Mobile Bridge Pile Work to Begin
Work on the long-planned Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project, involving the construction of a new bridge in Mobile, Alabama, and the expansion of the “Bayway” across Mobile Bay, will begin next week, though the private partner on the job, projected at around $1 billion, has yet to be chosen.
Piles will be driven by Jordan Pile Driving Inc., on a $3.4 million contract that represents the first field work for the project; the process is set to last through the end of May. The piles will be part of a load test that will help to provide information for the designs the four teams vying for the larger contract are working on.
The load testing, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation, will allow the designers to know the minimum length of the piling needed for the final project.
ALDOT has said the final contract could be valued in the range of $800 million to $1.8 billion.
ALDOT announced in August that it was seeking a private partner for the project, which will likely take the form of a design-build-finance-operate-maintain contract. In November, the agency received statements of qualifications from four teams:
The agency was originally slated to announce its shortlist on Jan. 16 but the announcement was postponed because the Alabama Toll Roads, Bridges and Tunnel Authority was unable to meet to approve the list.
Bridge and Bayway
The expansion plan has been discussed for more than 15 years, and officials say traffic backups caused by the limited capacity of the tunnels and Bayway are among the worst congestion in the state. Changes have been slow to materialize, though, partly because of local concerns about view obstructions and potential navigational clearance issues.
The project involves the new bridge (shown in purple) and an expansion to the Jubilee Parkway, known as the Bayway (in blue). (Map shows preferred routing alternative.)
While a precise design has not been settled, ALDOT is proposing a cable-stayed span that will provide 215 with navigational clearance, enough to allow large cruise ships and the so-called New Panamax cargo vessels.
The current Bayway is a set of twin concrete viaduct structures that stretch 7.5 miles across the bay. According to ALDOT’s plans, the existing four-lane Bayway would be replaced with an eight-lane system that would be built above the 100-year storm surge level. The Wallace Tunnel would remain open to connect the Bayway to downtown Mobile, while the new bridge would allow I-10 traffic to bypass downtown.