MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – FOX10 News is taking a look at how the toll for the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project could affect those who live near the free ways across Mobile Bay.
Africatown is probably going to be hit the hardest by this project because the toll is going to send a lot of people to the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge to save some cash.
Bay Bridge Road is currently the road less traveled, but those who live nearby say the word "dangerous" does not cut it.
“It's a bad intersection, very very bad,” said Timothy Andrews, who lives in Africatown. “A lot of traffic more than I ever saw in my life and I’ve been here for years.”
Andrews lives at the intersection of Bay Bridge and Papermill roads which is just a few hundred yards from the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge.
“I've had 18 wheelers turn over here before, I’ve had wrecks coming off that bridge, people being in a hurry trying to get somewhere,” Andrews said. “It's going to be a mad house.”
According to ALDOT, the number of vehicles using the Cochrane Bridge is expected to increase dramatically once the tolled Mobile River Bridge and Bayway opens in 2025. Projections expect roughly 19,000 vehicles to cross every day in 2020, but that will jump to nearly 50,000 in 2040.
“That's a lot of cars coming through here and a lot of people trying to get out of these side streets, they won't be able to get out,” said Deborah Coleman, who lives in Africatown.
ALDOT said the Cochrane Bridge currently operates well below capacity, but for those who live the traffic troubles every day, 2025 is just a nightmare that they know is real.
“It's going to be horrible,” Coleman said. “It's going to be terrible gridlock. It's going to be gridlock like I don't know what.”
“I think it's going to be 5 to 10 times worse and more dangerous, so they might as well get ready because it's coming,” Andrews said.
The Bankhead Tunnel, the other free route, is also expected to see more traffic, but ALDOT believes more people will take the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge to get where they are going.