MPOs Release Draft Amendments to Long Range Transportation Plans
MOBILE – The Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) today announced they are releasing for public comment draft amendments to their 2045 Long Range Transportation Plans.
In March, local officials unveiled a concept for the first phase of a long-term plan to improve traffic flow and safety on the Interstate 10 corridor. The concept calls for construction of a bridge over the Mobile River designated for the use of large trucks over 46 feet in length. These trucks would be prohibited from using the Wallace Tunnel and instead travel over the river on the truck bridge, paying a fee of no more than $15 – a fee that is less than half the charge considered on large trucks in the previous I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway plan that was discussed in 2019.
In addition to the construction of the new bridge, the concept calls for restriping the Bayway to add a third lane in each direction, which would add an estimated 40 percent more travel capacity and help traffic flow more smoothly.
Construction of the truck bridge would also mean the signed hazardous cargo route would no longer have to pass through the Africatown community.
A federal infrastructure grant of $125 million has been secured for the project, but the MPOs must add the project to their Transportation Improvement Programs soon or lose the grant. The state is planning to contribute $250 million.
The draft amendments call on the Alabama Department of Transportation to study whether cars could voluntarily use the truck bridge with a fee of no more than $2.
“We are not looking at and will not consider any proposal that would include a toll on existing routes,” said Fairhope Council President Jack Burrell, the Chairman of the Eastern Shore MPO. “Based on discussions with local officials on the Eastern Shore, we will consider whether ALDOT should study an option to let cars voluntarily use the truck bridge, and what impact that might have. We also are planning to continue working with federal officials to seek additional funding support.”
The Long Range Transportation Plan “is not proposed as a rigid, inflexible blueprint, but rather is intended to guide decision-makers’ actions within a regional context,” the document states.
Funding for future phases will be identified in coming years. Each phase of the plan would need approval from both the Mobile and Eastern Shore MPOs before moving forward.