GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Construction of a new bridge being built by the Alabama Department of Transportation over the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores has been ordered to stop by Montgomery Circuit Judge Jimmy Pool.
Crews were seen sitting in their cars at the site off County Road 4 in Gulf Shores telling News 5 they were going to “safe up the site” and they were done for now.
The Baldwin County Bridge Company which owns the Foley Beach Express Toll Bridge, had asked for an emergency injunction to stop construction while they pursued a lawsuit claiming the new bridge was unnecessary and could put them out of business.
Construction of the 375-foot, two-lane bridge began in October of 2022 in response to traffic congestion on Highway 59.
ALDOT released this statement in response to the judges ruling:
We are disappointed in the decision because it’s clear that a new, free bridge is needed to help alleviate traffic congestion and offer a new evacuation option to residents and visitors to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Years of negotiations with the private toll bridge company failed to deliver a solution. The public benefit of a new, free bridge should outweigh the interests of the private toll bridge company. ALDOT will file a notice of appeal with the Alabama Supreme Court.ALDOT spokesman Tony Harris
Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft also released a statement:
The need for a new, free bridge is obvious. Baldwin County is the fastest growing county in Alabama, and our beach communities bring in more than 8 million visitors annually. The Highway 59 bridge is F-rated and woefully over capacity nine months out of the year. On peak travel weekends – like this weekend – it can take over one hour to drive the 11 miles from north of Foley to Beach Boulevard. This is a problem not just for tourist traffic flow, but for residents going to work, emergency vehicles taking people to the hospital, first responders en route to an incident, and for hurricane evacuations.
Today’s ruling is unfortunate. It means that the new, free bridge – where construction is already underway – is unnecessarily delayed. I am hopeful that the Alabama Supreme Court will allow this badly-needed construction to continue as the legal process proceeds so that this new, free, publicly-owned bridge can improve the safety and quality of life for Alabama residents and visitors alike.Mayor Robert Craft
This is a developing story and we will continue to update