Sneak peek film screening this Thursday Aug. 2 on how to protect the Cahaba River. Find out why it needs your help now more than ever.

Birmingham, Alabama, Cahaba River Society
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Birmingham, Alabama, Cahaba River Society
The historic bridge over the pristine Little Cahaba River has been closed for 25 years. The proposed new road and bridge would introduce traffic and pollution. Photo submitted

This Thursday, Aug. 2, at 6 p.m., the Cahaba River Society hosts a free documentary showing (it’s short!) and Q&A at Avondale Brewery in Birmingham. This sneak peek screening is intended to raise public awareness about the potential impact of a proposed Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project. Get educated, then let ALDOT hear your voice at the public meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 7. Keep reading to learn more, or visit savethecahaba.org.

The Little Cahaba River is a source of biodiversity, recreation and something even more vital—our drinking water. Our public dollars have already protected the surrounding watershed, yet the proposed Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project puts it at risk. Here’s what you can do to help.

Birmingham, Alabama, Cahaba River Society, Cahaba Beach Road extension
The land along this remote dirt road serves as a watershed for the Little Cahaba River. Photo submitted
Watch The Film

Southern Exposure Cahaba Beach Road Film Screening and Q&A
Thursday, Aug. 2, at 6 p.m., upstairs at Avondale Brewery. Free.

Get Involved

ALDOT Public Involvement Meeting regarding proposed Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project
Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Liberty Park Middle School (17035 Liberty Pkwy, 35242)

ALDOT is holding a public meeting because it wants your input, Birmingham. Embrace the opportunity to join the conversation. And remember, your written comments are what count on the official public record.

Birmingham, Alabama, Cahaba River Society, Cahaba Beach Road extension
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The Proposal

The Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project would create a new cut-through from Highway 280 to Sicard Hollow Road, the Liberty Park area and eventually to I-459.

In the process, it would cut a swath through forested lands surrounding the Little Cahaba River and pave the way for further development of the watershed.

ALDOT is studying five alternatives for the project. One of them is “no build,” which is the only option the Cahaba River Society supports.

The Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project is the first project the Cahaba River Society has opposed in 15 years.

The Cahaba River Society supports healthy growth in communities around the river and collaborates with developers and state, county and city officials. Serving as an expert resource, it advises on development best practices in order to protect the Cahaba River and our drinking water as our communities grow.

A track record like that means that when the Cahaba River Society raises a concern, it’s time to listen.

The Film
Birmingham, Alabama, Cahaba River Society, Cahaba Beach Road extension
Filmmaker David Diaz. Photo via southernexposurefilms.org

Southern Exposure is a film fellowship program sponsored by the Alabama Rivers Alliance. Films produced by Southern Exposure fellows raise awareness about Alabama’s incredible natural resources and important environmental issues that impact all of us.

Catch a sneak peek screening of Southern Exposure fellow David Diaz’ short documentary, featuring the Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project, upstairs at Avondale Brewery on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Diaz’ film features appearances by Cahaba River Society and Cahaba Riverkeeper staff, Birmingham-area residents and City Council Representative Hunter Williams.

Birmingham, Alabama, Cahaba River Society, Cahaba Beach Road extension
Do we really want to go down this long and winding road? Photo submitted
The Concerns

The new road puts at risk the pristine Little Cahaba River, which helps keep Birmingham metro’s drinking water clean as it flows from Lake Purdy to Cahaba River intakes.

The Cahaba River Society, Southern Environmental Law Center, Cahaba Riverkeeper and area residents are working jointly to oppose the road. The following are their concerns:

  1. The new road will not reduce traffic problems on Highway 280 and will increase traffic problems in other areas.
  2. Runoff pollution would increase during storms.
  3. Our water supply could decrease during drought and dry weather, leading to more surcharges and restrictions.
  4. The cost to treat and supply drinking water could go up.
  5. Taxpayers would pay for the road, estimated to cost $10 to $20 million and probably more.

Much of the land is owned by the Birmingham Water Works, bought with funds collected from our monthly water bills to protect drinking water. Learn more at savethecahaba.org.

The Goal At The Public Meeting

A strong showing of public opposition to the Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project will better the chances that ALDOT’s preliminary study will either recommend against the project or conclude an in-depth Environmental Impact Statement is required.

Mark your calendar: The ALDOT Public Involvement Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Liberty Park Middle School (17035 Liberty Pkwy, 35242).

In Writing, Please

Voicing your concerns about the Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project in writing is essential because only written comments become part of the official public record. The Cahaba River Society, Southern Environmental Law Center and Cahaba Riverkeeper encourage you to join in recommending the “no build” alternative.

Written comments for the official public record will be accepted through August 22.

Send your comments:

  • Attention: Mrs. Sandra F.P. Bonner and Mr. DeJarvis Leonard, P.E. Region Engineer
  • Email: bonners@dot.state.al.us
  • Mailing address: Alabama Department of Transportation – East Central Region, PO Box 2745, Birmingham, AL 35202-2745

Learn more about the Cahaba Beach Road and bridge project and its potential impact on your drinking water at savethecahaba.org.

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