Mobile Bay bridge plan on track for construction in 2023

State ownership, lower tolls, free alternatives lead to local government thumbs up on plan

The proposed bridge would have a similar appearance to the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge, which crosses the Mobile River north of downtown Mobile. The proposed new bridge would cross in the heart of downtown.

Plans are back on track for a new bridge to carry Interstate 10 traffic over Mobile Bay.

Local officials in Mobile and Baldwin counties announced at the weekend that they support a new proposal from the Alabama Department of Transportation, which could begin construction as early as 2023 and be complete by 2028.

The proposal calls for a six-lane, cable-stayed bridge over the Mobile River, rising to provide 215 feet of clearance to accommodate shipping.

The current tunnel system and bayway were designed for 35,000 vehicles a day. Peak traffic days now, however, often see 100,000 vehicles — leading to lengthy delays.

During construction — which is estimated to cost $2.7 billion — current routes would remain open.

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The bridge would carry a toll — $2.50 for cars and up to $18 for trucks; less for frequent commuters — which would help defer construction costs. Alternate routes through the Wallace and Bankhead tunnels, the Causeway and across the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge, would be toll free.

ALDOT hopes to receive $250 million in state funding and more than $2 billion in federal grants and loans.

Plans call for the state to own the bridge with no private concessionaire.

“Moving forward with this plan is a milestone in the history of Mobile and South Alabama,” said Mobile MPO Chair and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “This bridge is a key component to Mobile’s future growth — it connects workers to jobs and businesses to new customers. Building this bridge will be a cornerstone of Mobile’s future success.”

Both the Mobile and Baldwin counties planning organizations plan hearings and a vote on the plan this summer. Both groups raised objections to an earlier ALDOT proposal, but both said this new plan addresses their concerns.

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