Local and visiting commuters to Mobile received welcome news on July 25 when the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $125 million grant to the city through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program.
The grant will be used to construct a six-lane cable-stayed bridge that will have more than 215 feet of vertical clearance to carry I-10 across the Mobile River channel. The project also includes replacing the existing I-10 Bayway Bridges, reconstructing multiple interchanges along I-10 and installing ITS and tolling systems.
The $2 billion project is being funded through a public-private partnership, with 26 percent of funding coming from the public through the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and the federal Department of Transportation, 22 percent from private equity, 33 percent from federal loans and 18 percent from private equity bonds. ALDOT had failed to win a $250 million federal grant in 2018, so this latest grant award is welcome news.
INFRA advances a grant program established in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act and utilizes updated criteria for evaluating projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals. The program increases the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships.
Additionally, the new program promotes the incorporation of innovative technology that will improve the nation’s transportation system.
This particular project will have multiple phases, the first of which is the Mobile River Bridge. The second element is the Bayway Bridges and the interchange modifications. Once open, drivers using the new toll bridge will pay tolls electronically through transponders. For those who don’t have a transponder, a photo will be taken of the license plate and a bill sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.
The bridge could be open by 2023. For more information on the bridge project, click on this link to the September 2018 issue of Business Alabama.