280 changes stir controversy in Mountain Brook


There's a call for the state to do a "u-turn" on its plans for Highway 280. It's the most hated highway in the metro, but a new plan to fix the problems is getting a "red light" from the public. There's a lot of opposition to this plan primarily because it makes some areas a little more difficult to get to. Several left turns will be eliminated meaning drivers will now have to make u-turns. So far, many residents and the state seem to disagree on whether that's a good idea. It's the road that hosts 60-80,000 cars a day and it's never without a little controversy or sometimes - a lot. Hundreds packed the Mountain Brook Junior High auditorium for a public work session with the state D.O.T. The City Council President says the main concerns are with a plan to eliminate the left turn onto Cherokee Road and the left turn into the Wendy's and Hampton Inn shopping center. {}"It's a big residential area of ours," Virginia Smith, President, Mountain Brook City Council said. "The only real access to the rest of Mountain Brook - schools, churches and even downtown is by access to 280."Ann Sanders owns the {}shopping center where traffic engineers plan to eliminate the left turn. She thinks it will kill business there."We think that removing our traffic light will not only hurt our business, hurt our patrons, but endanger the commuters on Highway 280," Sanders said.ALDOT says this project spans 27 intersections, five municipalities, and 9 miles of 280 and the focus must be on overall safety and time improvements."It's going to be a lot more time consuming and difficult for me," One resident said.State traffic engineers say these proposals are safe and after intense testing they're ready to move forward."There's nothing unsafe about someone weaving into traffic and making a u turn in the Birmingham area," ALDOT Traffic Engineer said. "It's not something that is brand new. You merge and weave every day when you travel."ALDOT says the traffic flow changes will be in place around this November.