Twice a day, U.S. Highway 280 turns into a rush hour mess, but double decking the congested throughway is not the best solution, the Birmingham City Council said Tuesday.
In a seven, to one, to one vote, the council approved a resolution that expressed concerns about the project and encouraged the Alabama Department of Transportation to explore more down-to-earth alternatives.
“Our objections to this project are many,” the council said.
In particular, the council questioned whether tolls from the proposed project would be sufficient to fund it, whether the project would diminish nearby home values and hurt adjacent businesses, and why the plan includes no mass transit component.
The Birmingham Business Alliance has pushed the project heavily, but critics argue the plan would literally overshadow and pass over communities and businesses along the corridor.
On Tuesday, Councilor Valerie Abbott argued that many cities are rethinking the wisdom of elevated highways, including Birmingham, which has proposed trenching the I-20/59 viaduct in its Downtown Materplan.
Council President Roderick Royal was the only vote against the resolution. During the meeting, he described his colleagues as “emotional” and said the council should not send the highway department the wrong message.
Councilor Maxine Parker abstained.