Brand new developments in a story that affects people on both sides of the bay. A fresh look at what the proposed Mobile River Bridge could look like and what it could cost to use it.
Travel down Interstate-10 and you'll likely hit traffic. It's a problem the new Mobile River Bridge Project hopes to resolve.
"Everybody knows the problems that exist with I-10 and Wallace Tunnel. The #1 question we get is when are you going to start," said Matt Ericksen, Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project Director.
Updating the community Tuesday night, Ericksen says the finish line is within reach. He also showed them new conceptual images of what the new bridge could look like.
With the goal to increase capacity -- the proposed bridge will have six lanes (3 lanes in each direction).
Construction on the two-billion dollar project is scheduled to start by early 2020.
"This project will be one of the largest in the nation. It's a problem that has to be fixed. I-10 is a national corridor," said Ericksen.
It also calls to completely re-build the Bayway -- expanding it from four lanes to eight (four lanes in each direction).
"Based on new federal requirements the new Bayway would have to be built to withstand impact of 100-year storm surge event. The Bayway will now be approximately 10 feet higher than the existing," explained Ericksen.
While there's still talk of a bike and pedestrian lanes, a new bridge won't be feasible without a toll. A toll rate has yet to be decided, but they expect it to cost anywhere from $3 to $6 to use it. The toll would not start until the bridge is complete and operational in 2025.
The new bridge would have a vertical clearance of 215 feet and a lookout tower with public access for viewing. Here's how it compares to other bridges:
Cochrane-Africatown Bridge: 155 feet
Crescent City Bridge, New Orleans: 170 feet
Golden Gate Bridge: 220 feet
Once the environmental phase is complete, requests for proposals are expected to go out in early next year to the short list of three teams vying to build the bridge. The team selected will have to operate and maintain the bridge for the next 50 years.