Homes in Path of Corridor X Demolished Near Birmingham

Mon July 07, 2003 - Southeast Edition

BIRMINGHAM, AL (AP) Twenty-two structures in a neighborhood sitting in the path of Corridor X will be sold by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

Contractors are demolishing some homes and moving others from North Smithfield Manor as work continues on the $714 million highway linking Birmingham to Memphis.

Since January, moving vans have come and gone. Empty houses, some three or four in a row, now sit beside Lois Street and Belmore Lane.

It’s a large, quiet neighborhood about 25 years old and only eight homes on Lois Street will survive the highway construction.

Residents say they have known for years that some homes would be lost. But it was only three years ago that they found out for sure which homes would be taken.

The Rev. John E. King and wife Elaine lived at the end of the Lois Street cul-de-sac about 20 years.

In February, they moved to nearby Hoover.

"We feel like the state did treat us right,’" she said. "There was no pressure from them."

The state pays the appraised value of the houses and finds equivalent replacement homes for residents it displaces by highway construction. The state provides transportation for the elderly and handicapped to look for new homes and the state pays moving expenses.

The corridor is set for completion in 2006, with 94 mi. (151.3 km) of it crossing Alabama.

The North Smithfield Manor subdivision in Jefferson County is bordered by Fultondale and Birmingham.

J. F. Horsley, Birmingham division engineer for DOT, said he expects house-movers will be bidding on the structures. If the houses are not in good shape, he said, they will be demolished.

Contractors have not been chosen for a 3-mi. (4.8 km) stretch of the corridor in the city of Birmingham or for the corridor’s interchange with Interstate 65. The rest of the highway is under contract or construction.

The section taking part of North Smithfield Manor will be the most costly one in state history. It’s estimated to cost $100 million and will be cut 100 ft. (30.5 m) into the hillside to go under the interstate.

Additional lanes will be added to I-65 from the interchange to the junction of I-65 and I-20/59.