Eastern Shore MPO approves Mobile River bridge plan

By GUY BUSBY
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 7/29/22

DAPHNE — Plans for a new Interstate 10 bridge over the Mobile River and improved Bayway will move forward following votes by the two metropolitan planning organizations Wednesday, July 27.The …

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Eastern Shore MPO approves Mobile River bridge plan

Posted

DAPHNE — Plans for a new Interstate 10 bridge over the Mobile River and improved Bayway will move forward following votes by the two metropolitan planning organizations Wednesday, July 27.

The Eastern Shore MPO and Mobile MPO voted to add the $2.7-billion project to the Transportation Improvement Plan. The votes make the project eligible for federal funding.

The Eastern Shore MPO voted unanimously to approve the plan.

Fairhope City Councilman Jack Burrell, chairman of the Eastern Shore MPO, said the vote was the most significant step to date to move forward with the bridge and Bayway.

"It's no exaggeration to say that this day is a long time coming and is in many ways the result of years of work and public advocacy and engagement on this process," Burrell said. "It is safe to say that this integration of the Mobile River Bridge and highway project crafted with local inputs to meet our local needs is a significant step of the Eastern Shore for all South Alabama. The Eastern Shore has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades. And quite frankly our infrastructure has not yet kept pace."

Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan said the vote will allow the project to move forward.

"This is a project that's got to go forward. It is behind time," McMillan said. "We can't continue to sit here with our heads in the sand and do nothing. It's time to move this forward and this will allow this to happen."

Construction on the project is scheduled to take about five years. The bridge and Bayway will include a toll to pay some of the costs of the project.

The toll for a passenger vehicle is expected to be $2.50 for one trip if the vehicle has an ALGO pass. The pass includes a transponder that allows transportation officials to monitor vehicles using the highway, Burrell said.

A pass can also be purchased that would allow unlimited trips for $40 a month.

Vehicles without an ALGO pass will be charged a higher rate. The charge for passenger vehicles will be the ALDO rate plus $1.50 for each axle.

The Causeway, Wallace Tunnel, Bankhead Tunnel and Africatown Bridge will not be tolled under the plan approved Wednesday.

Concerns over tolls caused the Eastern Shore MPO to remove a previous bridge project from the TIP. In 2019, ALDOT officials said tolls in that plan could be as high as $6 for each trip.

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