SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — 30 years ago, the area along Highway 280 in Shelby County looked very different.
“There was a business here and there but for the most part it was undeveloped woods,” explained Shelby County Commissioner Rick Shepherd, who represents the county’s 8th District.
Today, that’s not the case at all. Gone are the marshlands and wooded areas, and in their place are restaurants and shopping centers.
Local resident Michael Entrekin has lived on Highway 280 his entire life, and believes it is the place to be.
“The convenience of Highway 280 is definitely a positive,” said Entrekin. “There’s everything everywhere, everything is close by on 280.”
The Shelby County Chamber tells CBS 42 that within a three-mile radius of Inverness, there are 43,333 residents and 2,533 businesses. Since 2000, the area has experienced 44% growth.
When asked what he disliked about the area, Entrekin did not miss a beat.
“I would have to say the traffic,” said Entrekin.
It is true that Highway 280 has a reputation for its busyness. But Shepherd believes that all the traffic is really a boon.
“People love living here,” said Shepherd. “We open up all kinds of opportunity for businesses here because of the traffic.”
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, tens of thousands of drivers use Highway 280 every day. As an example, 75,670 people take the thoroughfare past Inverness on a daily basis.
But, the traffic flow goes beyond the highway.
18,000 drivers take Valleydale Rd. onto or off of Highway 280 each day. By the ensuing logical syllogism, that means that 18,000 people pass by the dozens of businesses located in that area each day as well, which includes Dreamland BBQ.
Per Jonathan Bird, the Director of Marketing at Dreamland BBQ, their 280 location opened two years ago, and the ample highway traffic has made a difference.
“There’s no shortage of visibility,” explained Bird. “You get a ton of people that drive by the restaurant every day whether they know we’re here or not. We definitely benefit from [the traffic].”
When Entrekin weighed the pros of living on Highway 280 (growth, entertainment options, livability, and things to do) against the cons (traffic and busyness), he concluded that he intends to stick around.
“I could see myself staying close by that’s for sure.,” said Entrekin. “Overall, I love this area.”
Shepherd tells CBS 42 that since Highway 280 runs through multiple municipalities such as Birmingham, Hoover, and Chelsea, the thoroughfare is helping the whole county grow — and he doesn’t see that growth slowing anytime soon.