MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. – The Mobile County Commission approved a contract at its Aug. 14 meeting to begin construction for the Dauphin Island Causeway Restoration Project, which will restore tidal habitat along the 3.3-mile stretch of Dauphin Island Causeway (SR 193) from Mobile County’s Bayfront Park to Cedar Point.
The project is funded by grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund and the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund with the goals of protecting infrastructure and creating habitat injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil Spill, respectively. The Mobile County Commission approved grant acceptance for this project in May of 2021. No matching funds will be required from the Mobile County Commission.
Carter Contracting Services, Inc. was awarded the contract to construct the rock breakwaters along the Dauphin Island Causeway for their low bid of $26,685,698. The work is expected to begin in the fall of 2023 and conclude by the summer of 2024. The rock breakwaters will be placed roughly parallel to the Dauphin Island Causeway at variable offshore distances to recreate known historic shoreline proportions.
The Dauphin Island Causeway Shoreline & Habitat Restoration Project will protect Dauphin Island’s only access road from storm impacts and erosion and it will protect nearly 300 acres of healthy, productive salt marsh habitat to the west side of the Dauphin Island Causeway upon which many of the state’s commercially and recreationally significant fish, shellfish and native bird populations rely.
“We’re delighted to see work begin on what is the largest and most significant investment in an Alabama coastal restoration project,” said District 3 Commissioner Randall Dueitt, who represents the area where the work will occur. “This is a fitting use of oil spill dollars because restoring the shoreline to historic proportions using modern engineering techniques will protect an important roadway and important habitats,” he added.
This NFWF-funded project received support from Gov. Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and its Commissioner Chris Blankenship, and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. It is possible through additional support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile County Environmental Services, Moffatt & Nichol, Mott McDonald, and many others.
Alabama Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship said, “I am excited to see this very important coastal resilience project begin. Not only will this project protect the only roadway connecting Dauphin Island to the mainland, it will be constructed in a way that is beneficial for crabs, shrimp, fin fish and oyster resources. The partnerships between Mobile County, the Corps of Engineers, the State of Alabama, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the MBNEP and many others cannot be understated. It takes us all working together to accomplish a project of this magnitude. I appreciate Mobile County Commissioner Dueitt and his team for leading this effort.”
Construction should only minimally impact navigation, but the contractor will place and maintain navigation warning signs in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard. Positioning of the breakwaters was carefully determined and the project should not impact waves, currents, tidal flow, or active reefs.
After the rock breakwaters are complete, a sand berm and marsh fill will be placed behind the line of breakwaters. The timeline for project completion is somewhat dependent upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging to deepen the Mobile Bay Shipping Channel.
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