During the latter 1950s and all through the 1960s, Huntsville underwent massive population growth due to the establishment of the U.S. Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, and the new NASAMarshall Space Flight Center. By 1960, Huntsville had grown to more than twice the size of Decatur. It became clear that an Interstate Highway spur route would be beneficial to connect Huntsville with I-65, and thence to the rest of the country. I-565 was chosen as the Federal Highway Administration's number for this proposed spur expressway. It was decided that rather than terminating at the western edge of Huntsville, I-565 would extend farther eastward, providing an east-west freeway for Huntsville. On the eastern edge of Huntsville, I-565 was designed to feed into U.S. Highway 72, which was being widened to a four-lane highway running from Huntsville to Kimball, Tenn., where it feeds into Interstate 24.
On November 20, 2006, a school bus carrying high school students collided with another vehicle or swerved to avoid a collision and drove off an elevated off-ramp, falling nose-first approximately 30 feet (9.1 m) to the ground. Four teenage girls were killed in the accident.
Plans are currently in place to extend I-565 east several miles past the junction of U.S. Highway 72 along a newly upgraded freeway section of US 72 east of Huntsville. Construction could start on two new exits at Moores Mill Road and Shields Road by 2015. In Madison, Ala., construction should start by 2013 to create an interchange at County Line Road. An extension of 565 west, from the current terminus at I-65, along the route of Alabama Hwy. 20 and Alternate US 72 to its junction with U.S. Highway 31 near Decatur, is also planned. In January 2007, politicians in Northwestern Alabama announced that they would launch a campaign to extend I-565 westward to Florence. I-565 is part of a proposed highway that would connect Memphis, Tenn., with Atlanta. Ga., via Rome, Ga., and Chattanooga as part of ISTEA High Priority Corridor 7.