Time for ALDOT to move on U.S. 280

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The U.S. 280 ball is squarely back in ALDOT’s court.

Tony Harris, ALDOT spokesman, said in mid-March governments and business groups involved need to publicly show their support for its proposed elevated toll road project, aimed at relieving paralyzing, dangerous congestion on U.S. 280.

ALDOT had begun preliminary work on the project and said it had secured a funding source. However, a small group of residents and business owners, calling themselves Rethink 280, created some clamor in opposition of the plan. I covered one of the group’s meetings in mid-February, and when I say small group, I mean fewer than 15 people attended.

That very small but vocal opposition, along with the fact that the municipality with the most vested interest in U.S. 280 — Hoover — hadn’t publicly issued its support for the ALDOT project, was enough to bring to a screeching halt, once again, any progress on solving the very real problem for commuters who are forced to drive U.S. 280.

Harris said ALDOT needed to see a strong consensus of support before the agency would commit any further resources to the project.

ALDOT has that strong commitment now, and it’s time they got back to work on the project.

Let’s face it: The U.S. 280 nightmare is very much a Shelby County issue. Municipalities in Shelby County along the 280 corridor have now publicly committed to the ALDOT toll road, including Hoover, Chelsea and Westover.

The area’s strongest and most reputable business organizations — the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and the Birmingham Business Alliance — have thrown their solid support behind the ALDOT plan, as well.

Work on the project should begin again — quickly.

Please, do not let this opportunity pass us by. No plan is perfect. None will please everyone. This plan is the best solution for what is a very real and very dangerous problem.

Let Tony Harris and ALDOT Transportation Director Joe McInnes know it’s time to get back to work on the elevated toll road project.

ALDOT: It’s your serve.