OMSP opens new overlook, spillway bridgePublished 3:23pm Thursday, October 24, 2013
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
The view from Oak Mountain State Park’s new Peavine overlook reveals a panoramic view of much of the Birmingham metropolitan area south of Red Mountain, including the Galleria mall in Hoover and the Vulcan statue overlooking downtown Birmingham.
And now, visitors to the new overlook entering the park from Alabama 119 no longer have to worry about submerging their vehicles in water while crossing the Oak Mountain Lake’s spillway.
Alabama, Shelby County, Pelham and OMSP officials celebrated the pair of recently opened projects with a pair of ribbon cutting events at the park on Oct. 24. The projects added a vehicle bridge over the lake’s spillway near the OMSP back entrance, and added an Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant scenic overlook area on the road leading to the Peavine Falls parking area.
“Admissions at the back gate have already gone way up since they opened the spillway bridge,” said Shelby County Manger Alex Dudchock.
Before the bridge opened, park visitors typically had to drive through about a foot of water to travel from the park’s back entrance to other parts of the OMSP. When heavy rains caused water levels to rise in the park’s lake, OMSP officials were forced to close the spillway to traffic.
Dudchock said the spillway project was a partnership between Shelby County and the state, and said the project’s cost was kept down by doing much of the work in-house.
The new wooden overlook deck is about a quarter-mile from the Peavine Falls parking lot off Peavine Falls Road. Next to the deck, an ADA-compliant trail leads to one of the park’s fire pit areas.
Dudchock praised the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers, OMSP and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for partnering with Shelby County to make the project a reality.
Curtis Jones, deputy commissioner for the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said neither project would have been possible without the partnerships between the groups involved and the city of Pelham.
Pelham City Council member Ron Scott said OMSP helps to draw visitors from all over the world to Pelham, and said the pair of new projects will provide more reasons to visit the park.
“We have been very fortunate to have national recognition as being an outstanding place to live,” Scott said. “One of the main factors is this park.”