Cahaba Beach Road project causing contention between ALDOT and environmental groups

Little Cahaba River
Little Cahaba River [Photo Credit: Alan Cressler via Flickr]

Environmental groups in the Birmingham area have joined together to keep ALDOT‘s Cahaba Beach Road project from being built.

The new road would stretch across the Little Cahaba River from U.S. 280, allowing over 8,000 cars a day to travel across an environmentally sensitive area, and cost anywhere from $10 million to $20 million WBHM reported.

According to Save the Cahaba, the river is vital for the areas drinking water as the Little Cahaba River is the connection between the Lake Purdy reservoir and the main Cahaba River.

“The road would bring Highway 280 cut-through traffic across our drinking water source and is intended to open this sensitive area to private development,” Save the Cahaba said. “This would increase risks from construction, urban runoff, forest loss, heavy traffic, and a direct spill into the drinking water for the Birmingham area.”

Cahaba Beach Road Alternative Alignments
Cahaba Beach Road Alternative Alignments [Photo Credit: ALDOT]

But ALDOT and other civil engineers say the road will cut down on travel time, improve access to roads on both sides of the river, and improve connectivity between U.S. 280 and the Liberty Park area.

According to ALDOT’s “next steps” listed on the project’s website; they will be conducting several different environmental analysis before proceeding with the project.

ALDOT is considering several alternatives, including not building the road at all.

On Tuesday, ALDOT is conducting a public involvement meeting which several groups, including The Cahaba River Society, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Alabama Rivers Alliance and Southern Environmental Law Center have committed to attend.

During the meeting ALDOT representatives are expected to update the attendees on plans for the road, and answer any questions. According to WBHM, anyone interested in the project may comment and indicate whether or not they would like the new road to be built.