A spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Transportation has now issued a statement in reaction to the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization officially endorsing a new bridge project to connect Mobile and Baldwin Counties.

Tony Harris said, "The Department of Transportation was unaware that the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization would introduce a resolution today regarding the Mobile River Bridge.

We plan to comment further after a thorough review of the resolution."

The move came at a planning organization meeting Wednesday morning in Daphne.

This proposal, for now, is called the Mobile River Bridge and Expressway Concept.

It would have four lanes and two travel lanes in each direction from I-10 and the Virginia Street exit to Daphne.

The estimated cost would be $1.2 billion.

But the big question for many people: will it have tolls?

MPO Chairman Dane Haygood said, "We're hopeful it can be done without a toll."

Haygood said this is an expressway plan and that "we were approached with an option that said, we believe that an expressway can be built without a toll, alright, and, so, you certainly want to give those individuals and those ideas an opportunity to be explored."

Haygood did not mention who approached planning officials with the option.

He said, next, its important to reach a consensus with the Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, in Mobile before state transportation officials agree to sponsor a project.

Haygood said, "I think we've got to come together in coastal Alabama, Mobile and Baldwin Counties, the two MPO's, and agree and, once we do that, I think we can have a chance of success with Montgomery."

Some people at the meeting had comments and questions about the proposal.

State Auditor Jim Zeigler said, "A $1.2 billion dollar bridge plan is light years better than the plan a original."

Lou Campomenosi said, "What we've done is we've accepted Governor Ivey's challenge for the locals to do the work that Montgomery should have done to begin with."

Another man asked, "Are bicycle lanes and pedestrian lanes still included in bridge construction? If yes, how much does that add to the total cost?"

Mobile's Metropolitan Planning Organization heard a presentation on the plan Wednesday morning at its meeting but didn't take a vote.

EARLIER STORY:  The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization on Wednesday morning voted to put the Mobile River Bridge project back into its long-range plan.

The body is now discussing the plan itself.

The same group last August voted to remove the project from its Transportation Improvement Plan, or TIP -- a move that effectively stopped the effort from going forward as controversy raged over proposed tolls.

FOX10 News is at the meeting and will bring you more on this developing story.

All content © 2020, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  

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