Alabama proposes new I-10 bridge across Mobile River

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 11/2/2016

The Alabama Department of Transportation is proposing a new bridge on Interstate 10 in Mobile over the river in addition to widening the existing I-10 bridges over the bay, according to the state DOT. The proposal is in response to the need for increased capacity on I-10 as traffic volume is expected to increase.

Dubbed the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Widening project, Alabama is proposing a six-lane bridge with 215 feet of “air draft clearance” over the river. Air draft clearance is the distance from the surface of the water to the underside of the bridge.

Additionally, the proposal seeks to widen the existing I-10 bridges that cross Mobile Bay from four to eight lanes. A bicycle and pedestrian river crossing is also included in the project. The state DOT is currently seeking comments regarding the bicycle/pedestrian crossing.

Widening of the bay bridges will begin at I-10/Virginia Street and the I-10/Texas Street interchanges, the start of the main Mobile River bridge. The eastbound truck acceleration lane will be approximately 2,410 feet. For a map of the proposed plan, click here.

If the proposal passes, construction can take up to six to eight years. A rough estimate of the cost is at $850 million. Funding sources are yet to be determined as the project is still in the planning stages. The Federal Highway Administration will still need a final environmental impact study after the public comment period. Only after approval of the study will the state DOT begin on the final design.

Built in the 1970s, the George C. Wallace Tunnel, which is the current Mobile River crossing, was designed for daily traffic of 36,000 vehicles. Today, approximately 73,300 vehicles cross the tunnel each day, with as many as 100,000 during the peak season, according to the state DOT. By 2030, approximately 131,082 vehicles will use the proposed bridge each day.

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