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Birmingham City Council Passes Resolution against Cahaba Beach Road

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Today the Birmingham City Council passed a resolution to oppose Cahaba Beach Road, a proposed project which would allow the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to build a road and bridge through the heart of an undeveloped area that safeguards Birmingham’s drinking water. 

Birmingham Watch: ALDOT pitches options for Little Cahaba River bridge. Opponents warn of immediate and permanent harm to drinking water.

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Traffic authorities seeking to extend a road across the Little Cahaba River in southern Jefferson County promised Tuesday to make it a controlled access road and prevent adjacent development in the watershed that protects metropolitan Birmingham’s drinking water supply.

But clean-water advocates poured into a public meeting Tuesday night to insist the risk of contaminating the river even from road and bridge construction outweighs the convenience of connecting Cahaba Beach Road to Sicard Hollow Road. Multiple environmental organizations are urging residents to lobby the state to drop the project. Cahaba Beach Road project could impact Birmingham's drinking water, critics say

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A proposed road project to expand Cahaba Beach Road across the Little Cahaba River in Shelby County drew a dose of skepticism and significant opposition Tuesday night at a public information session held by the Alabama Department of Transportation at Liberty Park Middle School in Vestavia Hills. 

Vestavia Hills Patch: Project to extend Cahaba Beach Road draws criticism

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VESTAVIA HILLS, AL - A public information session held by the Alabama Department of Transportation at Liberty Park Middle School in Vestavia Hills Tuesday regarding a proposal to expand Cahaba Beach Road across the Little Cahaba River drew hundreds of people - most of whom were critical of the plan.

WVTM 13: Concerns over proposed Cahaba Beach Road bypass in Jefferson County

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Some say a proposed corridor down Cahaba Beach Road in Jefferson County could help ease some of this congestion. But environmental groups think the plan will cause more harm than good.

Vestavia Voice: Grants Mill, Cahaba Beach road studies moving forward

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Two years after being approved by the city of Birmingham, a feasibility study on using Grants Mill Road to relieve congestion on U.S. 280 looks ready to begin later this year.

In 2015, Birmingham approved a joint traffic study of Grants Mill and U.S. 280 to look for possible alternate corridors where Grants Mill could be relocated, widened and have its speed limit increased between Highway 119 and I-459. The road runs through several jurisdictions, so the study was planned as a cooperative effort between Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Irondale, Hoover, Leeds, Mountain Brook, Jefferson County, Shelby County and the Birmingham Water Works Board.

Birmingham Magazine: A look into the Cahaba River and what it will take to conserve it

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The Alabama Department of Transportation has proposed a project called the Cahaba Beach Road Extension, which would connect Sicard Hollow Road east of The Summit to U.S. 280 at Brook Highland, opening up for development a large swath of land that is currently covered by forests along the Little Cahaba on the 280 corridor in Shelby County.

The undeveloped land is just upstream of a major drinking water intake used by Birmingham Water Works to supply much of the Birmingham metro area. In fact, the proposed route cuts through lands purchased by the Water Works, with ratepayer funds, to protect the intake.

The Cahaba River Society and Cahaba Riverkeeper are both strongly opposed to the plan, saying it would jeopardize the largest drinking water intake for the city of Birmingham, and further subject the river to sedimentation, faster run-off, and more erosive forces.

That's not to mention the likelihood of increased costs for the Water Works to treat dirtier water, deal with polluted run-off from the road, and the increased possibility of a major fuel or chemical spill that can occur on any roadway.

As the Cahaba River Society stated in its formal comments to ALDOT, "Lands purchased with public ratepayer money with the intention of permanently protecting the region's drinking water source are not the right place for development that risks our drinking water."

Birmingham Times: The Road to Dirty Drinking Water

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You may have heard about the Cahaba Beach Road proposal that threatens the quality and cost of your drinking water. You can do something about it. The Alabama Department of Transportation wants to hear from people who would be affected by this issue, in writing, by Nov. 1. You can email ALDOT at, and learn more about the project and how to comment to ALDOT at

WIAT CBS 42: Cahaba River advocates want “No Build” on road project

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — A proposed ALDOT road project in Jefferson and Shelby Counties has been met with resistance from the Cahaba River Society, a group advocating for protection of the river.

The project would build a road extending Cahaba Beach Road, off Highway 280, to connect with Sicard Hollow Road. ALDOT says it would potentially alleviate heavy traffic on Highway 280 by allowing another route between areas that have seen growth in recent years. But the Cahaba River Society believes the project would damage the river, and therefore the drinking water in the Birmingham Metro Area coming from the water system that feeds much of the water supply.

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VESTAVIA HILLS – Residents studied the four proposals still under consideration for the extension of Cahaba Beach Road in North Shelby County and had submitted their opinions at a public involvement meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at Liberty Park Middle School....

But a group of people who attended the public involvement meeting to campaign against the project said there is only one acceptable outcome: “no build.”

“We don’t want to see another bridge built over the river,” said Marjorie Jones, who lives off Sicard Hollow Road.

Jones was one of a number of people who wore stickers that stated “No Build: Save B’ham’s Drinking Water.”

The group has environmental concerns about the project and thinks it would make traffic worse.

“These are legitimate concerns,” Jones said.

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ALDOT presented a narrowed list of options for reconnecting U.S. 280 and Sicard Hollow Road via Cahaba Beach Road at a public involvement meeting tonight.

The meeting, held at Liberty Park Middle, was a chance for residents and interested citizens to see the proposed routes from Swan Drive to Sicard Hollow, all of which include a bridge over the Little Cahaba River, and share their comments.

There were four alternatives presented tonight – an east, central and west option with a secondary east alternative – which is a decrease from the roughly 10 alternatives presented in a similar meeting last October. The option not to build the road remains on the table as well.


Many of those who attended the public involvement meeting wore blue "no build" stickers expressing their opposition to the road project. Keeping the land between the existing Cahaba Beach Road and Sicard Hollow Road undeveloped was a primary concern, as well as protecting the river and drinking water source from potential pollution and runoff. The Cahaba Riverkeeper has led local efforts to oppose the development.

"I can see an inevitable encroachment," said Lou Pfau, one attendee who opposed the road. He said the short-term benefit of a connecting road would be outweighed by longterm environmental hazards and the loss of undeveloped woodland areas. "That just seems sinful."

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There is much to be excited about in Birmingham. We may be on the verge of attracting an Amazon distribution hub, and revitalization is bringing downtown and neighboring communities new life.

As someone who grew up here and has worked and raised my family here, it's heartening to see. And the more we grow, the more we need to keep an eye on a most valuable resource - the Cahaba River, a main drinking water source for the Birmingham area.

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. — Despite the vast environmental benefits forests provide, sometimes, there's just no way to get around them - literally.

A new ALDOT proposal aims to make life easier for people living near Highway 280, but it comes at the potential cost of harming the drinking water supply.

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A plan to reduce traffic on Highway 280 and make it more accessible. That is what ALDOT presented to the public Tuesday evening.

ALDOT is proposing multiple alternate routes from 280 by taking Cahaba Beach Road. After hearing the publics' opinions and concerning other options, they will select one of the four options.

Now these are all proposed plans, so there are four route options and there is still the option not to build at all. ALDOTs goal with these plans are to improve connectivity to 280 as well as mobility and travel time.

It would really help connect people east of Interstate 459. One Highway 280 commuter says it would cut his drive time in half.

“It would really help us get to the Summit or other places we want to go to and cut down on traffic time,” David Fuqua states.

DeJarvis Leonard with ALDOT says everything they hear from the public will help them move forward.

“Information that we gathered drives the process and the process drives the decision," he explains.

Now there were also a few people in the Liberty Park meeting that were against the connectivity because they fear it will bring heavy traffic to the area.

This is also a group of people against it because they say it will impact all of Birmingham’s water source.

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The Alabama Department of Transportation will discuss its proposed route for a bridge across the Little Cahaba River during a public meeting Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Environmentalists have opposed the proposed extension of Cahaba Beach Road across the river, saying the construction and potential development of the pristine area could threaten the health of a major source of drinking water.

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Liberty Park is exploding with growth, and roads will need to be altered to accommodate the next 700 acres of development in the Vestavia Hills community

Cahaba Beach Road is in the sights of the Alabama Department of Transportation, as it can provide connectivity between the east side of U.S. 280 and Interstate 459.

However, the Cahaba River Society is coming out against the idea to connect Cahaba Beach Road into Sicard Hollow Road, and a public hearing is slated for 5 p.m. Oct. 17 at Liberty Park Middle School for residents to learn more about voice opinions. 

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