BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – The beaches are starting to fill with people eager to kick off their long holiday weekend on the Gulf Coast. And there’s the newly completed Baldwin Beach Express ready to take the strain off of Highway 59.
“They’re looking at a plan to put up some additional beach access signs, so that if you’re coming from the west going east, you’ll know you’ve got two options: the Loxley interchange and the Beach Express interchange,” Baldwin County Engineer Cal Markert said.
But a big reason the Beach Express has been relatively empty as of Friday is because many GPS devices don’t have the road plugged into their systems. However, if you have a smartphone with Google Maps, you’ll have no problem finding the Express.
“Google’s got it up and we’re still waiting on the other companies too, but they’re starting to fall in place. I think Garmin is sending folks out to survey it and get it on their map and it’ll slowly happen,” Markert said.
Considering at one time, Highway 59 was the one and only straight shot from I-10 to the beach, Markert said it’ll take some time for people to break the habit of driving down that route.
“A lot of people going to the beach come from out of state and they know this route, the way they’ve always gone. And we’re trying to advertise now with an additional sign on I-10, the state has done for us, thankfully, to let them know there’s two exits to get you to the beach now,” Markerts said.
He said it will likely take about nine to 12 months before the majority of beach goers start taking the Beach Express. Baldwin officials said by next Labor Day, it will be a completely different game.