This weekend, the Chairs of the Eastern Shore and Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) announced a plan to build a new Mobile River Bridge and Bayway that will carry Interstate 10 traffic over Mobile Bay.
According to a report from the Alabama Department of Transportation to the Eastern Shore & Mobile MPOs, the $2.7 billion proposal calls for a six-lane, cable-stayed bridge over the Mobile River, rising to provide 215 feet of clearance to accommodate shipping.
The new Bayway will replace the existing four-lane I-10 Bayway bridges across the Mobile Bay with new bridges that will meet capacity needs and modern safety and design standards. It will run approximately 7.4 miles, from the high-level approach spans to the US 90/98 Eastern Shore interchange in Daphne and will be approximately 12 feet higher than the current Bayway to meet Federal storm surge requirements.
The Case for a New Bridge and Bayway
Citing the traffic congestion and inability to expand, local officials from Mobile and Baldwin counties, including Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, agreed to the plan.
Presently, the current system of bridges and tunnels that cross Mobile Bay and the Mobile River cause severe traffic congestion. The current Interstate 10 route through the Wallace Tunnel and the Bayway was designed to carry 35,000 cars and trucks each day; there are now nearly 100,000 cars and trucks crossing that route on peak days.
Construction of the bridge and bayway will increase road capacity, reduce congestion, increase road safety, and improve hurricane evacuation.
Over the last few years, there has been a lot of concern about how to pay for the project and costs of the tolls. The MPO’s announced the following rates:
- $2.50 for cars
- Up to $18 for trucks
- $40 monthly fees for frequent users
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.
Timeline – Launch and Completion Date
From the report — following MPO approval of this plan, ALDOT will move forward with the RFQ/RFP, bidding, and obligating process for construction. ALDOT will also hold additional public meetings and finalize requisite modeling and environmental documents needed for federal and state regulations.
Construction would begin in late 2023 and be complete by 2028.What do you think of this new bridge and bayway plan? Do you approve or disapprove? Let us know, by tagging us on social media at @thebamabuzz
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