State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) says there are still conversations to be had about how to best use the Foley Beach Express bridge once ALDOT buys it.

Officials announced Thursday that ALDOT would pay $57 million to Baldwin County Bridge Company (BCBC) for the bridge and would pay the city of Orange Beach $3 million for road improvements in the area. The plan is to eventually make the bridge northbound only and to have a nearby bridge that is being built be the southbound bridge.

The completion of the new bridge is expected to be in the spring or early summer of 2026. However, Elliott wants to make sure that’s what’s best for tourists and people who live and work on the island.

“I still think there are some conversations to have about how they flow exactly,” said Elliott. “My mayor's down there, I think understand the very unique traffic situation we have with 8 million visitors coming in on and off the island every year. Eight million visitors every year and about 100,000 on the weekends. I mean, we move the equivalent of an Iron Bowl every weekend and so it's a key area for Alabama tourism and Alabama revenue, or revenue for the state of Alabama. So I'm thrilled to see the investment. We've got to make sure everything connects the right way. All the I's are not dotted and T's are not crossed yet but overall, it's certainly a good day.”

The plan is to widen Canal Drive to five lanes between the two bridges but Elliott said there are concerns on the other side of the Intercoastal Waterway as well.

“So right now, Director [John] Cooper's new bridge that they are still building connects to County Road 4, which is an east-west road without any other connections to north and south, which is kind of what we have to know,” Elliott said. “We live on an island, so we're gonna have to figure that out still. And how much local money or not will be interest. There are those of us that still live and work and play in that area. And we still have to get around on a daily basis.”

Elliott said he was thrilled that ALDOT is spending another $60 million in his district and that he would continue speaking to local leaders about their needs.

“You know, my job is to advocate on their behalf, and while the press release today said it's going to be this way, we need to continue to have those discussions to make sure that it works well,” he said. "Again, for the people that work and live there, and not just the folks that play there.”

While it’s not in his district, Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore) said the bridge continues to be a controversial issue that’s impacting counties in his district.

“That's not in my district, but it affects and afflicts the rest of my districts,” Albritton said. “As I understand it, there are still controversies and conflicts between the city and the state, and counties as to how we're going to develop that. That, again, is continuing to be a moving target. We hope we'll work something out about it.”

BCBC raised rates last fall and said it had no choice after months of court battles with ALDOT. The sale will terminate the lawsuit filed by BCBC and will mean Orange Beach will not longer receive revenue from the tolls.

Refunds for accountholders will begin in June and will be made to the credit card on file or by an emailed check. Those refunds should be sent by June 24.

Further information about account refunds is available at, by calling (251) 968-3415, or via email at

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