Coast Guard closes Mobile River for CSX Railroad swing-bridge construction

Coast Guard District 8 NewsMOBILE, Ala. — The Coast Guard is scheduled to close the Mobile River for construction operations to replace the CSX Railroad swing-bridge with a vertical lift bridge over the Mobile River, Sunday, at 5 a.m.

Replacing the swing span will be a multiple-day project that will close the Mobile River to vessel traffic from midnight on Saturday, until 5 a.m., Wednesday. The CSX Railroad Bridge will also be closed to rail traffic for most of this period.

This project will substantially improve the navigability of the Mobile River, connecting inland waterways to the Port of Mobile and the Gulf of Mexico. The bridge, also known as the “14 Mile Bridge,” due to its location at mile 14 of the Mobile River, has been a safety concern for towing vessels for many years. The existing “14-Mile Bridge” was originally constructed in 1925. It operates as a swing span, pivoting to allow the passage of tugs, barges and recreational vessels through a 146-foot wide opening. Replacing the existing swing span with a vertical lift span will provide a much needed 300-foot wide opening. The lift span will rise 60 feet, providing plenty of vertical clearance for vessels that routinely use the waterway.

The Coast Guard has worked closely with towing vessel operators, Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority, Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association, Army Corps of Engineers, Alabama State Docks, CSX Railroad and Scott Bridge Company to minimize traffic disruptions and create an orderly process for managing towing vessel and rail traffic during the final phase of this three-year plan to upgrade the inland waterways infrastructure.

The Coast Guard plays a key role in navigability infrastructure improvement, promoting safer waterways and working to cooperatively resolve competing navigational needs. The replacement of the CSX Railroad Bridge is a Truman-Hobbs Act funded project. The Truman-Hobbs Act provides for the use of federal funds to alter bridges found to be unreasonable obstructions to navigation and is administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The total project cost is estimated at $72 million, of which approximately 94 percent is being funded by the federal government.

“The replacement of the CSX Railroad Bridge will result in improvements to U.S. maritime infrastructure and enhance commercial trade within our ports and industries,” said Lt. Lenell Carson, Coast Guard Sector Mobile, Waterways Management.

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