Proposed bridge would take a toll

Dear Editor,

With dismay I have learned of the proposed bridge across the Coosa River. My wife and I live on Paradise Point Drive in Columbiana, very near the proposed site, and we are very concerned about the adverse impact of the bridge on our idyllic community.

Since we moved here five years ago from Inverness in North Shelby County, we have very much enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to live closer to nature in this beautiful and peaceful part of the county. We are miles from a through highway and the quiet setting is truly balm for our souls. This will be destroyed if the bridge is built.

We are very concerned about the prospect of the projected 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles a day passing within close earshot of our home. The traffic, the noise, the safety concerns, the pollution of air and water, the light pollution, and the overall degradation of the character of our community would be a terrible loss for us and for our neighbors.

Adding insult to injury, the bridge planned is a toll bridge. We would have to pay to use it. And there is nothing subtle about the noise level around a toll booth. Depending, I suppose, on the level of technology employed in collecting tolls, vehicles would be forced to slow down or even to stop.

Slowing or stopping may involve some trucks jake braking with raucous noise. Then, leaving the toll booth, traffic would accelerate, shifting up through the gears to get to highway speed again.

Even cars and pickups can be very loud doing this. But 18 wheelers, log trucks, and dump trucks can be much louder, with thunderous noise carrying for miles. And this loud event would repeat 4,000 to 5,000 times a day!

What about the people at Perkins Landing who paid for nice homes in a quiet, safe and friendly neighborhood? Their location is right there at ground zero and their neighborhood would be tragically ruined and their property values lowered. This bridge would certainly take a toll.

Since moving here we have been thrilled to see the beautiful night sky without interference from city lights. Stars are brilliant against the black background and we have often enjoyed meteor showers and watched the International Space Station move across the sky.

Nearby light pollution from the highway, the bridge and the toll booths would spoil the chance, rare these days but treasured by us, to see the night sky as it was created to be seen. Again, traffic noise, always in the background, would further diminish this experience as well, by evoking a truck stop ambiance.

It is said that other parts of the county could see benefits from a bridge. On the other hand, for the county as a whole there also would definitely be negative tradeoffs.

So what is the need for this bridge? What would be the advantages and who would profit from it’s construction and operation? What is the true cost of the bridge and who would be paying the price? Is it worth trashing this beautiful part of the county? In my opinion, most definitely not. I most strongly urge each Shelby County Commissioner to stop this misguided and inappropriate project before the damage is done!

Bart Jones