The following readers responded to our July story on possible solutions for the Highway 280 traffic. ALDOT is currently completing survey work and looking at plans for an elevated highway or an alternative ReThink 280 plan. Read the complete story on 280 traffic solutions.
What do you think is the solution? Comment on this post and let us know.
ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) needs to tell the folks that don’t drive 280 everyday to stop thinking about their tiny kingdoms and think of the metro area as a whole. Light rail would be wonderful but there is no mass transit to use after you get off downtown. Mass transit takes even more cities to agree.
I have lived in North Shelby County more than 15 years and seen little improvements in Caldwell Mill and Grants Mill Roads. Make both of these four lanes between I-459 and Highway 119 and you will see the current problem on Highway 280 go away. I use these roads and they are usually bumper-to-bumper during school months.
A contributing factor of the current Highway 280 traffic is the closure of Lake Purdy bridge. It has taken Jefferson County/Alabama DOT too long to get this done for this bridge.
Again, the fix is not Highway 280, it is the parallel roads. I am a Shelby County resident commuter—no engineer like Mr. Davis who seems to keep pushing the bottle neck of traffic deeper into Shelby County. Other road expansions in North Shelby County are needed.
If our governor must have an elevated highway, put it on Grants Mill Road and run it all the way to I-20/59 from Highway 119. Then the Lake Purdy Bridge will be a mute issue.
-Paul E. Marrs
My opinion, as a resident, is that the elevated highway from Oak Mountain to I-459 should be started immediately. It is the only helpful solution and is relatively inexpensive to build. Also I believe it was once said that it could be done in a couple of years. Only people who live or work in this area should have any voice in the decision for this leg of the highway. Business owners should stay out of it. People will continue to buy from them, just not when they need to get somewhere… So it seems to me that the major culprit is south of I-459 and construction should begin now on the elevated road regardless what will become of the Homewood, etc end.
The proposed elevated highway is definitely not a viable solution. This is outdated technology. All over the country, existing elevated highways are being torn down. Even the elevated part of I-20/59 in downtown Birmingham may be demolished. Elevated highways separate parts of town, isolate and devastate businesses, devalue adjacent residential subdivision property and are generally an eyesore regardless of what Ms. Figg says to the contrary. It has also been demonstrated that the tolls will not support the maintenance of an elevated highway indefinitely. The initial cost would be outrageous.
ALDOT is pretending to consider other options such as ReThink 280 but they continue to spend tax dollars on preparations for the elevated highway. They will eventually have their way unless Governor Bentley can be convinced otherwise. I have sent him three email messages asking him to block ALDOT but have received no responses. ALDOT says they only build highways, so any solution other than the elevated highway would probably have to be implemented by some other organization.
Our opinion is to go ahead with the FIGG plan. We need something done right away in this area. We don’t need to start over with more talk, surveys, spend more money hiring someone to present another plan, etc. There will never be complete agreement, and usually those who oppose don’t even have to deal with this traffic mess! Let’s proceed with our plan for elevated road with good access and not spend additional money offering once again another option for people to disagree over and continue to delay and cost more money seeing if it will work. Of course, it will work!!!!
-Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Higgins
Friends here in Highland Lakes and my family are totally adverse to the FIGG design and plans for the overpass. It would look pretty and sleek (on sunny days) for the first two years, and then would collect grime from the atmosphere and deposit moldy mildew on the finish of the structure, especially underneath the roadway. This is evident on the concrete traffic dividers up and down our mountain; it would look worse on an elevated highway. This concept will harm not only aesthetics but also business and residential property values near our homes.