Orange Beach takes first steps in Wolf Bay Bridge project

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 11/21/17

The Orange Beach City Council is looking to move forward with a task order with Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., to perform environmental studies, permitting and conceptual design of the Wolf Bay …

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Orange Beach takes first steps in Wolf Bay Bridge project

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The Orange Beach City Council is looking to move forward with a task order with Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., to perform environmental studies, permitting and conceptual design of the Wolf Bay Bridge.

The cost, $242,800, will include work associated with securing permits from the United States Coast Guard and the United States Corps of Engineers for the bridge and road improvements. It also includes updating environmental studies, hosting public meetings, preparing schematic bridge and roadway design and assisting the city secure permits for construction.

Mayor Tony Kennon said he was pleased with the city taking this step during a recent committee of the whole meeting.

“The good thing about this situation is the City of Orange Beach doing the bridge streamlines the entire process,” Kennon said. “We met with all the department heads today and I asked them all to evaluate exactly how an expansion to the north would affect them, what the coast would be. We’ve had a checklist to start going through to bring in all the consultants and financing.”

A long-lobbied for project, the bridge has had a lot of reaction from the public. Many residents have been waiting for such a bridge for upwards of 10 years.

“We’ve got everyone we can think of to bring in and look at what are the ramifications of a bridge attachment to the north shore, what our costs would be, what our capital improvement would be, what our obligations are, annexation, sitting down getting all the legal from each department,” Kennon said. “So we’re going to start forming a long checklist. We do not want any confusion moving forward and anyone looking back 10 years from now asking why didn’t we do that. We’re going to put as many eyes on it as we possibly can including the community because there’s a lot of talented folks out there that might help us catch something we might miss.”

Councilman Jerry Johnson said what the bridge would do for Orange Beach was amazing.

“It’s not a bridge that’s going to get a lot of traffic off,” Johnson said. “It’s a bridge to take us over to the northern part of Orange Beach and be able to connect to Co Rd. 95. We’re not going to be raising speed limits or anything like that because we don’t want to disturb that neighborhood up there.”

Kennon said his administration was trying to get ahead of growth on the island and make common traffic woes dissipate.

“We’re actually trying to put infrastructure in place prior to growth and development and infrastructure in place to handle the growth on the island over the next 20 years,” Kennon said. “So if the state falls through on the west, if we get all the Canal Road improvements completed I think we’re going to have traffic infrastructure that will make life easier for those who want to live south of the canal and for our tourists to be able to move around better.”

Approved during the regular city council meeting were:

-Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a task order with Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., to perform design and construction engineering and inspection services for the addition of a roundabout to the widening of Canal Road from SR-161 to Wilson Boulevard in an amount not to exceed $68,764.

-Resolution approving the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for the City of Orange Beach.

-Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a change order with Bay South Limited, Inc., for Sportsplex Ball Field Improvements in an amount not to exceed $6,445.

-Resolution authorizing the donation of a surplus 1992 KME Renegade Fire Truck and miscellaneous small equipment to the Repton Volunteer Fire Department.

-Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a drainage easement for drainage improvements north of Oak Ridge Subdivision.

-Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a sidewalk easement for the installation of a sidewalk west of Oak Ridge Subdivision.