Chelsea supports U.S. 280 traffic plan

Published 8:15 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Chelsea City Council pledged its support of any project to ease traffic congestion on U.S. 280 during its April 20 meeting.

During the meeting, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the “implementation of any project to relieve traffic congestion,” on U.S. 280. The vote came one day after the Hoover City Council passed a similar resolution.

“I want to say thank you to the Hoover mayor and City Council,” said Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven. “They made a big vote last night to show 280 is very important to Shelby County and Jefferson County.”

Niven said he supported an Alabama Department of Transportation’s plan to construct elevated toll lanes on U.S. 280 from Eagle Point Parkway in Shelby County to Interstate 459 in Shelby County.

“An elevated highway will be advantageous to all areas of life in Chelsea,” Niven said. “We’ve got a lot of work invested in this. Let’s move forward and make this work.”

Niven and council members said they would like to see ALDOT quickly implement a “cost-effective, feasible plan” to help ease the traffic congestion on the busy highway.

Elevated lanes would allow Chelsea residents to have easier access to medical care, and would allow them to spend more time with their families, Niven said.

Last month, ALDOT announced it would not move forward on the elevated lanes project until cities along the U.S. 280 corridor agree to support the project. The elevated lane project cost is expected to total about $800 million.

In other business, the council continued a resolution forcing developers of the Covington Place subdivision to ensure they would complete road repairs and install a seal coat on the neighborhood’s roads.

The council will not vote on the matter until Niven and the city’s attorney meets with Laurie Sharp, the attorney for neighborhood developer Lynal Chappell.

Roads in Covington Place are severely worn, and residents in the neighborhood have been forced to leave their garbage cans at the neighborhood’s entrance since a garbage truck became stuck in the neighborhood.

During the council meeting, Sharp questioned the city’s authority to force the developer to repair the roads.

“Under what city ordinance or subdivision regulations are you acting?” Sharp asked Niven. “You have to act within the scope of authority in the city guidelines or subdivision regulations or zoning regulations.

“I know this is the latest trend for cities around here,” Sharp added.

Niven said he would not stop pursing the developer until the roads are repaired.

“Would you push your garbage 300 feet to be picked up at the entrance of the neighborhood?” Niven asked Sharp. “Make an appointment with me, and I will have my attorney.

“We will not continue with that subdivision the way it is now,” Niven added. “You tell your developer that we expect those roads to be fixed.”