MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Three groups of companies are preparing proposals to build the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project. Those concessionaires as the Al. Department of Transportation calls them are I-10 Mobility Partners, Gulf Coast Connectors, and Mobile River Bridge Group.
Whichever group is the winning bidder stands to make a considerable profit from their $2.1b or more investment.
It’s something District 32 State Senator Chris Elliott takes issue with. “You’re talking about just shy of ten billion dollars. Well, that’s entirely too much profit,” he said.
Most of the companies making up the bidding groups are international companies. For example, the lead companies that makeup I-10 Mobility Partners and Gulf Coast Connectors are based in Spain, with offices in the U.S.
Southland Holdings is one of the lead partners of the Mobile River Bridge Group. It’s based in Texas.
Another company is also involved in that group, Figg Bridge of Florida. Figg Bridge designed the pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Miami last year.
Alabama Director of Transportation John Cooper said in defense of Figg, “I think it’s important to note about the Figg firm is that is a firm with a long and really storied history in the construction of large bridge projects. The bridge that collapsed was actually not in their specialty space.”
Figg Bridge was also the designer of at least four other bridges on the Gulf Coast including the Dauphin Island bridge, the Cochran-Africatown bridge, and the Garcon Point bridge.
Proposals from the groups are due this December.
ALDOT’S John Cooper says, “The ultimate decision will be made by the toll road bridge and tunnel authority, they will receive advice from ALDOT in making that decision.
The toll authority was created by the state legislature and is headed by the Governor. Of the nine members, only two have direct connections to the Gulf Coast. They are District 22 State Senator Greg Albritton, who is on the authority by virtue of being Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means General Fund Committee; and former Alabama District One Congressman Jo Bonner, who is the current Chief of Staff for Governor Kay Ivey and an at-large member of the Toll Authority.
The winning bidder is expected to be announced next March, with the construction of the project beginning later in 2020.