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The construction of a pedestrian bridge over Highway 280 may be one step closer to reality. The Mountain Brook City Council has approved a proposal that if finalized would create the Highway 280 Public Road Cooperative District with Homewood, Birmingham and Jefferson County.
A bridge would be added for cyclists, runners and walkers to the Hollywood Blvd. bridge in Mountain Brook. The additional bridge would be similar to the 21st Avenue pedestrian bridge that connects Vanderbilt’s University central campus to the historic Peabody College.
Costs and Funding
The cost to add the pre-fabricated eight foot bridge to this area would be over $1 million. The cities of Mountain Brook and Homewood have already committed $200,000 each to the project according to Mountain Brook City Council President Virginia Smith. There are also private businesses who are willing to back the project and hope to have the $1 million raised by the beginning of the Oct. 1 fiscal year.
The Trak Shak, the Birmingham Track Club and Hollywood Garden Club have committed $25,000 to the project. The City of Birmingham has not made a financial commitment to the project, but would have to approve the addition since the Union Hill Cemetery and Hollywood Boulevard strip mall where the bridge will be constructed are within Birmingham’s city limits.
Alabama Department of Transportation
According to Mountain Brook City Councilor Smith, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has stated that the Hollywood Boulevard bridge is one of the few bridges in the state that doesn’t need to be replaced and because it doesn’t need to be replaced ALDOT would be required to add the pedestrian bridge. ALDOT is not in charge of the project, but they do have to approve the bridge being added to the right-of-way according to reports.
Last summer, Bham Now reported that Homewood City Councilor Jennifer Andress’ platform for her 2016 bid for office was to fix the problem and add a pedestrian bridge that would make it safer for walkers, runners and cyclists who regularly use the road between the Hollywood neighborhood and Mountain Brook Village. ALDOT has estimated that 12,000 cars use the narrow-spaced bridge daily according to our story last year.
Adding the pedestrian bridge would make it safer for the many runners, walkers and cyclists who already use the Hollywood Boulevard bridge so the project already has vast support from runners groups. The secretary of the Birmingham Track Club told the Associated Press that the “Hollywood Boulevard is really a major thoroughfare both for runners in the area and certainly for drivers trying to get from one area of town to the other,” said Julie Pearce, Birmingham Track Club.
How You Can Help
If you would like to see the project become a reality, you can attend the Trak Shak and Birmingham Track Club Run Social on Sept. 29 which is a fundraiser for the Hollywood Bridge project.