By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, July 22 Congressman Bradley Byrne (R) released a written statement to applaud the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the I-10 Mobile River bridge project.
Congressman Byrne said in a written statement, “I am thrilled to report that the long awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed I-10 Mobile River Bridge has been signed by the Federal Highway Administration.”
Rep. Byrne said, “This step has been almost ten years in the making, and it represents a significant breakthrough in the process of getting a bridge built. I appreciate the efforts of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Mike Lee, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Governor Bentley, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and all of those involved in helping us move this process forward.”
The first term Congressman said, “As both sides of Mobile Bay continue to grow and new businesses relocate to our community, it is critical that the I-10 system is capable of handling the increased amount of traffic back and forth across the bay. This stretch of the I-10 highway is the number one ‘choke point’ from coast to coast.”
Rep. Byrne said, “With the draft environmental impact statement complete, I know other challenges await, but I am hopeful that the process will continue to move forward in an expeditious manner. I’ll continue to be a positive, proactive voice bringing our community together in pursuit of this common goal that we share.”
Since being elected Congressman Byrne has decried the continued delays in releasing the EIS and urged the Federal Highway Administration to stop delaying so the process could move forward. With the draft EIS signed, the process now can move forward. Now that the EIS is complete there will be a period for public comment and a public meeting period. All individuals in the community on both sides of the issue can weigh in on prospective bridge decisions and components. Rep. Byrne’s office said that there will then be a “final record” process in which all information gained during the comment period will be accessed and incorporated into the design plans.
Citizens who want to view the draft EIS can find copies available at: the Alabama Department of Transportation – Mobile Office, the Ben May Main Library (downtown Mobile), the Mobile MPO, the offices of the City of Mobile, the offices of Mobile County, the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Street Community Center, the Spanish Fort City Hall, the Daphne City Hall, the Fairhope City Hall, and at the Baldwin County Fairhope Satellite Courthouse Commission Office.
The Facebook group Build the I-10 Bridge said, “Many have asked for a map with the bridge routes being considered. Here it is! B’ (prime) is the preferred route and begins around Virginia Street and ends on the bayway (near the AIDT Training Center). The bridge is expected to be 6 lanes (3 in each direction) and the bayway will be expanded to 8 total lanes.” It has been estimated that the construction and engineering process could take six to eight years once the project is green lighted.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.