Tolls could be one of a list of creative options used to fund a new I-10 bridge project, Mayor Sandy Stimpson said Friday afternoon.

Stimpson returned Wednesday from a trip to Washington D.C. where he and a group of 14 other mayors from the area lobbied government officials for funding of the proposed $800 million project. He said going into the meetings no one in the group felt like tolls would be an option for funding, but said after the meetings they would have to be considered a “viable option.”

Stimpson said many options for funding were discussed during meetings and tolls were just part of the conversation.
The group had nine different meetings with members of the U.S. House and Senate, Stimpson said. He called the trip “unbelievable” and said the group made “tremendous progress.”

The Alabama Department of Transportation recently released a draft environmental impact study on the project, which will make way for two public meetings on the subject. The first will take place at the Alabama Cruise Terminal on Tuesday, Sept. 23 from 4-8 p.m. The second will be in Spanish Fort at the Five Rivers Resource Center on the causeway Monday, Sept. 29.

The preferred route for the project connects to I-10 at Virginia Street to just south of the cruise terminal and just north of Austal. The six-lane bridge will connect to the Bayway just east of the Government Street exit and two lanes in each direction will be added to the Bayway.

The project is meant to help the area avoid future travel problems caused by infrastructure that’s not designed for the amount of vehicles it currently handles and will need to handle in the future.