Engineers say protecting the environment is a big concern in Nor

Engineers say protecting the environment is a big concern in Northern Beltline project

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Source: WBRC Source: WBRC
JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Thursday, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) provided an update on the early work on the first phase of the Northern Beltline.

"We really want to get out here and build a good road," Mike Mahaffey, a construction engineer with ALDOT said.

The first phase started Monday. It will cover 1.34 miles connecting US 75 to US 79. Wright Brothers Construction of Tennessee is doing the project. The cost is estimated to be about $46 million and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2016.

Bulldozers have been clearing away trees and Mahaffey said protecting the environment will be a major concern especially with Self Creek nearby.

"We got to move quite a bit of dirt. Build some culverts. Protect the environment. Move a mountain or two," Mahaffey said.

Mahaffey said their goal is to limit construction dirt running off into the waterways. People living in the area have mixed feelings about the beltline.

"I think it's going to disturb a lot of things in this area. Especially the wildlife things of that nature. I don't know why it's going to be good or even good for this area," Charles Boyles said.

A mobile home park used to be at the location where the work is starting. Jody Hathcock was relocated because of the beltline.

"They actually came in and moved us. They were fair with our situation. I know some people who were not treated so fairly," Hathcock said.

The entire Northern Beltline project will take more than 30 years, cover more than 50 miles and cost billions of dollars to construct. The roadway through the northern part of Jefferson County is expected to have a major economic impact on the area.

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