The Eastern Shore and Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organizations announced yesterday that The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is moving forward with the the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project, prior to knowing the results of outstanding applications for federal Mega Grant and Bridge Investment Program funding.
A news release states that ALDOT will continue to pursue funding opportunities with the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) but will not delay moving forward pending future grant awards.
“This is fantastic news,” said Eastern Shore MPO chair and Fairhope City Council member Jack Burrell for the news release. “We are closer than ever before to the new bridge and Bayway that South Alabama desperately needs. This news, combined with the good progress in selecting the teams that will design and build the project, should be music to the ears of the thousands of drivers who are tired of sitting on the Bayway or in the tunnels.”
“Today’s announcement is a clear signal that the State of Alabama is serious about building this bridge,” said Mobile MPO chair and Mayor of Mobile Sandy Stimpson for the release. “Ultimately, we are further along in this process than at any point before and have a clear path toward solving the worst bottleneck on the I-10 corridor.”
According to ALDOT, the design-build teams who have registered for the project will submit their statements of qualification by Dec. 21, a key milestone in the project’s early phases.
Plan details include:
- A comprehensive plan with a new Mobile River Bridge and a new Bayway that meets capacity and safety needs and can be built in five years
- Free, no-toll routes on the Causeway, Wallace Tunnel, Bankhead Tunnel, and Africatown Bridge
- Toll options of $2.50 or less for passenger vehicles, and $18.00 or less for trucks
- An unlimited use option for $40 per month, which is under $1 per trip for daily commuters between Mobile and Baldwin Counties
- Toll revenue to be used only to pay down project debt, with tolling to end once the debt is paid off
- All infrastructure to be owned and operated by the State of Alabama, with no private concessionaire
- A contribution of at least $250 million in State funding, in addition to $125 million in federal funding through an INFRA Grant