$725M River Truck Bridge expansion in the works for Mobile

Mobile River Truck Bridge
A rendering of the Mobile River Truck Bridge. Photo via Mobile River Truck Bridge

How would you like to avoid 18-wheelers on your next drive to Mobile? With the now-revived Mobile River Truck Bridge plan, you might be able to make it to a coastal Alabama beach getaway with less traffic and fewer big-rigs.

Causeway? Bayway?

Currently, to get into the city of Mobile, you need to cross either the Bayway or the Causeway–two long stretches of road that connect Daphne to downtown Mobile.

Both roads are major passageways for those who both live and work in Mobile–and anyone trying to pass through. Basically, the chances of you being in standstill traffic on either road is pretty high.

Much of the traffic issue is due, not necessarily to these roads themselves, but to the tunnels that both roads feed into. For example, George Wallace tunnel is currently running at over 250% capacity per day–around 75,000 vehicles passing through the tunnel meant to hold only 30,000 vehicles in a day.

Re-routing coastal traffic

This is not the first time that a plan to alleviate traffic on I-10 into Mobile has been proposed by city officials.

Previously touted as a “top priority” for boosting the coastal Alabama economy, the multi-million dollar expansion planned for the Mobile Bayway found itself cut by Governor Kay Ivery in early 2020.

The previous plan was dead on arrival mainly due to the existing infrastructure and securing funding. According to the previous plan, a new toll-bridge would replace the Bayway, costing around $12 for all who use it round-trip.

Use it or lose it

Mobile River Truck Bridge
Photo inside the Bankhead Tunnel. Photo via Mobile River Truck Bridge

Now, a bit over a year later, pressure is on the city to use the $125 million in federal infrastructure granted for the project, or lose it. The rest of the money for the $725 million dollar project is coming from the state and ALDOT loans.

On March 22nd, city officials announced that the plan had been re-worked and revived. The plan calls for a four-lane toll road exclusively for larger trucks to be built alongside the existing Bayway and Causeway, allowing for further environmental impact studies before demolition of either structure.

The new structure will route trucks away from the tunnels, hopefully clearing up the daily congestion.

Current Proposition

Plans
Map showing how the new roadways would impact existing traffic. Photo via Mobile River Truck Bridge

One of the main goals in mind was to keep these major roads toll-free for residents who may live on one side of the Mobile Bay ad work on the other.

The current plan is to restrict the toll-road to large trucks, not allowing them to pass through either tunnel into Downtown Mobile. There will also be an extra lane added to the Bayway via re-striping that will be reserved for trucks.

The goal is to alleviate a majority of the bottlenecking that occurs around either tunnel, while keeping current routes toll-free for residents.

For Mobilians, this would mean no more large-trucks allowed in either tunnel, and no toll. Larger vehicles would simply take an express-lane with a toll attached. This would alleviate a lot of traffic, since most trucks are heading downtown to various drop-off or pick-up locations down by the Ports.

As with all developing stories, @TheBamaBuzz is committed to staying on top of any Mobile River Bridge updates. Tune in for more as the story develops.


Let us know what you think of the potential traffic changes @TheBamaBuzz!

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Liv George
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