FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
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The George C. Wallace Tunnel, the current I-10 crossing under the Mobile River, constructed in the 1970s, was designed with an anticipated daily traffic count of 36,000. Currently, the tunnel averages 73,300 vehicles per day, and can reach as many as 100,000 vehicles in the peak season. The traffic volume causes heavy congestion and longer travel times. An alternate I-10 crossing has been requested by the public and is in the public interest.
As part of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) process, identifying the selected alternate included an analysis of environmental, social, economic, engineering, and other considerations. The DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) selected B Prime as the preferred alternate.
The final selection of an alternate (A, B, B Prime, C or No Build) will be determined in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Comments from the public hearing will also be reviewed and addressed before the final selection is made.
The proposed bridge could be a cable-stayed bridge, which features cables connected to one or more towers to support the bridge deck. Cable-stayed bridges are economical, ideal for spanning distances of 500-2800 feet, and offer flexibility in the design. The Cochrane-Africatown Bridge in Mobile is a cable-stayed bridge.
The main span will provide a vertical clearance of 215 feet as determined from the Air Draft Clearance report. This height will maintain and promote the economic viability of the maritime industries and cruise industry utilizing the Mobile Harbor Federal Navigation Channel. It also eliminates impediments to future maritime growth and expansion.
The start of bridge construction will depend on funding, right-of-way acquisition, and finalizing the Environmental Impact Statement.
For similar projects of this size and scope construction has taken 6-8 years. Detailed construction times can be better determined when the design is completed. Additional time may be needed depending on funding.
After the public hearing and comment period, a final Environmental Impact Study will be submitted to the FHWA. Upon approval, ALDOT will begin the final design process. The next public hearing will feature the final selected route and design of the bridge.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), signed on January 1, 1970, established the country’s national environmental policies. NEPA requires agencies to review the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making a decision and solicit feedback from citizens. For additional information you can visit:
See NEPA Flow Chart
No, the bend that you see in the renderings is not a sharp curve and would be up to current design standards.
There are plans for a separate project that would reconfigure the Wallace Tunnel interchange on the west side, which will include removing the Water Street loop ramp and create an interchange at Canal Road.
There are no plans to close the Wallace Tunnel. In the current study, Wallace Tunnel will be used as access to downtown Mobile and to the Bayway/Causeway.
The following three bicycle and pedestrian alternatives are currently being studied: Bankhead Tunnel, Cochrane-Africatown Bridge and a path on the new Mobile River Bridge. Click here for details about each alternative.
If the path is selected to be on the new Mobile River Bridge or through Bankhead Tunnel, the path would not be opened until the project is completed. If Cochrane-Africatown Bridge is chosen, some improvements could be made prior to completion of the project.
Traffic will be modeled for all three options to make sure additional improvements are not required. The majority of traffic crossing the river is anticipated to utilize the new Mobile River Bridge with downtown traffic using Cochrane-Africatown Bridge, Wallace Tunnel and Bankhead Tunnel (provided it is not chosen as the bicycle and pedestrian path.)
If the Bankhead Tunnel alternative is chosen, Bankhead will be closed to vehicular traffic and downtown traffic will utilize Wallace Tunnel, Cochrane-Africatown Bridge or the new Mobile River Bridge. As part of the project, the interchanges at Water Street/Canal Street and US 90/98 (East Wallace) will be redesigned to provide better access through Wallace Tunnel and into downtown, and the Bayway will be widened to four lanes each direction.