Slideshow: Northern Beltline construction begins today - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Slideshow: Northern Beltline construction begins today

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL - Crews from the Alabama Department of Transportation will begin the first construction phase of the 52-mile long Northern Beltline today.

Once the entire project is complete, the highway will connect I-59 in northeast Jefferson County to the I-459 interchange with I-20/59 near Bessemer.

Work will begin Monday on a 1.34 mile stretch that will connect Highway 79 to Highway 75.

The first phase has been a controversial subject for some.

The environmental group “Black Warrior RIVERKEEPER” opposed the project, claiming construction on the first phase violated National Environmental Policy Act requirements.

In January 2014, a judge ruled against the group stating members did not provide enough evidence in their claims.

According to one economic study, the projected 21 year-long construction of the Northern Beltline is expected to create 70,000 jobs.

The first phase is scheduled to be complete in late 2016.

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