The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) released a statement Friday following the ruling of the Alabama Supreme Court concerning a bridge in south Baldwin County.
“This is an important victory for Alabama's coastal residents and millions of visitors to our state,” said ALDOT spokesman Tony Harris. "The need for a new, free bridge is obvious. Not a single justice on the Supreme Court voted to uphold the injunction. The Supreme Court’s decision means construction can restart on this project that will help relieve traffic congestion and provide an additional evacuation route. Construction can move forward in the coming weeks.”
On Friday, the Court ordered that the lower court reverse the preliminary injunction.
Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft is also celebrating the victory but said he would wait for the appeal process to expire before overreacting.
The controversial issue has yielded harsh words between Craft and Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon for nearly a year. Craft said the two could put the issue behind them and move forward for the future of both cities and citizens' quality of life and safety. He said the issue between the two has been represented incorrectly.
“Any debate back and forth with any others has been simply each of us representing our own responsibility,” Craft explained. “So, other opinions are to be expected. We don’t always agree. Neighboring cities don’t always agree. But in my opinion, our conflicts are nothing more than just us doing our job for our people. That’s all it is. So, I completely understand where the other mayor is coming from and it’s his right. My right was to do this, so there is no disrespect. I don’t feel disrespect to me and I don’t have any disrespect for them.”
There is an appeal opportunity for the Baldwin County Bridge Company, so Craft said he isn’t overreacting until the case is closed. However, he said if the new bridge is built, it will help when the Highway 59 bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway is repaired or replaced.
“That bridge is 55 years plus, I think, and the estimated use of a bridge is somewhere between 75 and 90 years, so you can see that one day that bridge is going to have to be redone,” he said.
In his opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker stated, "You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike.’ Deuteronomy 1:17 (NASB). Unless the Alabama government is the defendant.”
Craft held a brief press conference on Friday to discuss the ruling.
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