FOLEY – The Foley Beach Express is on its way to becoming a state highway following action by the Foley City Council.

The council voted Monday, May 6, to transfer the city-owned section of the highway to the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The transfer will take place after work to repave and widen the roadway is completed. The repaving project is scheduled to be completed in 250 working days.

Foley City Administrator Mike Thompson said the road will receive a state highway designation when ALDOT takes over the route. He said, however, that the city can continue to use the name Foley Beach Express as a local designation.

“If you wanted to keep that name as a local name for that corridor, we can do so and that would allow us to keep the street signs that are out there that are in place today,” Thompson told council members. “Obviously ALDOT would be putting their black and white state highway signage up and down that corridor, just like what you see on Highway 59.”

Alabama 59 has the local designation of McKenzie Street through Foley, while U.S. 98 is Laurel Avenue in the city.

Thompson said continuing to list the road as the Foley Beach Express would allow 911 dispatchers as well as residents and businesses to continue to use the same addresses.

The Beach Express is expected to be designated Alabama 161 when the transfer is completed.

The Foley Beach Express between the intersection of Alabama 59 in north Foley and the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in Orange Beach was completed by the city in 2000. 

Baldwin County added an extension north from Foley to Interstate 10. That 13.2-mile section, known as the Baldwin Beach Express, was completed in 2014. The Baldwin County Commission voted in 2023 to transfer the county-maintained sections of the Beach Express to ALDOT.

The state announced recently that it plans to purchase the privately owned toll bridge. ALDOT is expected to discontinue tolls on the bridge after the purchase is finalized in May. 

Foley, Baldwin County and the owners of the bridge had a three-way agreement to maintain and operate the highway. With all sections of the route except the Foley Beach Express under state management, the City Council also voted Monday to end the agreement as part of the transfer