North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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April 21, 2014

Bentley, local officials hold groundbreaking ceremony for Northern Beltline



Construction began in February, by Wright Brothers Construction Co., of Charleston, Tenn.

A Birmingham Business Alliance spokesman said the project is expected to have a $7 billion impact; the overall projected cost of the project is $5.4 billion.

The beltline is 100-percent federally funded, according to the Birmingham Business Alliance.

Opposition from environmentalists

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the new highway, however.

The Southern Environmental Law Center has filed two federal lawsuits on behalf of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, mostly for environmental reasons.

According to the 2011 suit, agencies affiliated with the project “failed to provide a necessary analysis of alternative transportation investments as required by law, and to justify the environmental impacts and tremendous cost of the Beltline,” according to a press release issued just prior to Monday’s ceremony.

A 2013 suit challenges “a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Northern Beltline’s phase of construction, charging improper segmentation of the project and failure to follow the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act,” the statement said.

Neither of the cases has been decided. 

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