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."