Alabama's Contract Review Committee held a meeting Thursday during which it approved a $600,000 increase in a legal contract for Balch & Bingham law firm to represent the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) in a Baldwin County bridge dispute.

Per the contract, which ends November 2024, Balch and Bingham will "provide [ALDOT with] representation and advice regarding possible and actual litigation in a dispute by the Baldwin County Bridge Company (BCBC) regarding the bridge and road project in Baldwin County."

The new legal contract total is $1.4 million.

"This one is just the gift that keeps on giving. We're now a new total of $1.4 million in legal on that one. It's just frustrating," State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) said at the committee meeting on Thursday.

The Intercostal Waterway bridge project was halted in May after a judge ordered a preliminary injunction. According to the BCBC, ALDOT director John Cooper operated in bad faith when he chose to build a new, free bridge near the existing toll bridge owned by BCBC. The case has been sent to the Alabama Supreme Court.

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