Folks in Mobile love to bike and they love to walk. No wonder they’d like a place to do that in beautiful downtown Mobile.
However, to provide that, there is a possibility the Bankhead tunnel, one of three access points across the Mobile River, could be closed to all motor vehicles.
But if the Bankhead is closed, that could have a huge impact on Water Street here—where the city of Mobile is hoping to make $300,000 in improvements.
See, with the tunnel closed, folks coming across the bay won’t have an easy time getting downtown. The Water Street exit ramp will be taken away, and the Bankhead will be closed, which means drivers will have to exit way down on Texas Street and double back.
“That’s something that ALDOT will have to look at to see how that will impact traffic. But at this point, we are very much in support of creating different types of ways for people to move around whether that’s on bike, whether that’s on foot, and so they’ll have to look and see if that will negatively impact traffic, but our hope is that it will provide more connectivity in the end,” says Laura Byrne with the mayor’s office.
On Water Street, you’ve got the convention center, the Exploreum, and GulfQuest. And the city plans to add all kinds of landscaping, reduce six lanes of traffic to four and add biking and walking lanes. Improvements to Broad Street are also in the works.
The Alabama Department of Transportation told us frankly, it’s too early to start talking about what could or could not happen with the traffic situation, and that we’ll know more when there are more concrete plans. Let’s not forget too that ALDOT will have to get permission from the federal government to close the Bankhead Tunnel since that is part of federal Highway 98.