Coosa River Express, designed to connect, creates divide amongst Shelby County residents

Local News

SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Coosa River Express, a toll bridge designed to connect two counties in Alabama has instead divided residents in Shelby County.

The proposed bridge would connect Hwy 280 in Sylacauga to I-65 in Calera. The Shelby County Commission gave residents the opportunity to submit feedback on the project.

Those opposed to the bridge are concerned about the environmental impacts it could have on the Coosa River.

“In the short term, it limits the ability for people to recreate in the water, long term, it will just spread the PCB’s around more so than they already are,” Coosa Riverkeeper Steven Dudley said.

Residents that are excited about this project say it could mean more jobs and business for south Shelby County.

“We’re already seeing the growth. So why not go ahead and put the bridge in to make things more accessible for us,” Shelby County resident Monica Clayton said.

Some of the most outspoken opposition has come from people who live close to where the bridge would be built. They don’t want the noise and traffic this could bring to their quiet neighborhoods.

Tim James, the man behind the project says this bridge would cost commuters $4 roundtrip. It would cut commutes short by 12 minutes and some residents say that could save a life.

“Shelby Brookwood Baptist Medical Center and Coosa Valley Medical Center share patient populations,” resident Glenn Sisk said. “They have physicians that have gone to both facilities. Those 12 minutes, in some cases, can be life or death.”

County Commissioners say it could be another two months before we see a vote on the Coosa River Express.


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