More than $489 million is secured to push the Northern Beltline project forward.
Friday’s announcement from the Coalition for Regional Transportation (CRT) said the federal funding included $30 million contained in the Fiscal Year 2023 federal spending bill passed by Congress last week.
“We’re confident it’ll bring the type of development that you saw along 459 and the economic impact that it had on that area,” said Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland.
He and CRT say the funding and the project is a game-changer.
The press release states: The 52.5-mile interstate will be built across northern Jefferson County and connect I-59 in northeast Jefferson County to the I-459 interchange near Bessemer. Birmingham is one of the few cities of its size in the U.S. that does not have a complete, connected interstate route to serve its metropolitan area, a problem that the Northern Beltline will correct.
“Between Gardendale and Trussville, it’ll be a much easier way to get there,” said Mayor Hogeland. “We kinda have to go around the world to get there now.”
The project is expected to help with connectivity and current Birmingham traffic congestion.
“You’re talking about 15,000 trucks a day -- the big trucks, you know the 18-wheelers -- that can be routed around and not going right through the heart of Birmingham and that’ll be tremendous,” said Hogeland.
The construction started and stopped back in 2014 but now with funding secured, Mayor Hogeland hopes the 30-year projection for the project will shorten.
“It’s been a long time and there’s been a lot of frustration and a lot of nay-saying and people didn’t think it would ever happen,” he added. “Well, it’s going to happen now. I’m confident of that.”
The Alabama Department of Transportation hasn’t responded to WBRC’s request for comment. Mayor Hogeland believes ALDOT will release an announcement soon with more details about when construction will begin again and how long it’s expected to take.