BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – An environmental non-profit organization is speaks out against the proposed Northern Beltline project. Last week, the Federal Highway Administration said the project would cost $4.7 billion dollars, compared to AL-DOT’s price tag of more than $3 billion.
Black Warrior RIVERKEEPER’s Nelson Brooke says Turkey Creek Preserve water is brown because of development projects upstream, due to soil erosion. Brooke says the whopping $90 million per mile, Northern Beltline, will impact other waterways in similar ways.
It's a large project. It's the longest and most environmentally destruction route of all of the seven routes that were looked at [by AL-DOT]," Brooke said.
Black Warrior RIVERKEEPER, is one of several environmental groups opposed to Northern Beltline. Brooke says the “Environmental Impact Study” done by al-dot doesn't show any traffic reduction by creating a new state route.
“[Other studies] they actually show that traffic will be much worse at some of the interchanges," Brooke said
Not only that, Brooke says Downtown Birmingham’s is going through revitalization. He doesn't believe building a more than $3 billion Beltline would be good business in the city's core.
“What's unfortunate is I-459 produced a lot of development to the south and southeast and that's a lot of development out of the city," Brooke said.
Jefferson County's is experiencing several financial issues. Commission President, David Carrington, says the county's behind the project because their not forking out any money.
Meanwhile, Brooke says the potential billions be can be used more wisely elsewhere.
"Managing our existing infrastructure, upgrading and maintaining what we have that's falling apart and putting monies towards efficient and needed projects," said Brooke.
The project is expected to take over 20 years to complete.