ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WALA) – It’s taken years and nearly $90 million, but there is now an alternative to the heavy traffic on Highway 59 in Baldwin County.
Friday, August 15 a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the completion of the Baldwin Beach Express. It’s now a straight shot from toll bridge at the Wharf to I-10.
The road has long been desired to relieve the summertime congestion of Highway 59.
Governor Robert Bentley helped dedicate the new highway.
He told us, “We just need a good north-south corridor and this is what we’re going to have. This is fantastic for the people of Baldwin County and the people of the rest of the state. “
How much quicker to the beach?
So how much time could the new Baldwin Beach Express save you? In a completely unscientific experiment, we timed a FOX10 crew down Highway 59 and then back up the Beach Express. It took 40 minutes to make the trip south on Highway 59, and 27 minutes back north on the Beach Express. The express was 13 minutes quicker.
Once again, this was completely unscientific and numerous other factors could impact your drive time.
“Traffic is a blessing until it gets to where it’s too much, and then it becomes a curse,” Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft said.
Mayor Craft has fought for the new highway for nearly 10 years.
“It’s a good day,” Mayor Craft told us. “We really need this and it’s going to be extremely helpful to our tourism community going forward and our locals that live here.”
For drivers who use the road daily, it has been worth the wait.
“More scenic highways to ride and less traffic!” a local motorcyclist exclaimed and then roared off.
Not the end of highway construction
Governor Bentley said more needs to be done to alleviate traffic closer to the beach. He also will be pushing to continue the Beach Express north of I-10 all the way to I-65.