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State Route 158 open to commercial possibilities while protecting the environment

Officials cut the ribbon to open SR-158 on October 17, 2023
Officials cut the ribbon opening SR-158 on October 27, 2023
Nov 01

Some have waited close to twenty years for a new highway connecting I-65 in Mobile to the Mississippi state line. When SR-158 opened to traffic on October 17, 2023, the wait was finally over and the environment had been protected.

Local elected officials, ALDOT engineers, and members of the community who witnessed the ups and downs of the massive 14.32-mile-wide open road had nothing but smiles on their faces as the yellow ribbon was cut and traffic started zipping on the new highway.

“They’ve gone above and beyond to try to protect the waterways that drain into the Big Creek Lake, which is our water reservoir, so I think everybody is satisfied,” said Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson, whose district includes a major portion of the project footprint.

In addition, SR-158 takes the heavy truck traffic off US-98 giving local commerce an additional route to transport goods and services throughout the region.

Innovative design protects the environment

The SR-158 project paused in 2007 after environmental delays required redesigns of the roadway. The project ramped up again in 2015, primarily due to the Alabama Legislature’s appropriation of BP Oil Spill settlement funds. Today the project is a model of environmentally friendly construction stormwater programs, roadway design, planning, and regulatory compliance.

The project features a Stormwater Runoff Collection System to protect waterways and streams feeding Big Creek Lake, the drinking water source for much of the Mobile area. In addition, a Hazardous Materials Containment System was permanently installed on the Big Creek bridge. The system is designed to contain any hazardous materials spilled as a result of a crash or emergency, separating it from a clean water source.

Alabama SR-158 received the Clear Water Alabama Award of Excellence

In 2022, the SR-158 project was recognized by Alabama’s Erosion and Sediment Control Partnership with the Clear Water Alabama Award of Excellence. The award recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated the importance of good stewardship of Alabama’s natural resources by the control of erosion, sediment, and construction of stormwater infrastructure.

“There are several stakeholders and special interests that bolstered our initiatives and allowed us to make ecological changes from our normal linear construction design. Their resolve has been instrumental in our success,” said ALDOT Environmental Engineer Tony Cooper. Cooper, and others over the years, oversaw the development and design of the environmental upgrades.

Part of ALDOT’s dedication to finding solutions as part of this project is also reflected in its commitment to funding millions of dollars in research and helping to establish an internationally respected stormwater research facility at Auburn University.

The current two-lane project is designed to be expanded to a four-lane highway in the future. Approximately seven miles are four-laned from the Mississippi state line to Jones Road in Mobile County.