Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday joined the U.S. Department of Transportation to officially announce that Alabama has been selected for two Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants totaling close to $132 million. USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao and the USDOT, in a wave of grant announcements today, shared that the state of Alabama would be allocated $6.87 million for an infrastructure project in Tuscaloosa and $125 million for the I-10 bridge project in Mobile.
"Revitalizing our state's infrastructure is critical to moving Alabama forward, and I am grateful to Secretary Chao and the U.S. Department of Transportation for helping our state take another step to bring these projects to fruition," Governor Ivey said. "It is vitally important for us to engage our partners at every level -- federal, state and local -- to ensure we are effectively using our dollars, while making necessary enhancements to infrastructure in Alabama. I am proud to support the Trump Administration in their endeavor to not only make band-aid fixes, but to make substantial, long-term improvements to infrastructure."
Both projects will employ innovation through intelligent transportation system (ITS). ITS aims to provide technology to coordinate services related to modes of transports, surveillance and traffic management. This innovative tool keeps roads safe during and after construction. ITS also is a valuable resource to assist with evacuations.
"This significant federal investment is part of an overall program to repair and restore America's bridges to enhance safety and economic growth," Secretary Chao said.
The $6.87 million INFRA grant to the city of Tuscaloosa will go toward replacing the University Boulevard/US 82 overpass structure. This enhancement, which is projected to cost $11.5 million, will lengthen and widen the overpass to create greater efficiency and safety. The Alabama Department of Transportation will coordinate with the city of Tuscaloosa on the movement of the project.
"Grants like the DOT INFRA grant that have been awarded to the City of Tuscaloosa have allowed us to improve our roads and infrastructure in a timeline that we would not have been able to otherwise," Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said. "The improvements that we are able to make through grants like this have allowed us to position our community to bring in the jobs and industries of the future."
ALDOT will direct the $125 million INFRA grant to the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project, which has a projected cost of more than $2 billion. The project includes a new cable-stay bridge over Mobile River, replacement of the existing I-10 Bayway Bridges and modifications to multiple interchanges across I-10. Ultimately, the new Bayway will provide eight lanes of travel across the Mobile Bay. The new Mobile River Bridge will have more than 215 feet of vertical clearance to carry I-10 across the Mobile Channel, permitting all types of maritime traffic in the Port of Mobile. The Federal Highway Administration regulations state that the Bayway needs to be raised above the 100-year storm surge level. Since the existing bridge cannot be raised, it must be replaced with a new structure. Given this change, the cost of the project increased from $850 million to the $2.1 billion total.
"While I am thrilled to welcome this important funding from USDOT, our work is not done yet. This makes it ever clearer that we must continue working together to creatively find solutions for not only these two projects -- but also for other needed improvements across the state," Governor Ivey added.
USDOT's INFRA grant program provides dedicated, discretionary funding for projects that address critical issues facing our nation's highways and bridges.