A closer look at bike and Pedestrian elements required for new M - KMOV.com

A closer look at bike and Pedestrian elements required for new Mobile bridge

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MOBILE, AL (WALA) -

FOX10 News is committed to following the progress of the new Mobile River Bridge. 

There are new developments concerning prospects for a bicycle and pedestrian requirements for the project.  

Alabama Department of Transportation, or ALDOT,  officials said the three teams submitting project proposals must include two elements.

But does it mandate a bike and pedestrian path on the new bridge itself?  
 
ALDOT has released requirements and possible options for bike and pedestrian features with the new project.  

One requirement:  the three teams submitting proposals must include an observation deck on the new bridge, likely close to shore on the west side of the span.

Allison Gregg with the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project says, "The Belvedere, which is what the lookout is called, folks will be able to go up there and take stairs or an elevator and go up all the way up to view from the bridge 215 feet high.  You can really get gorgeous sweeping views of the area."
 
Another requirement:  improvements to the existing Cochrane-Africatown USA Bridge route from I-165 and Bay Bridge Road to Battleship Parkway.

But as far as a bike and pedestrian path along the entire length of the new bridge, it is not mandated. 

ALDOT is asking the teams to evaluate whether those options are  technically and economically feasible.   
 
Gregg said, "Everything is really depending on pricing, and that's why we"re reaching out to these public-private partnerships because they truly bring innovation." 

Reaction is coming into the ALDOT announcement. 

The Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization's first choice was a bike and pedestrian path from the Causeway to the Bankhead Tunnel.

Sarah Hart Sislak, MPO Co-Ordinator, said, "Our committee felt that would be the best for economic development, as far as getting a broader range of cyclists and pedestrians on the Causeway." 

But bicyclists are sounding off, too.  

Jennifer Greene said she wants to the see the path on the new bridge, much like the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina.

FOX10 News travelled to Charleston for a special report on the bridge.

Greene said, "You see women with baby strollers, bicycles, people really enjoying that part of their city.  And it also connects two parts of Charleston and that's what it would do here in Mobile."

The teams are expected to presenting proposals by fall, with one team chosen by the end of the year.
 
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