New Bridge Across Mobile River?
Even though there is already a bridge over Mobile River 3 miles to the north of Mobile, for the last decade leaders have been trying to get a new bridge built over Mobile River to ease the traffic slowdown at Mobile's tunnels under Mobile River during rush hour. The new Interstate I-10 bridge is estimated to cost about 1 BILLION dollars to build. (In Mobile, that likely means 2 Billion Dollars because final project costs are usually way more than the cost originally allocated for the project. GulfQuest Museum for example...)
How on Earth can the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) afford to build a TWO BILLION dollar bridge? Seriously.
Right now ALDOT bridges for the Bloody Hwy 98 bypass promised by the Governor to the people in Mobile County in 1958* are being overgrown by weeds. Bare steel rebar rusts away on the unfinished bridges because construction stopped 7 years ago when ALDOT ran out of money to complete the highway project.
If ALDOT has no money to complete this 56 year old Hwy 98 project, it certainly cannot have the money to build a new bridge over Mobile River.
I suggest if legislators, leaders, engineering lobbyists, and politicians can get the Feds to print up and earmark a couple Billion dollars for the construction of yet ANOTHER bridge across Mobile River, that the money be spent on mass commuter transit projects across Mobile River and on building a network of car free bicycle routes to alleviate the rush hour traffic between Mobile County and Baldwin County. Motor Vehicle Traffic already has 3 tunnels, and one 4-lane bridge while bicyclists and pedestrians have no safe dedicated lane or trail to get across the Mobile River.
Drive through any major City during rush hour and traffic will be moving about 15 mph somewhere on its Interstates. Just because traffic slow ups are finally occurring in Mobile does not mean it is the end of the world. Slow ups on the Interstate near the Mobile tunnels means there are too many cars with only 1 person in them trying to get across Mobile River at the same time. That is poor commuter planning and a waste of fossil fuel energy.
Most modern cities encourage 1-person commuter traffic by providing them with a vast network of safe dedicated car free bicycle lanes and trails throughout their city and connecting communities. About 8 bicycles can be parked in one car space. Bicycle traffic cuts down on automobile emissions plaguing big cities. Each bicycle commuter eliminates one vehicle on the clogged roadways. The long term health and insurance benefits of a healthy community are immense.
In some cities in the world, bicycle traffic takes total priority over cars that are forced to park outside of the city because their wise planners realize the value of a healthy happy vibrant community. Mobile's ranking at the top of the most miserable places to live is merely a consequence of planners not providing a safe alternative network of bicycle routes for its daily commuters. Instead, irritated commuters sit in cars stuck in rush hour traffic getting no exercise at all.
The traffic slow up in Mobile can also be blamed on there being no mass transit commuter system across Mobile River. Transportation Planners in Mobile are idiots to not have planned for and built one in the past 100 years. Now authorities want to spend a BILLION dollars on a project which will STILL not solve the problem of there still being no mass transit commuter system across Mobile Bay.
In 30 years, it is likely a new 6-lane bridge over Mobile River will become inadequate to carry the increasing number of vehicles containing only one occupant trying to get across the river because there will still be no mass transit system and there will still be no network of car free bicycle routes through out the area for safe bicycle commuting. This forces those who would commute by bicycle or mass transit to add another car to the rush hour traffic compounding the traffic jam problems. In these modern days for there to be no mass transit option across Mobile Bay and for there to not be a single safe car free bicycle network in Mobile and Baldwin Counties for bicycle commuters is pathetic.
Last I heard, the Federal Government is somewhere over $17,000,000,000,000.00 in debt. Feds have no money to build a new bridge. Just because Alabama and Mobile planners have had no foresight or desire to build a Mass Transit Commuter system across Mobile River or to build a network of car free bicycle trails both which could reduce the number of cars on the roads does not mean taxpayers should go further in debt to build yet another bridge which will only temporarily solve the rush hour commuter problem.
I say NO to building a new bridge over Mobile River. ALDOT needs to finish its 56 year old Highway 98 project first.
But, if Mobile officials and State leaders feel compelled to put the Federal Government another Billion Dollars further in debt, I suggest instead of a building another bridge, that the BILLION dollars be spent constructing an intelligently vast car free bicycle network through Mobile and Baldwin County eventually making these two counties in Alabama one of the most desirable and healthiest areas in America to live without dependence on cars.
Maybe then Walmarts in Mobile will be able to afford to replace the worn out grocery cart wheels instead of having to buy more and more battery operated carts for the growing number of handicapped people who are so unhealthy due to obesity complications that they cannot walk.