Alabama State Route 255

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State Route 255 marker

State Route 255
Research Park Boulevard
SR 255 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by ALDOT
Length10.052 mi[1] (16.177 km)
Major junctions
South endRideout Road in Redstone Arsenal
 
I-565 / US 72 Alt. in Huntsville
US 72 in Huntsville
SR 53 in Huntsville
North endBob Wade Lane in Huntsville
Location
CountiesMadison
Highway system
  • Alabama Highways
SR 253SR 257

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.

History[edit]

SR 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/SR 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 SR 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.

SR 255 was originally name Rideout Road in honor of 1st Lt. Percy Rideout, who was killed in action in France on October 8, 1918 and was posthumously promoted and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “extraordinary heroism in action.[2] 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.

Future plans[edit]

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.[3] As of 2009, the project was put on hold indefinitely due to military security concerns.[4] Subsequently, the route was re-planned, and the current plan does not call for using any part of SR 255.[5]

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.[6] However, as of August 2013, the construction phase was still not funded.[7] In December 2013, the Huntsville City Council approved a sales tax increase to raise funds for this and other road projects around Huntsville; this went into effect 1 March 2014.[8]

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. In 2012 the Alabama DOT informed the city of Huntsville that the state will not pay for this project. However, in 2017, the ADOT reached an agreement with Madison County to build the interchange; the county announced on September 10 that work will begin before the end of the year. [9]

Major junctions[edit]

The entire route is in Madison County.

Locationmi[10][1]kmDestinationsNotes
Huntsville0.0000.000Rideout RoadRedstone Arsenal Gate 9; southern terminus
0.4350.700
I-565 / US 72 Alt. – Decatur
I-565 exit 14
Huntsville0.91.4Old Madison PikeInterchange
1.93.1Bradford DriveInterchange
2.8534.591 US 72 (University Drive/SR 2) – Huntsville, AthensInterchange
3.96.3Oakwood RoadInterchange
4.97.9Plummer RoadInterchange
6.35010.219 SR 53 – Ardmore, HuntsvilleInterchange (opened 2013)
7.211.6Northern end of freeway
7.712.4Kelly Cemetery RoadAt-grade intersection
8.714.0Pulaski PikeAt-grade intersection, signalled
10.05216.177Bob Wade LaneNorthern terminus; continuation north
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Milepost Map - Madison County, Alabama (PDF) (Map). Alabama Department of Transportation. Bureau of Transportation Planning. Surveying and Mapping Division. January 2014 [1999]. Retrieved 2017-08-04.
  2. ^ https://www.facebook.com/ArmyMaterielCommand/photos/a.190603131000.158092.119621891000/10153440889966001/
  3. ^ U.S. 72 (Corridor 7) Archived 2009-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "No Bypass Across Redstone." Huntsville Times. 22 April 2009. http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/1240391803127260.xml&coll=1 Archived 2011-06-09 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Al.com. "New Patriot Parkway Route Follows Jordan Lane, Patton Road". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  6. ^ Huntsville MPO. 2030 Long-Range Transportation Plan. 2005. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2006-06-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ HuntsvilleAL.gov. "Restore Our Roads: Northern Bypass Would Connect 72E to I-565 at Redstone Arsenal". Archived from the original on 2014-02-28.
  8. ^ Al.com. "Huntsville's sales tax will jump to 9 percent on March 1; City Council rejects sunset clause". Retrieved 19 February 2014.
  9. ^ WHNT-TV. "Preliminary work set to begin on Blake Bottom Road overpass this fall". WHNT.com.
  10. ^ Google (January 20, 2013). "Alabama State Route 255" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 20, 2013.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata
  • Alabama Department of Transportation county road maps for Madison (Adobe Acrobat reader required for maps; enlargement of maps necessary for legibility)