The Northern Beltline will serve as a boon to Birmingham, bringing an estimated $155 million in new tax revenue during construction, $54 million in new tax revenue each year after construction is completed, and will add about 70,000 jobs to the local economy.
Wesley Vaughn writes:
The completion of a beltline around Birmingham is long overdue. Without a northern loop, the region’s growth spread unevenly to the southeast – creating congestion in the communities along US highways 31 and 280. The Northern Beltline will alleviate that southeastward expansion and provide more opportunity for affordable housing closer to the region’s urban core.
The construction of the Northern Beltline is well on its way, with the first phase running between Hwy. 75 and Hwy. 79 in northeast Jefferson County.
Heavy equipment including bulldozers, trackhoes and heavy dump trucks are moving dirt and grading an area near where the interchange will be. Two construction entrances to Hwy 75 have been added so equipment can enter the site.
Hailed as Unparalleled Economic Development Engine
Gov. Robert Bentley joined Alabama Department of Transportation Director John Cooper, Rep. Spencer Bachus and dozens of local and state officials for a ground-breaking ceremony today in Palmerdale, Alabama.
The ceremony took place at the first 1.34 mile Beltline segment, between Alabama Highways 75 and 79.
When completed, the 52.5-mile Beltline will run through the western and northern part of Jefferson County and join existing I-459 in Bessemer to I-59 near Argo.
“At long last, this much needed project is now officially underway,” said Mike Thompson, CEO of Thompson Tractor and Chairman of the Coalition for Regional Transportation.
“The Northern Beltline will have such a positive economic impact on our children and grandchildren. This project will allow our metropolitan area to catch up to our neighboring southeastern states in transportation infrastructure that is so important to the continued growth of our area,” Thompson said. “Our citizens deserve no less.”Read more
The Coalition for Regional Transportation is pleased to announce the groundbreaking ceremony for the Northern Beltline will be held April 21, 2014. Governor Robert Bentley will lead the event which is expected to draw a significant number of elected officials from the federal, state and local levels.
This event will mark the long-awaited beginning of construction on the Northern Beltline which has been strongly supported throughout all the communities that make the Birmingham region a vibrant place to live and work. The jobs creation, economic growth opportunities, and improvements to cross-region accessibility and safety will benefit generations to come.
Northern Beltline Groundbreaking celebration
Monday, April 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM
Highway 75, Palmerdale, Alabama
- From I-20, take Exit #128 (Highway 79N).
- Drive approximately 12.2 miles North, then turn Right on Highway 75.
- Drive approximately 3.4 miles then turn Right on Clay-Palmerdale Road.
Late Friday afternoon, a U.S. District Court ruled against Black Warrior Riverkeeper Inc., a local Alabama environmental group, in their request to block the start of construction for the Northern Beltline.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the permit for the first phase of construction on the beltline in September of last year. Less than a month later, theSouthern Environmental Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper challenging the permit and seeking to block construction.
The lawsuit was based on the premise that beginning the first phase of construction — a 1.8 mile segment joining State Roads 79 and 75 — violated requirements in the National Environmental Policy Act stating that environmental impact studies must be performed before permits can be granted. The Corps of Engineers had conducted such a study on the first segment of construction, but not the entire 51-mile project.
The court found that “requiring the Corps to prepare [a study for each section of the beltline ahead of time] would likely result in the project never being started at all and would be useless and redundant.”