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  #21  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2005, 3:05 PM
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From the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce website...

Quote:
A final design meeting was held last summer in Pinson concerning the interchanges of the Northern Beltline at Alabama highways 75 and 79.

Right-of-way acquisition in the vicinity of Alabama highways 75 and 79 should begin in early 2005 and be complete by 2006.

ALDOT’s revised estimate of the cost for the entire project is now $1.2 - $1.5 billion.

The MPO had previously added $1.85 million to the TIP for work on the first segment of the Northern Beltline, specifically preliminary engineering for grading, drainage and bridgework from west of Highway 79 to east of Highway 75; preliminary engineering for dual bridges over Highway 79; preliminary engineering for dual bridges over Highway 75; and preliminary engineering for ramps over both Highway 75 and Highway 79.
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Last edited by Blazer85; Jun 11, 2005 at 3:50 PM.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2005, 3:49 PM
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Ahah! I found it... I knew I wasnt crazy. It says construction to begin in June.
------------------------------------------------------------

State buys, appraises land for beltline

Friday, November 12, 2004
GINNY MacDONALD
News staff writer

State transportation officials have started buying property for the
Northern Beltline and are appraising additional large land tracts for
the proposed corridor route.

The state has spent $6.6 million for beltline land acquisition and
design. Construction on the beltline, which has been touted for 30
years, is scheduled to begin in June.

Land buys have been primarily along the beltline segment between
Alabama 75 and Alabama 79 near Pinson.


"We are purchasing land that is on the verge of developing," said Don
Arkle, design bureau chief for the Alabama Department of
Transportation.

Beltline plans do not include an interchange at U.S. 31 near
Gardendale or extending the beltline eastward past Interstate 59 to
I-20, which St. Clair County officials had sought.

The 51-mile beltline would complete the bypass loop around Birmingham
that began when I-459 was completed in 1984. When finished, the
beltline will connect I-459 at Bessemer and I-59 near Moody.

Transportation officials have asked consultants designing the beltline
to cut costs. Vaughn said that could include shorter interchange
ramps, which would require less land.

"But if it is not a significant savings, we're not going to do it,"
DOT Deputy Director Don Vaughn said.

Right of way for the beltline is expected to cost $150 million, Vaughn
said.

Another cost-cutting measure proposed would be having the north and
south traffic lanes at different elevations to limit the amount of cut
needed into mountainous terrain and to reduce the amount of fill in
valleys.

Another would have the median barrier erected all along the beltline
and the outside lanes used for future widening. The beltline had been
designed with the center shoulder wide enough to accommodate future
extra lanes.

State transportation officials said that a beltline interchange with
U.S. 31 at Gardendale would be too close to other beltline
interchanges and to I-65 interchanges with I-22 (Corridor X).

But if there is a public outcry, the Gardendale interchange could be
added back to the plan, said Birmingham DOT Division Engineer J.F.
Horsley.

Changes to the beltline route have been made since it was first
designed in 1996.

Several were necessary to avoid housing and business developments.
Another major shift will be the 12-mile segment between Bayview Lake
and Bessemer to bypass a quarry opened after the design.

Will stop at Moody:

The beltline will end in the Moody area at I-59. Highway officials do
not plan to extend it to I-20 near Pell City, Vaughn said. A group
from Pell City has asked the state to look at the feasibility of
bringing the beltline around to I-20.

"We looked at it, and it is not the thing to do," Vaughn said. "It
would have cost $60 million and would not have had enough of an effect
on traffic volume to justify the extra cost. It can remain a separate,
stand-alone project."

Highway officials say the beltline won't be completed before 2020, but
segments will open as they are finished.

Transportation and trucking company officials say the beltline would
lessen the chance of trucks wrecking and destroying bridges in
Malfunction Junction, the state's busiest interchange.

Last month, the I-20/59 North bridge was destroyed by an exploding
tanker. In 2002, the I-65 South bridge in the junction was destroyed
by an exploding tanker.

"You can't ban the trucks from the junction unless you have somewhere
else to route them," DOT's Mike Mahaffey said.

And Birmingham is the only major city on I-65 without a bypass.

Truck traffic headed north has no way to go except through downtown at
Malfunction Junction, said Gene Vonderau of the Alabama Trucking
Association. "Truckers would love to be able to go around, and it will
be a tremendous help when we get the Northern Beltline completed,"
Vonderau said.

E-mail: gmacdonald@bhamnews.com
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  #23  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2005, 9:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazer85
^ Is that a no you dont know, or no it's not under construction?





Hell no as in this stuff it might get done by the time I'm 40. Might.




Freeways usually take a very long time to build, because 1) they do it one small piece at a time, and 2) they usually run out of money along the way, so that pushes the completion time back even further.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2005, 7:22 AM
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Quote:
Ahah! I found it... I knew I wasnt crazy. It says construction to begin in June.
It's also from November and, based on another article you posted, they're not even done with ROW purchase yet (note that ROW was one point I made in my initial post). Unless they have some special deal with FHWA and the landowners, they won't be able to begin construction until ROW purchase is complete....next year per one of your quotes.

Furthermore, this segment between Hwy 75 and Hwy 79 is only one small piece, and will be next to worthless until they can connect it to either I-65 or I-59.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2005, 8:39 PM
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Did I ever say or ask anything about it being used yet? I simply was referring to when construction would start... that's it. And yes, the project will be done in about 5 phases, so the ROW purchases and construction will be done separately... and they will be opened at different times as well. The first part that will likely be open to traffic will be from I-65 south and eastward towards I-59. ROW has almost been completely achieved for the section between 75 and 79... if not completely purchased already. ROW for the section from 79 to Clay will happen after that (or actually already is in some cases). Again, I only was discussing the beginning of construction... so whether it's "worthless" at this point is really irrelevant to my statement.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 2:35 AM
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I just wished the eastern leg connected with the 459 junction in Trussville. The proposed interchange for the northern beltline is no where near the existing one. And hopefully, when ALDOT extends I-22 they'll find a way to integrate it with I-20. Imagine coming from Atlanta, going through one interchange to get on I-59, then going through another one less than a mile away to get on I-22. Yuck!
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  #27  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 2:46 AM
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Right now, plans have I-22 dead-ending into US31. It is being discussed, however, about having I-22 extend further and dead-end at I-20/59 near Tallapoosa St. and the airport. This might be pretty wise for a couple of reasons. If we have I-22 bringing traffic onto I-65 just north of malfunction junction, that would just cause more traffic problems there. Also, if it does indeed end at US31 in North Birmingham, that doesnt make sense. Having what will be a major interstate END at a highway ...a highway without a median or barrier for that matter. If they do decide to dead-end I-22 at US31, they'll have to do some major upgrades to US31 south to I-20/59 to make it more interstate-traffic ready.

There is also a study underway to determine how practical it would be to extend the northern half of the beltway down to I-20 instead of having it end at I-59 (as the current plans indicate).
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  #28  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 3:05 AM
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I'm very pissed - it will mow Norwood down AGAIN.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 3:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DallasTexan
I'm very pissed - it will mow Norwood down AGAIN.
If they do decide to dead-end I-22 at I-20/59, Norwood would likely not be touched. Obviously that wouldnt be the case for North Birmingham, but Norwood should be clear ... boxed in by I-65, I-22, and I-20/59. It is still being studied, but even the CURRENT plans have I-22 coming to a dead-end at US31 in North Birmingham... that would definitely increase traffic and bring about changes along that western edge of Norwood that touches US31.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 4:58 AM
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I was just reading random stuff on the BJCTA website and found a couple of interesting facts.

-1884 Birmingham's Street Railway Company opened with five lines

-1891 First electric streetcar began operation

-1925 Birmingham Railway and Electric Company Streetcar system operated over 80 miles of track and carried 56 million revenue passengers

-1948 Ridership reached an all time peak at 93 million passengers


93 million!! Good heavens!

No wonder Birmingham was said to have had the 2nd most extensive streetcar system in the nation.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 5:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazer85
Right now, plans have I-22 dead-ending into US31. It is being discussed, however, about having I-22 extend further and dead-end at I-20/59 near Tallapoosa St. and the airport. This might be pretty wise for a couple of reasons. If we have I-22 bringing traffic onto I-65 just north of malfunction junction, that would just cause more traffic problems there. Also, if it does indeed end at US31 in North Birmingham, that doesnt make sense. Having what will be a major interstate END at a highway ...a highway without a median or barrier for that matter. If they do decide to dead-end I-22 at US31, they'll have to do some major upgrades to US31 south to I-20/59 to make it more interstate-traffic ready.

There is also a study underway to determine how practical it would be to extend the northern half of the beltway down to I-20 instead of having it end at I-59 (as the current plans indicate).
Yeah, I know about the plans to end it at I-65 but, more than likely, it will eventually be extended to Tallapoosa... I just hope they have a way of integrating I-20, I-22, and I-59 to minimize lane changes and confusion. Something like the I-85/I-285 interchange comes to mind.

And there were talks about extending the northern beltline to I-20 but as of now, that segment won't be constructed. ALDOT claims it wouldn't alleviate enough traffic to justify its construction. However, they did say it could be pursued as a separate project, which would satisfy many in St. Clair County.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 6:34 AM
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Quote:
Did I ever say or ask anything about it being used yet? I simply was referring to when construction would start... that's it.
You were implying a much larger scale of construction. If I misconstrued that, my apologies.

Quote:
ROW has almost been completely achieved for the section between 75 and 79... if not completely purchased already.
One of your earlier sources cited that ROW purchase began early this year and won't be completed between Hwy 75 and Hwy 79 until 2006. So which is the case?

Quote:
I just wished the eastern leg connected with the 459 junction in Trussville.
Too much development through Center Point and northeastern B'ham for them to bring it to existing 459.

Quote:
Right now, plans have I-22 dead-ending into US31. It is being discussed, however, about having I-22 extend further and dead-end at I-20/59 near Tallapoosa St. and the airport. This might be pretty wise for a couple of reasons. If we have I-22 bringing traffic onto I-65 just north of malfunction junction, that would just cause more traffic problems there. Also, if it does indeed end at US31 in North Birmingham, that doesnt make sense. Having what will be a major interstate END at a highway ...a highway without a median or barrier for that matter. If they do decide to dead-end I-22 at US31, they'll have to do some major upgrades to US31 south to I-20/59 to make it more interstate-traffic ready.
Given how close Hwy 31 is to I-65 north of downtown, I-22 will in effect end at I-65 (at a major interchange), with simply a couple of ramps extending down to Hwy 31. Most of your traffic will be getting off at I-65, not Hwy 31.

Would make sense to extend I-22 down to 20/59. Would take some of the traffic off of Malfunction Junction...
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  #33  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 3:13 PM
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I didnt necessarily mean that construction would begin on a widescale. You pretty much have to start projects like these slowly... and the area between 75 and 79 was just the easiest to attain land acquisition.

As far as I-22, if it does dead-end into US31, I hope passers-through realize that when they look at their maps and dont continue on to US31 because that could cause some major traffic issues there. However, I do hope that I-22 is continued further down to I-20/59.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 3:15 PM
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Does anyone remember this Bandy fellow? Anyone know anything about the other lady?
-------------------------------------------------------------

Two toss hats into council race
Monday, June 13, 2005
BARNETT WRIGHT
News staff writer

The race for Birmingham City Council kicked off over the weekend with announcements from two residents in separate districts.

The council election will be held Oct. 11.

Former councilman Leroy Bandy announced his candidacy for District 9 on Friday during a rally and fund-raiser at the Fellowship Hall next to the old Pratt School site.

Bandy said he's heard from numerous people who want him to run again.

"I've always done my job," he said. "They know what I did and they want some more of that. I was visible. I was there. I met with them."

Bandy will challenge incumbent Roderick Royal, who is finishing his first term and has announced he will run again.

In another announcement, Lashunda Scales said on Sunday she will challenge incumbent Joel Montgomery in District 1.

Montgomery is finishing his first term and has said he will run again.

Scales, a public relations consultant, made her announcement inside the Huffman High School gymnasium.

"I am a homeowner, a long-time resident and I have two children who attend Birmingham schools," Scales said. "This will allow me to become more active in my community."

Eight of the nine council members have said they will run for re-election. City Council President Lee Loder has said he will not run again in District 8.

E-mail: bwright@bhamnews.com
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  #35  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2005, 4:53 PM
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Public invited to review metro area transportation plans

Birmingham-area residents are invited to check out plans for city transportation improvements Tuesday during a daylong open house at the Center for Regional Planning and Design.

The public can review plans and projects for the fiscal-year 2006-2008 Birmingham Transportation Improvement Program and the 2030 Long Range Transportation Plan.

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, 1731 First Ave. North, is playing host to the event on behalf of the Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The public review session runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the first-floor conference room. Presentations will be given at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.



© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2005, 12:22 AM
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It requires free registration, but yesterday and today, the Tusc. News ran some positive articles mentioning the "rebirth" of Birmingham's City Stages and Visionland :

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/p...NEWS/506120307

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/p...NEWS/506120369

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/p...506130328/1007
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  #37  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2005, 4:05 AM
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If you don't feel like registering just use skilet1@blah.com (username) and light3 (PW).
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  #38  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2005, 4:18 AM
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Visionland has the 18th highest attended water park in America? Wow... that's pretty impressive. Southland has done a good job with it. Hopefully once theyre on a little firmer ground, they'll give back to the community in some way.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2005, 12:01 PM
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^Ditto. No knock against the guys that put VisionLand together, but it just goes to show you that politicians shouldn't run amusement parks. Poor guys... they meant well.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2005, 3:42 PM
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Anyone have a list of ONB's Twelve Most Wanted buildings? I cant seem to find it. I'm curious how many of those buildings remain now that City Federal, Cabana, Sears, etc all pretty much have plans.
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