Roadscapes Stuff

Roadscapes Wednesday: Why The New Baldwin County Bridge Is A Stupid And Dumb Idea

On this Roadscapes, I want to talk about a project from the Alabama Department of Transportation that seems very fishy. You see, ALDOT wants to spend up to $100 million dollars to build a new bridge in the Gulf Shores / Orange Beach area. The fishy thing about this, they want to build this new bridge right next to a perfectly good bridge. The perfectly good bridge is a privately owned toll bridge.

Quite a few people thinks this project is an incredible waste of taxpayer money.  I mean, we could be spending those millions of dollars to replace old bridges across Alabama.  But this is ALDOT, the agency that is well-known for wasting taxpayer money across Alabama and being corrupt as well.

The leaders of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach say this new bridge is needed to reduce traffic along AL-59.  But, building a new bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway and ending the new road at AL-180 (Canal Road) is not going to solve any traffic problems.  The only reason this new bridge is to make sense is if it was going through Gulf State Park and ending at AL-182 (Beach Blvd.)

This Thursday, ALDOT is holding the only public meeting about the bridge project.  You will have people from both sides arguing about why their thoughts are the correct ones about this bridge project.  But let’s be real, in a state where there are thousands of bridges that can’t support a school bus.  In a state where there are interstates with severe congestion because of a lack of travel lanes.  And in a state where roads in both urban and rural areas are in desperate need of repaving.  This bridge project is not needed!

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler has been trying to get answers from the Alabama Department of Transportation on the bridge project.  His requests are pretty simple.  He is requesting ALDOT and John Cooper to:

  1. Copies of any and all studies that demonstrated a need for a bridge over the Intercoastal waterway
  2. Any and all documents that show a change in the need for the Intercoastal bridge since the determination in 2016 that the bridge was unnecessary
  3. Any and all analyses to support spending $30-$87 million in state funds in light of the pressing infrastructure needs throughout the state
  4. Any and all documents that resulted in the range of costs projected ($30 to $87 million)
  5. Documents that show cost overruns on current and recent ALDOT projects
  6. According to the court filing from the bridge company, they agreed to widen their bridge at no additional cost to Please provide any and all documents that address why the option of widening the original bridge is not being utilized.

Alabama has a dire need for infrastructure improvements across the entire state.  And building a new bridge that will lead to nowhere and will not solve any traffic problems in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is not the answer.  You want to know my opinions about this?  I’m sure you do!  I think ALDOT is doing this bridge project as a way to raise the middle finger against the owners of the Foley Beach Express toll bridge.

I believe someone is out there to make a lot of profit off this new bridge.  I have to expect in this corrupt state that someone from ALDOT, someone from Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, or someone from the bridge builders are going to make a lot of money from this new bridge.  Otherwise known as a bribe.  Geez, we have had way too many politicians in Alabama go down on corruption.

In a state where funding for roads and highways is being transferred to the court system, because I guess the clowns in Montgomery think revenue is evil, there is already a severe lack of funding for infrastructure in Alabama.  Wasting up to $100 million on a new bridge just to put the toll bridge out of business is one of the dumbest ideas I ever heard.

You see, there are more public private partnerships for infrastructure across America.  New roads and bridges are being built with the help of private firms.  If ALDOT moves forward with this new bridge project, you are pretty much telling all private firms, screw you!  Building a non-needed bridge just to put a private bridge out of business, man that will go very well with private companies!

I have been calling for the Alabama Government to investigate the corruption and the waste of taxpayer funds from ALDOT for years now.  Maybe this unneeded new bridge will be to wake up call our governor needs. I would hope Governor Kay Ivey will kill this bridge project, and investigate ALDOT, even if that means that John Cooper gets fired.

I’m sorry for the folks in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  Building a new bridge that will not solve any traffic problems, and to grind an axe against a perfectly good toll bridge is not the answer.  Maybe you all can find a way to buy out the current toll bridge.  That is the most sensible plan currently on the table. That $100 million for a bridge to nowhere, needs to be used in other parts of Alabama.

But I know what will probably happen in this case.  ALDOT will get the green light to build this new bridge, traffic will use the new bridge to avoid paying a toll, and you will see a perfectly good toll bridge go out of business.  Because this is Alabama, where corruption reigns supreme.

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