3 votes

John H. Bankhead Tunnel


Photo taken by Calvin Sneed in June 2010


BH Photo #168280

Street View 


Sections pre-assembled, brought to location, then sunk 40 feet below ship channel.. Sections concreted together to form seal (method similar to Wallace Tunnel located just south of it).


Single two-lane tunnel under Mobile River on US 98 (old U.S. 90) in Mobile
Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama
Open to traffic
Built 1940
- Alabama Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co. of Mobile, Alabama
- Works Progress Administration
Tunnel 40 feet below the Mobile Bay ship channel, features a flood door at eastern entrance
Total length: 3,389.0 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+30.69161, -88.03513   (decimal degrees)
30°41'30" N, 88°02'06" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/400861/3395882 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
AL 2370 (Alabama bridge number)
BH 10172 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 28, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • April 7, 2012: New photo from David Backlin
  • December 31, 2010: Updated by Mark Frazier: Fixed typo in builder name


  • Calvin Sneed - us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Mark Frazier - mfrazier404 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • David Backlin - us71 [at] cox [dot] net
  • wikipedia
  • Geoff Hubbs


John H. Bankhead Tunnel
Posted February 24, 2016, by Glyn Robinson (contactbluebird [at] hotmail [dot] com)

John H Bankhead was the father of good roads. He was able to get federal dollars appropriated to fund the Bankhead Highway that runs from Washington DC to San Diego CA. He was from Jasper AL.

John H. Bankhead Tunnel
Posted February 26, 2014, by Larry Cody (Lcody [at] mindspring [dot] com)

The Bankhead Tunnel was originally a toll tunnel, with toll booths on the eastern side of the tunnel at the Mobile Bay Causeway. In one of the few instances I'm aware of, Alabama DOT eliminated the tolls once the bonds were paid and in the late 1960s, the tolls ceased. Shortly thereafter, the toll plaza itself was torn down and removed.

On another note, this tunnel had recessed metal doors which could be deployed to seal the tunnel during storms. My last recollection of their use was in 1979, to prevent tunnel flooding during Hurricane Frederick.

John H. Bankhead Tunnel
Posted June 26, 2010, by Calvin Sneed (us43137415 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

After closely examining the inside of the tunnel, it is my unofficial opinion that no trailers of ANY kind would make it through, regardless of whether they carry propane bottles or tanks. The clearance is just not there. See the pictures of the overhead bar on the downtown Mobile side...those are chains suspended in mid-air. If the top of the trailer hits those chains (and they're pretty loud), it will hit the top of the tunnel.

There is also a camera focused on the approaching traffic. If the camera detects a vehicle with a high top, it sends a STOP! DO NOT ENTER TUNNEL! message on the overhead board sign that flashes to the oncoming vehicle.

Do not try Bankhead with a trailer. Either Wallace, or the Cochrane-Africatown bridge.

Bankhead Tunnel
Posted April 19, 2008, by Ed Horton (edhorton [at] cp-tel [dot] net)

I have been told that you cannot pull a trailer through the tunnel if you have a propane bottle in the trailer. Fifth-wheel trailers have porpane bottles to run the refrigerator, heater, etc.. Does anyone know the real facts about this. Please e-mail me with the facts. Thanks.