GULF SHORES — The city of Gulf Shores is seeking a $60 million grant to finance the new bridge planned to cross the Intracoastal Waterway.The Alabama Department of Transportation plans to open …
GULF SHORES — The city of Gulf Shores is seeking a $60 million grant to finance the new bridge planned to cross the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Alabama Department of Transportation plans to open bids on a third bridge over the waterway on Sept. 30, according to an ALDOT spokesman.
Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said the city grant could help pay for the bridge.
"We have been considering applying for a grant to help fund that bridge at a timeframe we thought we might could do it," Craft said. "So, we are eligible for a bridge investment program that we, in discussion with ALDOT, are going to apply for to assist them in the funding of this."
Dan Bond, environmental grants coordinator, said the resolution scheduled to be voted on by the Gulf Shores City Council on Monday, Sept. 12, would authorize city staff members to work with ALDOT to pursue the grant opportunity through the Federal Highway Administration. If approved, the $60 million would help for the construction of the new ICW bridge and infrastructure.
The grant would be part of the U.S. Department of Transportation Bridge Investment Program for projects less than $100 million. The program is part of the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure law that was passed by Congress last year, Bond said.
The project includes the new bridge as well as road connections from the site north to Cotton Creek Drive.
Bond said ALDOT has completed much of the preliminary work on the project including acquiring rights of way, environmental permitting and preliminary engineering. The new funding would help pay for the completion of the final engineering and building the new bridge as well as the connecting road to Cotton Creek Drive.
Craft said the city and state are working together on the project. He said Gulf Shores could be eligible for grant funding that the state cannot receive. The state, however, has completed much of the initial work needed for the project to be considered for the grant.
"We've been aware of this for quite some time so we've been working on all the things we can do to be prepared for this opportunity if it were to come to pass," Craft said. "ALDOT will have to participate with us because this is a shovel-ready requirement to have on the ground."
"This is a really important move for this city and for this island in our opinion," he added.
The bridge would be the third route over the Intracoastal Waterway. Alabama 59 crosses the waterway over the Dr. W.C. Holmes Bridge, which opened in 1971. The Holmes bridge carries more than 10 million vehicles a year, according to ALDOT reports.
The Baldwin Beach Express ends at a toll bridge in Orange Beach.