"Bloody 98" to be replaced as extension project resumes - FOX10 News | WALA

"Bloody 98" to be replaced as extension project resumes

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U.S. 98 extension project (Photo: Kati Weis, FOX10 News) U.S. 98 extension project (Photo: Kati Weis, FOX10 News)

The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) is resuming construction on the US-98 and SR-158 extension projects in northwestern Mobile County. 

According to a press release from ALDOT officials, "the project scope will include adding an additional 1,400 linear feet of bridge on US-98 over Big Creek."

Environmental concerns have been evaluated, according to the release, "the bridge will be equipped with a runoff containment system and tall barrier rail for water quality and watershed protection purposes."

The release explained the first phase of this project will cost $5.5 million. Tanner Inc. from Laurel, Miss., won the bid for phase one, and this portion of the extension project should be completed by fall 2018. 

According to ALDOT's website, this is the first of seven phases of the overall extension from Schillinger Road to the Mississippi state line. The second phase will begin in 2018. 

The entire project is scheduled to be complete by 2023, according to the release.

Currently, there is a long stretch of unfinished road parallel to US-98 in Wilmer, which, by 2023, will be the new US-98. 

ALDOT plans to connect that four-lane stretch to SR-158, and connect it all the way to the state line, ultimately replacing the currently standing "bloody 98," as its nicknamed, due to the high amount of fatal accidents on the highway each year. 

FOX10 News tallied data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which shows 23 people were killed between 2010 and 2015 on US-98. 

In 2010, construction on the extension project halted, due to design flaws and a lawsuit, as well as a lack of funding, leaving the long stretch of a road to nowhere sitting idle, until now. 

The total cost for the project is $115 million, and it will be paid through BP settlement money, state, and federal funds. 

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