Prepare for fight over elevated U.S. 280

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.

&045; Lee Segall

A fight is looming. No, not a political fight with next week&8217;s elections and certainly I hope not during this Saturday&8217;s football contest when Florida International visits the University of Alabama.

This fight relates to what to do with traffic congestion on Highway 280 or more specifically, what not to do.

An elevated road has been proposed that would run from Elton B. Stephens Expressway [near the Hollywood exit in Homewood] to Double Oak Mountain in Shelby County; as proposed, the road would be built in two stages with I-459 serving as the meeting point.

The Mountain Brook City Council passed a resolution earlier this week to voice their objection to the notion of an elevated road and folks in the City of Homewood do not appear to be much happier about the idea.

It is certainly understandable that those living on the Western side of this debate could have concerns; potential for increased traffic, possible increased noise and light pollution, construction inconveniences and the like all could lead reasonable people to wonder why take the risk of these troubles just to shorten commute time for those living down the road.

But certainly something must be done.

Traffic congestion on Highway 280 is legendary, no need to waste additional paper and ink here to describe the magnitude of the troubles and the difficulty of finding effective solutions.

The Progress 280 Task Force, a group of business, elected and civic leaders has been working to find a solution to traffic congestion and growth issues on the region&8217;s fastest growing commercial and residential corridor; the idea of the elevated road originated with their work to find creative solutions to difficult questions.

And The Progress 280 Task Force deserves our thanks for getting the process to this point; certainly nothing will improve if nothing is done.

Perhaps a possible compromise would be to construct the Eastern segment of the elevated road [that which will stretch from I-459 to Double Oak Mountain]; if such a project were successful, those West of I-459 might find the idea of an elevated road more palatable