Interstate 65 in Alabama

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This article is about the section of Interstate 65 in Alabama. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 65.

Interstate 65 marker

Interstate 65
Route information
Maintained by ALDOT
Length: 367 mi[1] (591 km)
Major junctions
South end: I‑10 in Mobile
  I‑165 in Prichard
I‑85 in Montgomery
I‑459 in Hoover
I‑20 / I‑59 in Birmingham
I‑22 in Fultondale

I‑565 / US-72 Alt. in Decatur
North end: I-65 at Tennessee state line
Highway system
  • Alabama State Routes
SR-64 SR-65

Interstate 65 (I-65), beginning in Mobile at an interchange with I-10, meanders across 367 miles (591 km) of the Alabama countryside linking six of the state's ten largest cities. The highway links together many important roadways that make commerce inside and outside of the state's boundaries possible. The interstate exits at the Alabama/Tennessee state line, north of Athens.

The entire Alabama portion of I-65 is dedicated as Heroes Highway,[2] in honor of the CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann and all of the people who died during the September 11 attacks.

Route description[edit]

I-65 starts in Mobile at an interchange with Interstate 10, not far from the Gulf of Mexico. From there it runs northeast, intersecting with I-165 in Prichard, Alabama and crossing the Mobile River delta at the General W.K. Wilson Jr. Bridge. En route to Montgomery, it passes county seats Evergreen (Conecuh County) and Greenville (Butler County). In the case of an hurricane evacuation on Alabama's coast, I-65 can be converted to an evacuation route where all lanes flow in the northbound direction from Mobile to Montgomery. This process is known as contra-flow.

This billboard along I-65 North, north of Prattville and just south of mile marker 191, urges people to attend church.[3][4][5]

At Montgomery, it intersects the southern terminus of I-85 and crosses the Alabama River north of the city. The Hyundai Corporation's automotive plant in Montgomery is located just off I-65. It can be accessed using the Pintlala-Hope Hull exit (number 164).

At Chilton County, I-65 enters the Birmingham, Alabama, metropolitan area. Approximately halfway between Montgomery and Birmingham, it passes Clanton (Chilton County seat), where the water tower, visible from the road, is shaped and painted to resemble a huge peach.

From mile marker 242 to 290 I-65 carries at least 6 lanes of traffic. I-65 intersects I-459 in Hoover, then passes through the cities of Vestavia Hills and Homewood, which often generate heavy traffic. As the interstate passes by downtown Birmingham, south-bound travelers have a view of the Vulcan statue atop Red Mountain. At the north edge of downtown, I-65 intersects I-20/I-59 with a cross-over interchange, often called Malfunction Junction.

North of Birmingham at mile 266, interchange ramps provide access to parallel US-31. The incomplete I-22 from Memphis, Tennessee is expected to intersect there with the most expensive interchange in Alabama history, consisting of approximately 14 bridges. The interstate then continues 98 miles (158 km) in the general direction of Huntsville, passing the city of Cullman on the way. After entering the Decatur Metropolitan Area, in southern Morgan County, the interstate passes Decatur. The highway connects the Decatur and Huntsville Metropolitan Areas as it crosses Wheeler Lake (Tennessee River) on a 2.6-mile (4.2 km) bridge. The interstate emerges again into the fringes of Decatur, in an open area of seemingly "endless" cotton fields where it intersects, inside Decatur, with Alabama 20, US-72 Alternate, and the spur-route, I-565 to Huntsville.

Between Walkers Chapel Road in Fultondale and the Tennessee River in Decatur (Limestone County), I-65 has been designated the "Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway". The sign designating the north end of this portion of road cites Reagan's speech in Decatur on July 4, 1984. The interstate then continues towards the state line, passing Athens, where it merges with US-31. At the state line, the southbound lanes receive a welcome center, complete with a Saturn I rocket.

In the Birmingham/Hoover vicinity, a plan to widen the interstate from North Birmingham to Alabaster has been proposed. The project is to widen the interstate by adding a HOV lane and keeping the original 3 lanes making it four lanes in each direction. This is planned to stretch to the Pelham area. From there on the interstate will widen from 2 lanes each way to 3 lanes each way into the Helena/Alabaster area.

Preliminary roadwork to widen I-65 on either side of the new interchange has been ongoing since 2007. I-22 will provide a direct link between Birmingham and Memphis, Tennessee. Currently no good Interstate Highway link exists between these two cities, making Memphis one of the few major Southeastern cities without a good interstate routing to Atlanta, a nexus of transportation in the Southeast.

Near the northern border of Alabama with Tennessee on southbound I-65 is located the Alabama Welcome Center and rest area. The unique feature of this rest area compared to others is the existence of a large Saturn IB rocket erected on the site as a memorial to Alabama's—and in particular, Huntsville's—contribution to NASA's space exploration.[6]

History[edit]

In 1997, at Georgiana (Exit 114), honoring legendary country musician and Alabama native Hank Williams, the interstate was designated as Hank Williams' Memorial "Lost Highway", after one of his songs. This designation continues northward until mile 179 north of Montgomery. From the state's capital, I-65 doglegs northwards, bypassing Prattville and Clanton before going through Metropolitan Birmingham, Alabama. From exit 242 to 290, this highway carries at least six lanes of traffic. A portion of the interstate running through Birmingham, has been nicknamed for its numerous wrecks. These accidents include two separate occasions of the support beams melting after crashes by 18-wheelers, and the numerous collisions that happen every year, result from the junction with I-20 and I-59.

In 2004, following the death of President Ronald Reagan, a lengthy segment of I-65 from Jefferson County to Limestone County was designated the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway. The sign designating the north end of the segment includes a statement from Reagan's speech at Point Mallard Aquatic Center in nearby Decatur on July 4, 1984.

Future[edit]

I-22 will connect with I-65 at the new exit 265. Construction on this interchange was expected to begin in August 2009.

Just a few miles north of I-22 will be the new interchange (exit 274), which will be the Corridor X-1 and has been designated as I-422. This loop route will connect I-65 with I-59 northeast of Birmingham and I-20/I-59 southwest of Birmingham, and this will serve as an Interstate Highway bypass of Birmingham, augmenting the existing I-459, which already provides the southern loop of Birmingham. Construction of this interchange is still several years away, but right-of-way is in the process of being acquired to build I-422.

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
Mobile Mobile 0 I‑10 – Mississippi, Florida Southbound exit and northbound entrance
1 US-90 (Government Boulevard, SR-16)
3 Airport Boulevard Serves Mobile Regional Airport and University of South Alabama
4 Dauphin Street
5A Springhill Avenue
5B US-98 (Moffett Road, SR-42)
Prichard 8 US-45 (SR-13) – Prichard, Citronelle
9 I‑165 south – Prichard, Downtown Mobile
Chickasaw 10 West Lee Street
Saraland 13 SR-158 / SR-213 – Eight Mile, Saraland
15 Saraland, Citronelle
  19 US-43 – Satsuma, Creola
  22 Creola
Mobile River
Tensaw River
General W.K. Wilson Jr. Bridge
Baldwin   31 SR-225 – Stockton, Spanish Fort
  34 SR-59 – Bay Minette, Stockton
  37 SR-287 (Gulf Shores Parkway) – Bay Minette, Rabun
  45 Rabun, Perdido
Escambia   54 CR-1
  57 SR-21 – Atmore, Uriah
  69 SR-113 – Flomaton, Wallace
Conecuh   77 SR-41 – Brewton, Repton
  83 Castleberry, Lenox
  93 US-84 (SR-12) – Evergreen, Monroeville
  96 SR-83 – Evergreen, Midway
  101 Owassa
Butler   107 Grace, Garland
  114 SR-106 – Georgiana, Starlington
Greenville 128 SR-10 – Greenville, Pine Apple Southern end of SR-10 Truck overlap
130
SR-185 / SR-10 Truck east – Greenville
Northern end of SR-10 Truck overlap
Lowndes   142 SR-185 – Fort Deposit, Logan
  151 SR-97 – Letohatchee, Davenport
  158 To US-31 (SR-3) – Pintlala, Tyson
Montgomery   164 US-31 (SR-3) – Pintlala, Hope Hull
Montgomery 167 US-80 west (SR-8 west) – Selma Southern end of US-80/SR-8 overlap
168 US-80 east / US-82 east (South Boulevard, SR-6 east/SR-8 east/SR-21) to US-231 (SR-53) / US-331 (SR-9) Northern end of US-80/SR-8 overlap; southern end of US-82/SR-6 overlap
169 Edgemont Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
170 Fairview Avenue
171 I‑85 north / Day Street – Atlanta
172 Herron Street, Clay Street – Downtown Montgomery
Bridge over the Alabama River
173 To US-231 (North Boulevard)
Elmore Millbrook 176 SR-143 – Millbrook, Coosada Northbound exit and southbound entrance
MillbrookPrattville city line 179 US-82 west (SR-6 west) to Montgomery Toll Road – Millbrook, Prattville Northern end of US-82/SR-6 overlap
Prattville 181 SR-14 – Prattville, Wetumpka
Autauga 186 US-31 (SR-3) – Pine Level, Prattville
Chilton   200 Verbena
Clanton 205 US-31 / SR-22 (SR-3) – Clanton, Verbena
208 Clanton, Lake Mitchell
212 SR-145 – Clanton, Lay Dam Peach Tower exit
  219 Jemison, Thorsby
Shelby Calera 228 SR-25 – Montevallo, Calera
231 US-31 (SR-3) – Saginaw, Calera, Montevallo
234 Shelby County Airport
  238 US-31 (SR-3) – Alabaster, Saginaw
Pelham 242 CR-52 – Pelham, Helena
246 SR-119 (Cahaba Valley Road)
Hoover 247 CR-17 (Valleydale Road)
Jefferson 250 I‑459 – Atlanta, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa
  252 US-31 (Montgomery Highway, Alabama State Route 3SR-3)
  254 Alford Avenue
Homewood 255 Lakeshore Drive
256 Oxmoor Road – Homewood Signed as exits 256A (west) and 256B (east) southbound
Birmingham 258 Green Springs Avenue
259A Signed as exit 259 northbound
259B 4th Avenue South Southbound exit and northbound entrance
260 US-11 (3rd Avenue North, US-78/SR-4 east/SR-7) / 6th Avenue North – Downtown Birmingham Southern end of SR-4 overlap; signed as exit 260B northbound
261 I‑20 (SR-4 west) / I‑59 – Gadsden, Atlanta, Tuscaloosa Northern end of SR-4 overlap; signed as exits 261A (east/north) and 261B (west/south)
262A 16th Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
262B Finley Boulevard To US-78
263 32nd Avenue, 33rd Avenue
264 Daniel Payne Drive
Fultondale 265 US-31 (SR-3) – Fultondale, future I‑22 west – Memphis 265B (north) to US-31N opened August 2014; exit 265A (south) and link to I-22 remain under construction
266 US-31 (SR-3) – Fultondale Signed as exits 266A (south) and 266B (north)
267 Walker Chapel Road
Gardendale 271 Fieldstown Road
272 Mt. Olive Road actually takes motorists to Mt. Olive Boulevard, which intersects Mt. Olive Road about a quarter mile east of the exit
  275 To US-31 (SR-3) – Morris
Warrior 280 US-31 (SR-3) – Warrior
281 Warrior
282 Robbins, Warrior
Blount Smoke Rise 284 US-31 south (SR-3 south) / SR-160 east – Hayden, Corner Southern end of US-31/SR-3 overlap
287 US-31 north (SR-3 north) – Garden City, Blount Springs Northern end of US-31/SR-3 overlap
  289 Empire, Blount Springs
Cullman   291 SR-91 – Hanceville, Colony
  299 SR-69 south – Jasper, Dodge City Southern end of SR-69 overlap
  304 SR-69 north – Cullman, Good Hope Northern end of SR-69 overlap
Cullman 308 US-278 (SR-74) – Cullman, Double Springs
310 SR-157 – Cullman, Moulton
Morgan   318 US-31 (SR-3) – Lacon, Vinemont
  322 Falkville, Eva
Hartselle 325 Thompson Road
328 SR-36 – Hartselle
DecaturPriceville city line 334 SR-67 – Decatur, Priceville, Somerville
Wheeler Lake
Tennessee River
Bridge over Wheeler Lake and Tennessee River
Limestone Huntsville 340 I‑565 east / SR-20 west (US-72 Alt.) – Huntsville, Decatur Signed as exits 340A (west) and 340B (east) southbound
Tanner 347 Huntsville–Browns Ferry Road
Athens 351 US-72 (SR-2) – Athens, Huntsville
354 US-31 south – Athens Southern end of US-31 overlap
  361 Elkmont
  365 SR-53 – Ardmore
  I-65 north – Nashville Continuation into Tennessee
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Lane configurations[edit]

Total Mileage in Alabama-366.00 miles

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ FHWA Route Log and Finder List: Table 1
  2. ^ "Heroes Highway of Alabama". Montgomerygop.net. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  3. ^ "My Favorite Billboard". Rurality. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ Simon, Scott (July 23, 2005). "Alabama Billboard's Message Changes". All Things Considered. NPR. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  5. ^ "In Alabama: Go to Church or THE DEVIL Will Get You". October 21, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  6. ^ Hughes, Bayne (April 6, 2014). "Iconic rocket due for repair". Decatur Daily. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

Interstate 65
Previous state:
Terminus
Alabama Next state:
Tennessee