Connecting communities: Highway 280 Homewood-Mountain Brook bridge

Homewood Alabama
Homewood Alabama
Ward 5 Homewood City Council member Jennifer Andress – Photo by Pat Byington

If you are a runner or cyclist, there is one overpass in the Magic City where you literally fear for your life.

It’s the Highway 280 overpass bridge between the Hollywood neighborhood of Homewood and Mountain Brook Village.

Located between one of the quirkiest off and on ramps on Hwy 280, the busy overpass bridge is sandwiched between  neighborhoods, a cemetary, restaurants (Mexico Lindo & Over Easy), a bank, an Express Oil station and three municipalities, Homewood, Birmingham and Mountain Brook.

According to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), more than 12,000 cars and trucks used the narrow congested overpass bridge  daily in 2015.

Dangerous for Cyclists and Runners
Homewood Alabama
Picture of the Hwy 280 overpass bridge between Mountain Brook and Homewood. Note how the car passing the cyclist having to move across the center line to safely pass – photo by Pat Byington

As far back as 2012, then Birmingham Track Club (BTC) President Jennifer Andress described the dangers running across the overpass in a letter to the membership .

From the September 2012 newsletter:

“I was contacted by neighbors, and by State Representative from Homewood and Hoover Paul DeMarco, about the issue of a pedestrian bridge being considered over Highway 280 at Hollywood Boulevard, connecting Homewood to Mt. Brook. BTC runners will immediately recognize that bridge as “Starbucks Hill” or “the hill on Hollywood”. This is the bridge we cross frequently, taking our lives in our hands as we cross it and pray that a car or a strong gust of wind does not knock us over onto Highway 280 far below.”

Four years later, in 2016, Andress was elected to the Homewood City Council. Fixing the overpass was in her platform.  After years of fits and starts as a private citizen and now as a member of the council, the community has secured a APPLE (Advanced Planning, Programming and Logical Engineering) grant from the state to conduct an engineering and feasibility study to improve both vehicle and pedestrian use of the bridge. The study is being conducted by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.

“The overpass from Hollywood Boulevard to Mountain Brook Village is woefully designed and inadequate.  It’s a natural connector to the whole region between our three cities,” stated Andress in an interview with Bham Now.

“Point is, we want people on their feet and their two wheels.  People want to be moving,” she concluded.

And through cooperation from the cities, state and local residents Homewood, Birmingham and Mountain Brook will be solving a major traffic problem.  More importantly, they will be connecting their communities and making them safer and better.

Stay tuned to Bham Now for updates.

 

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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