ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — The Intracoastal Waterway has been called “the other coastline” on Pleasure Island, and soon, 47 acres just west of the toll bridge on the north side of the canal will be home to a new boat launch called “The Launch at ICW”
“This is going to open up access to our waterways all up and down the coast,” said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who was on hand to break ground on the project. It will include six ramps, 150 parking places along with other family-friendly attractions, and room to do even more according to Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon. “It’s going to be a cornerstone for a lot of what we are going to do connecting the south side of the Intracoastal to the north side; walking trails, biking trails, environmental type of tourism. It’s really a nice project.”
During tourist season, boat traffic rivals road traffic. The opening of recreational red snapper season earlier this month is just the latest example of the traffic jam at boat launches. “It has been chaos down here with the increased numbers down here the number of boats, fishing. This is a Godsend. It’s really going to make a difference for all of us,” Kennon said.
$10 million of GOMESA funds from oil and gas leases off the coast of Alabama and another $7 million from Baldwin County will fund the project.
“It will be the biggest boat launch on coastal Alabama with parking when it’s all done,” state conversation director Chris Blankenship said.
“The Launch” is expected to be open for business by this time next year.