By John Mullen | OBA Website
November 16, 2017 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA) - The City of Orange Beach is serious about tackling traffic issues on its own and is poised to spend more than $282,000 for environmental studies, permitting and conceptual design for the construction of a Wolf Bay Bridge.
A resolution was discussed during a work session on Nov. 14 and will be voted on by the council in a Dec. 5 regular session. If passed, Burk-Kleinpeter will be hired to do the preliminary work on the span.
During a proceeding regular session, also on Nov. 14, the council OK’d $68,000, again to Burk-Kleinpeter for design, construction engineering and inspection services for the widening of Canal Road from Alabama 161 to Wilson Boulevard. This project would include a possible roundabout in front of the arts center.
For some, the bridge is a long time coming.
“I want to thank y’all for this,” long-time bridge proponent and resident Allen McElroy said. “It’s taken 12 years to get to this. That’s how long I’ve been working on this.”
Mayor Tony Kennon said conversations about a Wolf Bay Bridge began more than 25 years ago. After several initiatives faltered and sputtered or failed due to lack of funding, the council is moving ahead devoid of state or federal help.
Funding will come from the recently passed 2 percent lodging tax increase earmarked for infrastructure and beach cleaning work. The city estimates it will generate an extra $5 million to $6 million per year and that a completed bridge will cost between $60 million and $80 million.
“The good thing about this situation is if the City of Orange Beach builds a bridge, it streamlines the entire process,” Kennon said. “We’re fixing to rock and roll on a bridge.”