The most recent deadly accident on Highway 98 in western Mobile County has renewed calls for ALDOT to complete the new Highway 98 project.
That parallel, limited access, highway was begun in 2004, but stopped in 2007 after an environmental lawsuit was filed. The legal issues were cleared up by 2010, but by then money had run out at the statewide level. 86-million dollars have already been spent on the partially completed “road to nowhere.”
Larry Godfrey lives and operates a campground right off Highway 98 at the state line. Like most in the area, he can’t figure out why work on the nearby new 98 remains at a standstill while people continue to die on the dangerous old road
“It just continues on and on and on and on,” said Godfrey. “We’ve had a gut full of it. We’ve had a belly full, you know?”
This bridge across the Escatawpa River for the new project was completed 13 years ago but has never been used. Vast portions of the new 98 were almost complete when work stopped work 9-years ago.
“It’s incredibly frustrating not to get it passed all the way through,” said Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Semmes.
Glover and others almost had a bill passed last month to use BP settlement funds to finish the road but the measure died in the waning hours of the legislative session.
“It’s very frustrating because I live in this community, as a teacher I had former students that were killed and friends and parents so for me it’s a passion to get this completed and we were so close this past session.”
ALDOT spokesman says the current estimated cost to complete the project is $170 million. The remaining construction has been divided into smaller phases for funding purposes. The next phase of construction between Lott Road and Schillinger Road is tentatively scheduled for 2019, dependent upon the availability of funds.