The Eastern Shore and Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) Wednesday unanimously voted to advance to the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project by including it in their Transportation Improvement Plans (TIPs).
These TIP votes are the most significant steps to date in a new effort to move forward with a the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway, which began in earnest in December 2021. In December, the Eastern Shore and Mobile MPOs unanimously agreed on a new, locally driven framework that they would support for this project. Following the release of that framework, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) worked to put together a plan that met the criteria spelled out by the local officials on the MPOs.
Wednesday’s vote marks the adoption of that framework into a formal plan forward, allows for the use of $125 million in federal INFRA grant funds, and better positions the project to receive additional federal support.
“Today’s vote was a landmark moment for Baldwin County,” said Eastern Shore MPO Chairman and Fairhope City Councilmember Jack Burrell on Wednesday. “The Eastern Shore has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades, and our infrastructure has not kept pace. Today’s vote paves the way for providing the traffic relief we need in a way that makes sense for Baldwin County drivers. As we move forward, the Eastern Shore MPO will continue our oversight of the project and our advocacy for the federal dollars this project deserves.”
“This is a key project that both brings our region closer together and brings us closer to opportunities around the world. I’m proud of the constructive, cooperative way that the Mobile and Eastern Shore MPOs are working toward this shared vision,” said Mobile MPO Chairman and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “Putting the project on the two MPO TIPs makes it available for additional federal funding and puts our $125 million INFRA grant to use. Today’s vote keeps this project moving forward in that same spirit of cooperation, and ensures this critical project is back on track.”
Plan details include:
- A comprehensive plan with a new Mobile River Bridge and a new Bayway that meets capacity and safety needs and can be built in five years
- Free, no-toll routes on the Causeway, Wallace Tunnel, Bankhead Tunnel, and Africatown Bridge
- Toll options of $2.50 for passenger vehicles, and $18.00 for trucks
- An unlimited use option for $40 per month, which is under $1 per trip for daily commuters between Mobile and Baldwin Counties
- Toll revenue to be used only to pay down project debt, with tolling to end once the debt is paid off
- All infrastructure to be owned and operated by the State of Alabama, with no private concessionaire
- A contribution of at least $250 million in State funding, in addition to $125 million in federal funding through an INFRA Grant
MPO oversight of the plan will continue as pre-construction and construction moves forward. Additional public hearings related to the Environmental Impact Study will be held after it is updated.
Pending finalized funding, construction of the new Mobile River Bridge and Bayway would begin in late 2023, and be complete by 2028.