Westover supports U.S. 280 elevated lanes

Published 1:33 pm Friday, April 23, 2010

A third Shelby County community recently signed on to support the Alabama Department of Transportation’s plan for elevated express lanes on U.S. 280.

The Westover Town Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution supporting the ALDOT plan during its April 6 meeting. Westover joined Hoover and Chelsea, who have also voted to support elevated lanes.

“What I’ve been hearing is that we’ve thought about it long enough,” said Westover Mayor Mark McLaughlin. “The things I’ve been hearing from people is that they are frustrated with inaction.”

If ALDOT moves forward with its plan to construct elevated express lanes from Eagle Point Parkway in Shelby County to Interstate 459 in Jefferson County, it will allow Westover residents to more easily access shopping in Shelby County, McLaughlin said.

In March, ALDOT announced it would not move forward with the $800 million project until municipalities along U.S. 280 agree to support it.

“People around here are telling me they no longer go over the mountain unless they have to,” McLaughlin said. “280 is very difficult to navigate the good part of the day.

“The (ALDOT) plan I see now appears to be a very good plan. It is a well thought-out plan,” McLaughlin added. “I don’t see a downside to it.”

McLaughlin said he did not see much difference between the proposed U.S. 280 project and past ALDOT projects, like Interstate 20. He also said completing the project will help plan for Shelby County’s future.

“Anything we can do to make it easier for people to get into and out of Westover is great,” McLaughlin said. “People are driving twice the distance in half the time it would take them to go shopping in Shelby County or the Summit.

“What’s being asked of all of us is that we address the problem now and plan for the future,” McLaughlin added. “If we can get a good group of people together that can see the problem, I think that’s great.”