The first meeting seeking public input regarding a somewhat controversial truck-only toll-bridge has been set in Mobile this week.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 12th in Building T located at 1701 I-65 West Service Road, North in Mobile, Alabama from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
According to WKRG 5 News, the plan for the truck only bridge was introduced back in March as a way to improve traffic congestion on the Interstate 10 Bayway. The truck-only bridge would connect to I-10 near the end of the Bayway going east, and would even add a lane to the Bayway in each direction – a strategy that experts say would increase traffic flow by 40%.
However, with the proposed truck-only bridge come truck-only tolls as high as $15 per crossing, which is a price truckers and trucking companies just aren’t able or willing to pay. And it’s not just truckers – according to a recent review of the study used to determine the price of the proposed truck tolls, the data is old and the cost burden it places on truck drivers is skewed.
To top it all off, if the truck-only bridge is constructed, semi trucks will be banned from the existing Wallace Tunnel, making it incredibly difficult for drivers to avoid the steep tolls.
“I come from a family of 18-wheeler drivers, they would be irate with having to pay a toll just to go on a road that will be congested with 18-wheelers. That’s just an expense a business owner shouldn’t have to pay,” said Matthew Bates, a resident of Mobile.
“Three lanes each side sounds great cause currently it stands on two and it’s congested as it is. So, a third lane is going to be helpful regardless,” countered John Kennedy, another Mobile resident.
A $125 million grant was secured for the project by the Metropolitan Planning Organization several years ago, and if the organization doesn’t use the money, they will lose it.
You can read more about the proposed truck-only bridge plan here and here.