Meetings set for elevated 280 project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2006

County Engineer Randy Cole is encouraging Shelby County residents to attend both public meetings concerning a proposed elevated highway along U.S. 280, even though just one of them deals with the Shelby County stretch of the road.

Public meetings will be held Jan. 22-23 to discuss elevated lanes along the congested highway from I-459 in Birmingham to Eagle Point Parkway in Shelby County.

Both meetings will be held at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center on 280, formerly the HealthSouth building, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

The meetings are designed to discuss the eastern section of the highway the first day and the western section, which is primarily located in Jefferson County, on the second day.

But Cole said anyone interested in the proposal should attend both meetings.

&8220;Their comments are germane as well,&8221; he said. &8220;Even though [the western section] is not in our county, that is a federal route that we all rely on.&8221;

The meetings were scheduled by Linda Figg of Figg Engineering Group. Figg was hired by Progress 280, a group of government leaders, business owners and local residents.

A preliminary plan for the elevated roadway unveiled in August called for a 35-foot, four-lane project to help alleviate traffic problems along the heavily traveled route.

Representatives from Progress 280 say that response to the proposal has been mostly positive on the eastern section.

Shelby County, along with the cities of Chelsea, Westover and Harpersville have agreed to work to together on the project.

Reaction to the western section has not been as approving. The Mountain Brook City Council passed a resolution opposing the elevated lanes.

January&8217;s meetings are part of the initial phase of the project, used to determine options for the roadway and its impact on the counties and municipalities affected.

Cole said certain specifics of the plan, such as the exact location of access ramps, would probably not be discussed at the meetings.

&8220;No real detailed engineering has been done at this point,&8221; Cole said. &8220;It will probably just identify approximate locations.&8221;

Figg has said it could be late fall before a final concept is brought before the community