Going To The Beach? Here’s How To Avoid The Tunnel Traffic In Mobile
The highway mileage signs read Pensacola is less than an hour away. You're on I-10 and you've been in Alabama for about 15 minutes. You're excited because you just know in an hour or maybe less you'll have sand between your toes and the smell of coconut sunscreen in your nose. Then the traffic comes to a dead stop. Welcome to the mile or so just west of the entrance to the George C. Wallace Tunnel that goes under Mobile Bay.
It can be the most frustrating part of your vacation. You're so close but you're not there and you're not moving. There are jackwagons driving on the shoulder and waiting until the last minute to merge into the two lanes of tunnel traffic. You're tired from the drive, you're deflated by the delay, and somebody probably needs to pee.
There is an alternative route around that darn tunnel and at the risk of having more traffic on my usual route through Mobile here is how you negotiate your way around the tunnel traffic.
This hint works best when you're traveling on a Saturday or Sunday by the way. If you take this route on a business day you might run into some local surface street traffic that could make this route a little more tedious than you want it to be.
Here are the nickel directions around the tunnel traffic. Off of I-10 in Alabama take the Canal/Water Street Exit (#26 A/B) off the interstate. That will take you to U.S. Highway 90.Technically you will be on Government street. Take Highway 90/Government Street to the east through the heart of Mobile. It is a residential and local business street so there are traffic lights and stop signs to contend with. Government Street will take you to the "Old Tunnel".
This will open out onto Battleship Parkway, which is still Highway 90 and also referred to as Old Spanish Trail locally. I don't know why it has three names but this is Alabama. Regardless of what you call the darn road it will carry you back to I-10 east.
If you feel the I-10 traffic is still to heavy at the interchange you can stay on Old Spanish Trail, Battleship Parkway, U.S. 90 all the way across Mobile Bay. You will then have to follow the signs to get back to I-10. Here's a warning, you might go by the Bass Pro Shop and that can lead to a further delay in your travel plans. However, they do have a place to pee there.
There is your secret trick around the traffic in Mobile. Does it save you time? Not always but in my world forward motion feels better than being at a dead stop. Maybe the time saving is all in my mind but since I am driving you can just pipe down and don't make me come back there.