Baldwin Beach Express open, but not so fast

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – The Baldwin Beach Express has been open for just over 24 hours and more and more drivers are using it.  With the weekend upon us, traffic volume will increase.  Those drivers need to pay close attention to the posted speed limits.

There is a 7.3 mile section from Hwy. 90 in Robertsdale to County Road 32 in Summerdale where the speed limit is only 35 mph.  The parts north and south of this section are still 55 mph.  Baldwin County Engineer, Cal Markert explained that their agreement with the road contractors requires the speed limit to stay at 35 mph until all work is completed.  That should be about two more weeks.

“The state and the contractor were gracious enough to get it open so that we could take advantage of it.  We just need to be careful and slow and remember that there’s people out here that we need to protect and not get hurt,” Markert said.

There is some striping work still going on and crews are putting some finishing touches on the grass along the roadway.  Motorists checking out the Beach Express for the first time were surprised by the low speed limit.

“Woah, I didn’t know it was 35.  I’ve been driving the regular speed limit.  I’m lucky I didn’t get caught.  I see where a state trooper had somebody stopped this morning though,” said a surprised Harry Honzik.

“I thought to myself when driving, ‘How is an expressway an expressway if it’s 35 miles an hour?’  I could probably go faster on 59,” Rebecca Wallace said.

After taking the drive myself, I found that Wallace was right.  I drove the Beach Express from Highway 90 to the Foley Beach Express at the speed limit and then drove back on Highway 59.  Even with the traffic and lights on 59 I saved two minutes.  Right now it’s about safety and police are patrolling.

“We would rather you spend your money on something else in Gulf Shores instead of giving us money for a speeding ticket,” explained Assistant Robertsdale Police Chief, Brian Middleton.

Different law enforcement agencies have already been patroling the expressway to make sure motorists are following the law.  Middleton said officers will be showing a presence, especially since the stop light at Hwy. 90 and the Baldwin Beach Express os now operational.

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