Tuesday night was the first time in nearly 5 years ALDOT says the public was allowed input on the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project. The 2.1 billion dollar project is expected to begin in 2020 and is expected to open in 2025.
While most people agree it's needed, one of the more controversial topics concerning the bridge are tolls. Officials said tolls are inevitable to foot the big bill the bridge will come with.
As it stands ALDOT said tolls could range from $3 to $6. Officials said there will also be segmented tolling that will allow drivers to only pay for the portion of the bridge they use.
"Simply put, if we don't toll the project, there's no project," said Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project's Public Information Officer. "So if you just take the bayway, you will only pay for that segment."
Most residents we spoke to at Tuesday night's meeting agreed that the tolls just might be worth it.
"Let me put it this way, if I have to pay the tolls to go across, I'll pay the tolls. Do I wanna pay the tolls? No," said Donald Ouellette, who lives in Daphne.
Tuesday afternoon, ALDOT released new virtual renderings of the bridge and it's interchanges through Mobile. One major change is the bridge's height which officials said has been increased to 215 feet. They said it will be the largest cable stay bridge in North America.
"At this point everyone knows the need for the project to reduce congestion. To provide a direct route for our hazardous material and not to have any impact on the maritime industry," said Matt Ericksen, ALDOT Southwest Region Engineer.
If you missed Tuesday night's meeting in Spanish Fort, the next meeting will be in Mobile at the Mobile Civic Center on Thursday, May 9 from 4:30 to 8 pm.