There was a lot to talk about during the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues breakfast Wednesday morning. One of the longer discussions from Matt Ericksen was an update to the Mobile River Bridge project.
"We wanted to make sure everyone understood what the scope of the project is which consists of seven interchange modifications, a new cable-stay bridge over the Mobile River and complete replacement of the existing bayway," Ericksen said.
Ericksen, who's the bridge project director announcing different funding and financing sources the state is looking at including a federal INFRA grant they applied for last month.
"There's a lot of need state-wide probably none more in the Mobile and Baldwin County as the population grows so we're trying to stay ahead of the curve and address the capacity issues the best we can. This is the price of progress," Ericksen explained.
One of the biggest questions and concerns a lot of folks have is about tolling, so, FOX10 News got out and asked what you, the viewer, thought.
"It's probably the best way to do it, you know? Where are we going to get the money to do it? I travel to Mobile and back every day so I do know that it's very much needed," Justin Barker of Daphne said.
"There's just a lot of questions about it: where is it going to come in on the Eastern Shore?" Phyllis Schneider of Daphne said. "We need more information about it, but yeah, it's life. It's going to be what it's going to be."
Jennifer Polk of Daphne added, "Do I agree with it? You know, it's got to get paid for somehow. Growing up over in the Gulf Breeze area we paid tolls to go over the bridge to the beach back and forth, you go to bigger cities and you pay tolls to go back and forth on the roads there so I can't say I agree with it but I don't necessarily disagree with it."
According to Ericksen the plan will include tolls on both the new bridge and the existing Wallace Tunnel. That means the only free routes across the Mobile River will be the Cochrane Bridge or the Bankhead Tunnel.
Ericksen says the all-electronic tolling will be between $3 and $6. The Wallace Tunnel toll would not take effect until the new bridge is completed and ready for travel which is scheduled for 2025.
There will be a public hearing and update to the bridge project in May.