Alabama State Route 255
|Research Park Boulevard|
Map before extension past SR-53
|Maintained by ALDOT|
|Length:||10.052 mi (16.177 km)|
|South end:||Rideout Road in Redstone Arsenal|
I‑565 / US 72 Alt. in the Redstone Arsenal
US 72 / SR 2 in Huntsville
SR 53 in Huntsville
|North end:||Bob Wade Lane in Huntsville|
Research Park Boulevard (State Route 255 or SR-255) runs from I-565 to Bob Wade Lane on the north and west sides of Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama. Much of the route is a limited access highway, with the entire route planned to be limited access. Plans call for the road to be extended to create a near-complete bypass around Huntsville.
State Route 255 was created around 1969 as part of a proposed northern bypass of Huntsville. The original route ran from Redstone Arsenal Gate 9 to US-72 as limited access highway with exits for U.S. Route 72 Alternate/State Route 20 (now Interstate 565), Old Madison Pike, and ending at US-72, with plans to extend north. The interchange with SR-20 was intended only to provide access to the Arsenal's Gate 9 and accordingly had an incomplete set of ramps; going southbound on 255 there was no direct access to 20, and from 20 it was only possible to enter 255 going southbound. SR-255 only appeared on maps and was unsigned, and was better known as Rideout Road. The road continues southward past Gate 9 into Redstone Arsenal and actually has an additional interchange at the Toftoy Thruway, but this is not considered part of the state route.
A fourth interchange opened in 1989. At that time, Bradford Drive was overpassed over 255 to connect the existing east side of Cummings Research Park to the recently opened west side. A set of ramps provided full access between the two roads. During the construction of I-565 in 1990, a truck towing a crane dislodged the southbound bridge over SR-20 forcing an earlier replacement of the bridge. SR-255 was first signed as an exit off of 565.
SR-255 was extended north in 1996 to State Route 53. The interchange with US-72 was modified as part of this work, and a third southbound lane was added between US-72 and Bradford Drive. However, an existing cloverleaf ramp that provided access from 72 westbound to 255 southbound was eliminated; it is now necessary for westbound 72 traffic to make a left turn across the eastbound lanes in order to reach southbound 255.
In 2001, the road was renamed Research Park Boulevard for Cummings Research Park, which the road bisects. (The southward extension into the Arsenal is still named Rideout Road.)
In 2005, a three-mile extension was constructed to connect with Bob Wade Lane on the north side of Huntsville. This section was named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and built to the same road standards as the present at-grade portion of SR-255, allowing for future upgrade to limited access. The road was built as part of a deal with the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama Plant to allow faster access to I-565. In 2013, the at-grade intersection with SR-53 was replaced with an interchange. As part of this work, existing at-grade intersections with Blake Bottom Road and Dan Tibbs Road were eliminated, making the route all freeway from the Arsenal boundary to SR-53.
||This section needs to be updated. (March 2016)|
A $500 million Southern Bypass through Redstone Arsenal, which would extend SR-255 south from its current terminus at 565 to US-231 in south Huntsville, has been proposed. It would have become part of the proposed Memphis-Huntsville-Atlanta highway. As of 2009, the project was put on hold indefinitely due to military security concerns. Subsequently, the route was re-planned, and the current plan does not call for using any part of SR-255.
In 2010, the city of Huntsville was to have begun construction to extend SR-255 to US-231/US-431 North towards Meridianville parallel to Bob Wade Lane. Long-range plans call for SR-255 to be built east and south to US-72 east of Huntsville. However, as of August 2013, the construction phase was still not funded. In December 2013, the Huntsville City Council approved a sales tax increase to raise funds for this and other road projects around Huntsville; this goes into effect 1 March 2014.
The extension of the freeway portion of SR-255 to SR-53 cut in half two feeder roads, Blake Bottom Road and Dan Tibbs Road, which provide access to numerous subdivisions in northwestern Huntsville. This has created a traffic bottleneck in the afternoon, as traffic going from northbound SR-255 to these roads has to take the SR-53 ramp and then make a U-turn at the interchange to get to the frontage road intersections on the southbound side. Accordingly, a plan has been published for an overpass at Blake Bottom Road to provide access from the northbound side of SR-255. However, in 2012 the Alabama DOT informed the city of Huntsville that the state will not pay for this project. The city is studying whether it can build the interchange independently.
The entire route is in Madison County.
|Redstone Arsenal||0.000||0.000||Rideout Road||Redstone Arsenal Gate 9|
I‑565 / US 72 Alt. – Decatur
|Exit 14 (I-565)|
|Huntsville||0.9||1.4||Old Madison Pike||Interchange|
|2.853||4.591||US 72 (University Drive) – Huntsville, Athens||Interchange|
|6.350||10.219||SR 53 – Ardmore, Huntsville||Interchange (opened 2013)|
|7.2||11.6||Northern end of freeway|
|7.7||12.4||Kelly Cemetery Road||At-grade intersection|
|8.7||14.0||Pulaski Pike||At-grade intersection, signalled|
|10.052||16.177||Bob Wade Lane|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Marengo Map - Madison County, Alabama (PDF) (Map). Alabama Department of Transportation. August 1999. Retrieved January 20, 2013.[permanent dead link]
- U.S. 72 (Corridor 7)
- "No Bypass Across Redstone." Huntsville Times. 22 April 2009. http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/1240391803127260.xml&coll=1
- Al.com. "New Patriot Parkway Route Follows Jordan Lane, Patton Road". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- Huntsville MPO. 2030 Long-Range Transportation Plan. 2005. http://www.ci.huntsville.al.us/Planning/majorstreetplan0405.pdf
- HuntsvilleAL.gov. "Restore Our Roads: Northern Bypass Would Connect 72E to I-565 at Redstone Arsenal".
- Al.com. "Huntsville's sales tax will jump to 9 percent on March 1; City Council rejects sunset clause". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- Al.com. "Blake Bottom Road overpass at Research Park Boulevard takes another step closer to reality". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- Google (January 20, 2013). "Alabama State Route 255" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 20, 2013.