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For whom the toll ends: State takes over Foley Beach bridge

FOLEY — If you’re heading for the gulf beaches this weekend, you’ll be saving a few more bucks than past years.

As of noon today, there will be no more tolls charged for the Foley Beach Express bridge.

Gov. Kay Ivey joined local officials Wednesday in Baldwin County to sign paperwork that finalizes the state of Alabama’s purchase of the bridge.

“Our coast continues to experience record growth and success, and I am proud we are making needed infrastructure improvements in the area that will help alleviate traffic congestion for Alabamians and those visiting our beaches,” said Ivey. “I am proud of the significant progress we are making on infrastructure projects.

“In fact, we are making so much headway down here that I think folks in other parts of the state are taking notice.”

Over the past year, Baldwin County and Foley asked the Alabama Department of Transportation to assume maintenance responsibilities for its portions of the Beach Express route from Interstate 10 all the way to Orange Beach via the Baldwin Beach Express toll bridge.

With the agreement for the state to buy the Beach Express bridge, Orange Beach, Foley and Baldwin County agreed to withdraw from their agreements related to the bridge. Gulf Shores is granting right of way to ALDOT for access to the new bridge it’s building over the Intracoastal Waterway. 

Foley Mayor Ralph Hellmich, Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft, Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon and Baldwin County Commission Chair Billie Jo Underwood signed the documents related to the state’s pending ownership and the end of tolling.

With the closing completed and the state taking control, tolling is scheduled to end at noon today.

“It took a lot of teamwork to get us here today, and I know we are all excited to put pen to paper and make this purchase official,” said Ivey.

ALDOT purchased the bridge for $57 million. An additional $3 million will be paid to the city of Orange Beach for its use with local road improvements. Ivey announced the purchase last month.

With the end of tolling, all routes to Alabama’s beaches will be toll-free. 

ALDOT will implement a temporary traffic management plan immediately to move two-way traffic through the toll plaza.

In mid-June, at a specific date to be announced later, ALDOT will remove the toll booths and re-stripe the roadway for free-flowing traffic.

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