DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) -- A new proposal for a Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project continues to gain support.
On Wednesday, The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization voted to put the project on its transportation improvement plan. The Mobile MPO voted the same way last week.
Now that the project is part of the transportation improvement plans, the Alabama Department of Transportation can complete the necessary studies to have the project approved.
The new $725 million bridge project comes with significant changes to a previous plan which included tolling traffic. The older plan was rejected in 2019.
The new plan calls for a “truck-only” bridge to be built over or around the Wallace Tunnel to ease congestion and reroute hazardous cargo. Secondly, the I-10 Bayway will be restriped to add a third lane in both directions, one of them for truck use only.
Local leaders say the plan will increase traffic flow by 40 percent.
Commercial vehicles would pay a toll ranging from $10 to $15.
Just over half the total cost will be split between the federal grant and the state. The remaining $350 million will likely come by way of a loan from the Alabama Toll Road Authority to be paid back with the truck fees.
Environmental permits secured leading up to the earlier project are still good, which will also save much time and money. ALDOT has said construction on the bridge could start in 2022 or 2023 and it would take about four years to finish.