikes me as a similarly fated project. Please, city leaders, do not ignore the warning example of the Big Dig!

Have you been to Texas recently? Their highways are quite sensible. Rather than the stop-and-go of a million traffic lights on a 55 mph “highway,” their highways are traffic-light free and have service roads to get you to the shopping centers on either side. Entrance and exit ramps get you to these service roads. I lived in Houston for over three years and loved their system.


Diana Dunn

I am to the point that I do not care which plan they go with, just do
something! Either plan is better than status quo. Too many years have been
spent bickering and doing nothing.

Brandie Hahn

As a retired civil engineer who has lived in North Shelby Co. for thr past 41 years, I am opposed to an overhead toll road as an answer to the traffic problem.Even though it wii take a lot a engineerin design, it will also be very costly to build.

Secondly. the toll planned to place on it will not come off even after it is paid for. There will always be other expenses to coover that will keep it going, even not non-traffic related.

My answer would be to have service roads along-side 280 in both directions with merging lanes and overhead bridges at major intersections.The overheads would also need a left turn for going in the opposite directio. Yes, it will take more right-of-way and maybe some busines parking along wit moving some businesses such as servic stations, but it would still be a lot more economical than the overhead road and not have a toll.

Billy J. Walker

Caldwell Mill Rd.

I have been driving on 280 on daily basis for the past nine years. I have a few suggestions, some are cost effective and some are not so.

Solution 1.

During rush hours, 6.30 am to 8.30 am, and 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm, the traffic signals can be kept green for twice as long to keep the traffic on 280 flowing. It would be a little bit difficult for the side road traffic but if the traffic flows well on the 280 more cars would stay on 280 rather than trying to adopt short cuts and excessive lane changes to try to get ahead.

Solution 2.

There are about 20 to 22 traffic signals between Hughdaniel Dr. and the zoo exit. Several of these traffic signals can be avoided by putting up overpasses or underpasses. It is more expensive but would still be cheeper than building an elevated highway. A lot of the funding can come from the bussineses on 280 who would benefit directly from easing the traffic situation. The 459 exit definitely needs an overpass since most of the traffic is backed up at that exit. As a continuation of the overpass at 459 an extension can be made to the Summit Mall so that the Mall traffic does not have to come onto 280 at all.

Solution 3.

Rebuild the bridge on lake Purdy (Grants Mill road) on a priority to take at least some of the burden off of 280.

Soultion 4.

Build and develop the existing sideroads along 280 so that the traffic to the businesses can stay on the sideroads.

Note. I personally dont like the idea of putting up an elevated highway and a toll road which may be too expensive, and one of the unintended consequence may be loss of interest in the residential areas due the toll.

I hope it was useful.


Raashid Ashraf. MD.

Saw your article in 280 Living and have been interested in making a response somewhere. I did not know how do this. Thanks for the suggtestions.

I am opposed to the elevated road.

280 is a nightmare…I dread leaving Easgle Point Parkway and trying–and I mean trying to turn left on to 280 N. The cars zooming down from Highland Lakes…no caution light…no nothing to slow them down…and cars zooming up the hill going toward Highland Lakes is a nightmare. At dusk you might as well forget it. We need something.

I am opposed for several reasons:

1–Ecologically it is unsound. One of the most beautiful vistas in this whole area is coming down 280 N. from Highland Lakes heding toward Bimingham. It is a beautiful sight and reminds me of Ashville, NC. I hate to see this disrupted.

2.  I think people will hate and I mean hate the toll road idea.

3.  I am afraid the cost of the project will stop anything from being done. Those responsible seem to think if they don’t do this–they will do nothing. I think there are alternative plans that could be used.

4. What about fewer lights along and more access roads.

5. If we have an elevated road what will this do to all the fine business places along the way. No wonder they are opposed to this.

Homewood/Mt. Brook made sure the elevated road would not cut through their neigfhborhoods…
what about Greystone…Eagle Point…Inverness and Highland Lakes? Do you actually think we want this. Do they have clout and influence we don’t have or have they just howled louder.

6. We need some kind of organized protest to 1) Protest this project; 2) Let them know we expect other ideas that would be less costly and ecologically sound and that our communities are as important at Mt. Brook and Homewood.

Thanks for this opportunity. Count me if if we need to do something.

Roger Lovette

What about our state “Alabama the Beautiful”? No matter what they say, you can’t disguise concrete. And……who will pay to drive on a road in Alabama? I moved here from Chicago and they have been landlocked forever and they found a way in and out of the city. An elevated anything off 280 would be horrible looking period.

I would ask that we please  NOT proceed with the ALDOT plans for Highway 280!  An elevated highway would destroy the area – in home values, business revenues and in the overall beauty of the neighborhoods.  I can assure you that many people and businesses would eventually move from this area thereby reducing any current or future tax revenues to support this solution.  I and many of my neighbors have vowed to NEVER use this elevated roadway if it comes to fruition.  Please, Please – as a resident of Highland Lakes – I believe that we should research further for a different solution.  Please do not treat your constituents as the US congress has so recently done and force something so unsavory upon us  I would rather drive an  hour to gain 10 miles than see such an eyesore!


Deborah Danson
The plans to build an elevated highway over 280 are absurd . first of all, we all know that for three months out of the year while school is in recess, the traffic is fine . that being said , the only plan they can promote for the remaining nine months is to build a overhead highway !!!!!! ( did anybody try speaking to all of the colleges and larger downtown businesses about staggering their start times ???? — a simple and free plan –but nobody makes any money)

i come from a very congested area of the country where these roadways have been built and they are a complete mess. the local businesses beneath them meet their demise , the pollution is terrible and the tolls are always increased as the cost will rises . the congestion while they are built is a disaster and driving beneath them is a nightmare .

the phony drawings being presented are actually comical .

to understand the pressure to build this eye saw you have to follow the money . the engineering and construction company pushing this mess on the citizens of birmingham is a company from spain. several local companies stand to make large sums money insuring the project and paving the road. in new york we had three times the congestion and these roads are not even considered anymore . the business communities, state and local governments banded together in a serious way and started “flex time” . whenever possible , businesses and schools had their student and employee hours staggered to reduce traffic flow at key points in the morning and afternoon. the effect was dramatic !!! next , they invested in a high tech computer traffic control system which adjusted all of the traffic lights properly depending on traffic conditions.

it is amazing that the “figg group” and the spanish construction interests they represent , could have brought the conversation this far . —

kudos to them —-

but a big disaster for all of us on 280

s walters
north shelby county

The most ridiculous thing about the elevated plan (other than it potentially killing off the businesses in Inverness) is that it wouldn’t solve the problem. Having commuted 280 for many years, the real traffic problem is where Rocky Ridge Road enters 280 and stops the flow, and THAT won’t be answered with the elevated road because Mountain Brook is smart enough to want nothing to do with it. The elevated road is an eyesore and will only be a fast way to meet the exact same bottleneck in Mnt. Brook 280 that already exists. Truly, it’s a horrible idea. Unless you live in Chelsea it won’t help anyone at all.

The “Rethink 280″ plan while not perfect is preferable. The elevated road will just be an eyesore that kills the Inverness/Greystone area businesses and property values.


We have studied this to death,while 100s,of thousands suffer everyday.Right now ,lane expansion, bridge expansion ,light changes,overpasses,and a freeze on growth until the problem is corrected. Believe the state wants to continuing studing so as not to spend the money,the state is at minium extremely negilgent.

kenneth mardick


2 responses to “Further Commentary from Our Readers

  1. Concerning the ALDOT proposal I am deeply against this very expensive, unattractive and extended construction project. I have lived in Inverness just off Hwy 280 since 1987 and have enjoyed the growth. There is congestion and even hectic traffic at rush hour but if you have driven in Atlanta, Boston, Houston or NYC, 5-10 miles of traffic is a minor inconvience.
    I have seen the double decker in Oakland. It reminds me of the decaying, gray, slum infested area around Atlantic City or Newark airport. A double decker roadway will go from a curiosity to a debt laden, high maintence eye sore. During the long construction cycle local merchants will be driven out, and great vendors, like Whole Foods, Starbucks, Fresh Market, Panera Bread, etc will give way to quick marts and pawn shops and take on a economic challenged look much like the west side of town where I was raised. The 280 corridor has grown into a very cosmopolitian corridor much like other vibrant areas like north Atlanta, Nashville or Charlotte and some traffic is a small price to pay.

    Perhaps some type of public transportation or car pooling would be helpful or reconnect Hwy 119 and Grants Mill or other helpful connectors. Please do not shut down one of Birmingham’s few successful commerce arteries. Spend this money and effort to help rebuild our broken city, pay off sewer debt and assist Birmingham return to being an important city.

  2. As a resident of Inverness, I can’t express the extent to which I dislike the elevated highway idea. I simply cannot understand why the state is not only willing, but seems hellbent, to destroy the commercially successful and highly populated 280 Corridor while creating an enormous bill in the process. Unless, of course someone in a high position or with friends in high positions stands to pocket a hefty sum in the process. And I am truly flabbergasted that anyone living in this area would support such an idea. Homewood and Mountain Brook can pat their elected officials on the back for fighting to keep this monstrosity out of their city limits. I am concerned that Hoover officials have agreed to the plan considering how much and what parts of the highway are considered within the city limits.

    One only needs to look at areas of the country that have these types of highways to see what the future of 280 will be. One commentator has already brought up Boston’s implementation of a similar system, their realization of its detrimental and unseemly effects, and subsequent billion-dollar attempt at rectifying their short-sighted mistake. Why is it so difficult to see the better solution for all involved is the proposed access road/toll lane/overpass exchange idea? It is cheaper first and foremost, while being more aesthetically pleasing and preserving businesses along the corridor.

    I understand the frustration of driving in 280 traffic. I do it almost every day. But to sacrifice the length of the corridor so that those living in Chelsea and beyond have an easier commute into Birmingham is ludicrous. If the overpass system becomes a done deal, most likely so will my family’s relocation out of the area. And somehow, I don’t think we’ll be alone in our departure if folks can sell their houses after property values plummet.

    Wendy Fort

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