Elton B. Stephens Expressway

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U.S. Route 31 marker U.S. Route 280 marker

Elton B. Stephens Expressway
Red Mountain Expressway
Route information
Maintained by ALDOT
Length2.6 mi[1] (4.2 km)
Existed1970[citation needed]–present
Component
highways
Major junctions
South end US 31 / US 280 in Homewood
 
North end I-20 / I-59 / US 31 / US 280 in Birmingham
Location
CountiesJefferson
Highway system
  • Alabama Highways

The Elton B. Stephens Expressway, more commonly referred to locally as the Red Mountain Expressway, is a limited-access freeway serving as a north–south connection between Homewood and Mountain Brook south of Red Mountain with I-20/I-59 just to the northeast of downtown Birmingham. It was named for local businessman and philanthropist Elton Bryson Stephens, Sr., who chaired the Birmingham and Jefferson County Freeway and Expressway Committee. The expressway was largely built over the former path of 26th Street North and South.

The freeway generally carries three lanes for travel in each direction and carries traffic for both U.S. Route 31 (US 31) and US 280. From its southern terminus to University Boulevard, the freeway is mostly at-grade. Between University Boulevard and its northern terminus, the freeway is elevated.

Route description[edit]

Aerial image of the expressway
Aerial image of the expressway

History[edit]

Construction commenced in 1962 with the initial blasting of the Red Mountain Expressway Cut and construction of the interchange with Florida Short Route. The latter work was delayed by intransigence from the Jefferson County Board of Education, which denied crews access to the Shades Valley High School campus until the Alabama Department of Transportation secured replacement land for that condemned for highway use.

The Highland Avenue overpass was completed in January 1967. The cut was completed later that same year, with the highway opening in 1970.

Originally ending at 2nd Avenue North, its connection with I-20/I-59 and Carraway Boulevard was completed in the 1980s over the site of Birmingham’s grand Terminal Station demolished in 1969.

When the expressway was originally constructed, a cloverleaf exit was constructed at 1st Avenue North for southbound traffic. An on-ramp was constructed over the cloverleaf and used in the 1970s, but later removed. Currently, although the cloverleaf exit exists, it is closed to traffic.

In the months leading to 1996 Olympics soccer to be hosted in Legion Field, the Olympic soccer countdown clock was located on the Highland Avenue overpass.

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Jefferson County. All exits are unnumbered.

.
Locationmi[1]kmDestinationsNotes
Homewood0.00.0 US 31 south (Independence Drive) / US 280 east (Old Florida Short Route) – Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Botanical GardensSouthern terminus; southern end of US 31/US 280 concurrency; western terminus of unsigned SR 38
Birmingham0.50.8021st Avenue South – Homewood, Vulcan ParkSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
0.81.3Highland Avenue, Arlington AvenueNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
1.52.4 SR 149 (University Boulevard) – UAB, St. Vincent's Hospital
1.82.9 US 78 (SR 4 / 3rd Avenue South / 4th Avenue South)
2.13.4 US 11 (SR 7 / 1st Avenue North / 2nd Avenue North)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
2.33.72nd Avenue NorthNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
2.64.2 I-20 / I-59 / US 31 north / US 280 east – Tuscaloosa, Atlanta, GadsdenI-20/59 exit 126A; northern terminus of expressway, northern end of US 31/US 280 concurrency; western terminus of US 280
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Google (March 22, 2014). "Route of Elton B. Stephens Expressway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved March 22, 2014.

External links[edit]

KML is from Wikidata