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Author Topic: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)  (Read 129140 times)

codyg1985

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2010, 07:40:09 AM »

The politics plays a big part in why the state's priorities are so out-of-whack.  Along those lines, consider that the Northern Beltline is by far not the only grandiose highway project some people in the state envision...witness the I-85 Extension, West Alabama Interstate, Memphis-Huntsville-Atlanta Interstate, Montgomery Outer Loop, Dothan-to-I-10-connector, etc etc.  Of those, only the last one arguably has any real need.

Not quite sure if there is not a need for at least part of a Montgomery Outer Loop, as there needs to be a better route for SB I-65 to SB US 231 traffic around Montgomery than the stoplight infested, overloaded (at least the few times I've been on it) US 80/82.

Nor any of the other freeways. An I-85 extention and a I-10 connection to Dothan (give or take) IMO would make sense, but there is no real need for any other freeways unless the state focuses on mass transit or use most of its own money, like Mississippi did with U.S. Hwy 78 (Corridor X) as froggie pointed out, instead of relying on federal money, which may not be there to assist them.

The I-85 extension isn't really needed, as Froggie pointed out. A four-lane route with interchanges at major junctions would probably work just fine. The I-10 connector is needed, and it should be also be extended in both directions to Panama City to the south and Montgomery to the north.  It would provide a nice evacuation route.

I think the rest of the money needs to be spent in the big four urban areas of Alabama and on improving the existing interstates, particularly I-65 and I-20.
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Cody Goodman
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2010, 06:56:42 PM »

Hence you have the pollution to contend with. Furthermore, not everyone owns a motor vehicle in Birmingham; my grandmother is one of them. And the bus system in metro Birmingham, as you already mentioned, is broke. So I do believe that funding mass transit is more important than building a northern loop.

You really think all our pollution problems are from too many cars? I think it has more to do with the iron and steel industry.
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codyg1985

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #27 on: July 01, 2010, 07:15:07 AM »

Hence you have the pollution to contend with. Furthermore, not everyone owns a motor vehicle in Birmingham; my grandmother is one of them. And the bus system in metro Birmingham, as you already mentioned, is broke. So I do believe that funding mass transit is more important than building a northern loop.

You really think all our pollution problems are from too many cars? I think it has more to do with the iron and steel industry.

The same iron and steel industry that has been scaling back in Birmingham for decades? Increased congestion in the suburbs to the south and east cause cars to sit and idle longer, which causes more particulate pollution.  The topology of the Birmingham area with the moutains surrounding the areas that are congested don't help. The Alabama Power coal plants to the northwest and southeast don't help, either.
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Cody Goodman
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2010, 11:43:33 AM »

Hence you have the pollution to contend with. Furthermore, not everyone owns a motor vehicle in Birmingham; my grandmother is one of them. And the bus system in metro Birmingham, as you already mentioned, is broke. So I do believe that funding mass transit is more important than building a northern loop.

You really think all our pollution problems are from too many cars? I think it has more to do with the iron and steel industry.

The same iron and steel industry that has been scaling back in Birmingham for decades? Increased congestion in the suburbs to the south and east cause cars to sit and idle longer, which causes more particulate pollution.  The topology of the Birmingham area with the moutains surrounding the areas that are congested don't help. The Alabama Power coal plants to the northwest and southeast don't help, either.

Yes, the declining steel industries and the Alabama Power plants are the biggest causes of our pollution. A bunch of late model cars sitting around on 280 are no where near anywhere close to putting out as much filth. Keeping cars from sitting around in traffic is the point of building more roads. I do not see why this has to be a one or the other solution. More buses AND a northern bypass.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2010, 12:25:08 PM »

most cars sold anywhere in the US these days are made to California emissions standards, which implies that a steel mill (especially one from the 1960s or earlier, like the ones in Alabama) is responsible for the equivalent of literally millions of cars worth of pollution.

That said, there are too many cars.  But this is America, where people think nothing of driving 20 mind-numbing miles to the same place every morning, and 20 equally mind-numbing miles back home every night.  There's a damn good reason I chose a place to live that's five miles and one easy bus commute from my work, and planet Earth is only a secondary concern.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 12:28:19 PM by agentsteel53 »
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2010, 12:41:58 PM »

Quote
Yes, the declining steel industries and the Alabama Power plants are the biggest causes of our pollution.

I'd like to see the numbers that show this.  Not saying it isn't true locally.  But at the national level, vehicles are very much the #1 source of air pollution.
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2010, 12:51:38 PM »

I'd like to see the numbers that show this.  Not saying it isn't true locally.  But at the national level, vehicles are very much the #1 source of air pollution.


that's because of the generally even distribution of vehicles compared to the vastly uneven distribution of steel mills.  There are a lot of metropolises in the US that have lots of cars, and no steel mills.  There are no areas in the US, I don't think, with some steel mills and hardly any cars.  Maybe I-180 in Illinois!  So the number of cars adds up much faster than the number of steel mills on a national scale, while on some local scales, but not others, the steel mills dominate.
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2010, 09:06:29 PM »

Hence you have the pollution to contend with. Furthermore, not everyone owns a motor vehicle in Birmingham; my grandmother is one of them. And the bus system in metro Birmingham, as you already mentioned, is broke. So I do believe that funding mass transit is more important than building a northern loop.

You really think all our pollution problems are from too many cars? I think it has more to do with the iron and steel industry.

The same iron and steel industry that has been scaling back in Birmingham for decades? Increased congestion in the suburbs to the south and east cause cars to sit and idle longer, which causes more particulate pollution.  The topology of the Birmingham area with the moutains surrounding the areas that are congested don't help. The Alabama Power coal plants to the northwest and southeast don't help, either.

And if ALDOT DO end up constructing the north beltline, which might not happen anytime soon, you can expect the same exact issue like it did with I-459.

most cars sold anywhere in the US these days are made to California emissions standards, which implies that a steel mill (especially one from the 1960s or earlier, like the ones in Alabama) is responsible for the equivalent of literally millions of cars worth of pollution.

In Greater Cleveland (including the Akron-Canton Area), we have a program called E-Check that requires us to have our vehicles be subject to testing to ensure those vehicles do not emit excessive amounts of pollution. Like  agentsteel53 pointed out, most vehicles are made based on emissions standards in California. Therefore, newer vehicles in Ohio 2007 or newer are exempt for 4 years.
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Alex P. Dent

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #33 on: July 03, 2010, 10:15:21 AM »

Quote
Yes, the declining steel industries and the Alabama Power plants are the biggest causes of our pollution.

I'd like to see the numbers that show this.  Not saying it isn't true locally.  But at the national level, vehicles are very much the #1 source of air pollution.


Vehicles maybe, or motorized contraptions. And by that I mean you have to include trains, big rigs, construction vehicles, ships, lawnmowers, weedeaters, construction equipment etc. All that other jazz is not as heavily regulated as the cars we drive. It just makes for bigger sound bites when politicians go after the car manufacturers to decrease emissions. But new cars (and by that I mean anything 20ish years or newer) don't put out hardly any emissions.

Quote
And if ALDOT DO end up constructing the north beltline, which might not happen anytime soon, you can expect the same exact issue like it did with I-459.

If by issue you mean less congestion through malfunction junction and more development and places to go around it in North Jefferson county then yeah, that's what I'm hoping for. Bring it on.
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Chris

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2010, 11:25:56 AM »

Exhaust from cars add only little to air quality. Trucking is more important (I've read somewhere a freeway with 10,000 trucks emit the same as a freeway with 100,000 cars). In Europe, road traffic is generally responsible for about 10% of the emissions, although it varies by type (for example, NOx emissions from vehicles is worse than PM10 or CO2). I guess it would be somewhat higher in the US because there is somewhat more traffic and a larger share of the vehicle fleet has a relatively low gas mileage.

I conduct air quality surveys for work, using computer models. Generally, the background concentrations is around 80 - 90% of the PM10 (particle matter) concentrations, and the rest is added by a freeway (I'm talking about major freeways, say 100,000 vehicles per day).

Air quality is predominantly influenced and fluctuated by weather patterns and geography, this is why Mexico City and Los Angeles have worse air quality than cities in flatter terrain with a sea breeze that is not trapped by mountains. Although it has to be mentioned air quality in greater Los Angeles improved massively since the 70's, while the number of cars exploded in the same time.

In overall emissions, road traffic doesn't have that much influence, although there is some impact on local air quality, for example within 600 feet off a major freeway, especially when there is a bottleneck. Queuing traffic emits 3 to 6 times more than free-flow traffic, most notably trucks. That is why a road widening is often positive for local air quality, even if there is more traffic than in the old situation.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 11:29:13 AM by Chris »
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2010, 02:51:36 PM »

Although it has to be mentioned air quality in greater Los Angeles improved massively since the 70's, while the number of cars exploded in the same time.
The La Brea tar pits mention that air quality was worse in the LA basin in pre-colonial times (when the population was big, but far less than now, and there were no cars, but cooking fires) than today.
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Tourian

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2010, 02:17:50 PM »

The bus system in Birmingham is basically only in Jefferson County.  Only one route (the 280 route and it ends at Wal-Mart) goes into Shelby County.  

That is indeed the sad case. I think that one has more to do with Birmingham as a whole instead of the other suburbs. It needs to be more or a sub-regional bus system or a metro system that connects all major spokes of the wheel together.

Here's their service area according to their website:

"BJCTA provides fixed route and paratransit service to a service area of more than 200 square miles with a demand population base of nearly 400,000. The service area includes Birmingham, Bessemer, Fairfield, Homewood, Mountain Brook, Hoover, and Vestavia Hills. BJCTA carries out its commitment to air quality and pollution control by operating only CNG buses. On your way to work, school, shopping or just out for a little fun, "we'll get you there.""

Maybe they are just dial-a-ride in the areas you guys aren't seeing much presence from them. How far past Hoover would you suggest they be going in to Shelby County? Pelham? Helena? Alabaster?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2010, 02:19:31 PM by Tourian »
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Alex

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #37 on: July 14, 2010, 04:56:50 PM »

Sent to me from Carter (the video has the main news story):

Future I-422

Quote
More money, more jobs, less congestion. According to plans, that's what the construction of Interstate 422 will do.  The Northern Beltline will loop around Birmingham, not only reducing congestion, but also creating new jobs. Congressman Spencer Bachus says funding is there, all that's needed is the support of cities surrounding the project. I-422 should take around 20 years to complete. Once finished, Bachus believes it would generate 20,000 jobs a year.

codyg1985

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #38 on: July 15, 2010, 07:26:15 AM »

Sent to me from Carter (the video has the main news story):

Future I-422

Quote
More money, more jobs, less congestion. According to plans, that's what the construction of Interstate 422 will do.  The Northern Beltline will loop around Birmingham, not only reducing congestion, but also creating new jobs. Congressman Spencer Bachus says funding is there, all that's needed is the support of cities surrounding the project. I-422 should take around 20 years to complete. Once finished, Bachus believes it would generate 20,000 jobs a year.

It would be nice to see the study that says that it will create all of these jobs and see how they came up with those figures. I'm not skeptical that it won't create jobs, but keep in mind that I-459 went through valleys that had land to develop. I-422 will go through hilly terrain that has land that will be more difficult to develop.
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Cody Goodman
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #39 on: July 15, 2010, 07:35:02 AM »

I'm also a bit skeptical of the "less congestion" claim.  I don't think it'll draw enough through traffic to improve things at Malfunction Junction...
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Chris

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #40 on: July 15, 2010, 03:20:28 PM »

probably "less congestion than we otherwise would have in 2030", not necessarily less congestion than we have today.

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2010, 05:41:10 PM »

However, if enough development is induced by the road, then in some areas you WOULD have more congestion "than we otherwise would have in 2030"...
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Tourian

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2010, 06:52:13 PM »

It would be nice to see the study that says that it will create all of these jobs and see how they came up with those figures. I'm not skeptical that it won't create jobs, but keep in mind that I-459 went through valleys that had land to develop. I-422 will go through hilly terrain that has land that will be more difficult to develop.

Those studies cost money and they are paid for by people who want a positive outcome to what they want to do...so...
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Grzrd

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2010, 04:32:16 PM »

It would be nice to see the study that says that it will create all of these jobs and see how they came up with those figures. I'm not skeptical that it won't create jobs, but keep in mind that I-459 went through valleys that had land to develop. I-422 will go through hilly terrain that has land that will be more difficult to develop.
Those studies cost money and they are paid for by people who want a positive outcome to what they want to do...so...
Both of AL's gubernatorial candidates have paid recent lip service in support of Birmingham Northern Beltline/ I-422.  Here's a link to that report which touted the PROS of I-422:

http://www.cityofgardendale.com/NorthernBeltline_Final_Report.pdf

I don't know enough about Birmingham to argue about necessity of the project, but from a purely selfish perspective it would be nice to have the old Corridor X-1 idea of a northern bypass from I-20 outside of I-459 to
I-22.  I usually go to one Ole Miss football game per year.  I did manage to miss the Jax State and Vandy games ...

EDIT

As of this time last year, "Corridor X-1" extension of I-422 from I-459 to I-20 was still on books and eligible for ADHS funding: http://www.arc.gov/images/programs/transp/adhs_status_report_2009/ADHSFY2009StatusReportAlabama.pdf
I guess that since it is "on the books" as an ADHS corridor, it may stick around for a long time as a theoretical possibility.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 03:33:15 PM by Grzrd »
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Tourian

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2011, 10:22:26 AM »

Inflation has caused the price of the beltline to go up another billion which causes proponents to want to push the project ahead to keep costs from going up even more:

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/02/birminghams_northern_beltline.html
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codyg1985

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #45 on: February 24, 2011, 10:27:23 AM »

$90 million per mile? That sounds high to me, but maybe it's because of the mountainous and hilly terrain it goes through.
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Cody Goodman
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2011, 07:41:18 PM »

A lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Montgomery yesterday, alleging that ALDOT has not met all the necessary prerequisites for starting the project.  As of this moment, ALDOT plans to let the first section later this year:

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/04/black_warrior_riverkeeper_nort.html

Quote
Black Warrior Riverkeeper sued the Alabama Department of Transportation on Monday, charging the agency has failed to fully account for the environmental impacts of the planned 52-mile Northern Beltline and asking that work on the road be blocked.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, the lawsuit contends that ALDOT has violated the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires an up-to-date evaluation of environmental impacts and identification of the most cost-effective and least damaging alternatives for projects funded with federal money ...
ALDOT spokesman Tony Harris said, "ALDOT officials are just beginning to review the lawsuit, so it's still a bit early to respond with any comments." ...
ALDOT did perform an environmental assessment of the project in 1997, but the Riverkeeper group's suit contends the law requires re-evaluation when a project has been inactive for three years or more. Beyond that, the lawsuit claims that the initial assessment was incomplete and did not consider the indirect and cumulative effect the Northern Beltline would have on the environment.
Designs, costs and conditions have changed since 1997, the suit states. In the initial environmental impact study, the proposed road was a four-lane highway, but now the design calls for six lanes. In recent years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated streams downstream of the Northern Beltline's path as critical habitat for endangered species of fish ...
ALDOT has re-evaluated the environmental impact of one segment of the proposed road, a stretch between Alabama 79 and Alabama 75, which is slated to be the first segment built. That segment of approximately 3 miles is estimated to cost $63 million. ALDOT expects to take bids for its construction later this year ...
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 11:07:25 PM by Grzrd »
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Tourian

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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #47 on: April 15, 2011, 12:24:12 PM »

Just like that Zombie Road piece done by APT, I never see any pundits offer any sort of resolution, they just seem to want to block progress altogether. I hope the case gets thrown out quickly.
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #48 on: April 15, 2011, 02:58:48 PM »

I understand their point.  All this is really going to do is promote sprawl-type development.  If the goal is to improve traffic flow in the middle of town, they would do better by fixing Malfunction Junction.
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Re: Birmingham Northern Beltline (I-422, I-959)
« Reply #49 on: April 16, 2011, 11:38:31 AM »

I understand their point.  All this is really going to do is promote sprawl-type development.  If the goal is to improve traffic flow in the middle of town, they would do better by fixing Malfunction Junction.


I hear the anti sprawl thing thrown around a lot, but it just doesn't hold water to me. Most of it comes from Over The Mountain suburbanites that live in this town that already enjoy the benefits of "sprawl" development. So what if people north and north west of the city get an O'Charley's and a Best Buy somewhere down the line, that doesn't necessarily mean we will jump straight to unending sprawl because of this road's existence. It just seems so much like a "We got our's, we don't what you to get yours" sort of circular argument. A city this size that is a transportation hub that we are needs a complete bypass.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 11:40:45 AM by Tourian »
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