Elton B. Stephens Expressway
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|Red Mountain Expressway|
|Maintained by ALDOT|
|Length||2.6 mi (4.2 km)|
|South end||US 31 / US 280 in Homewood|
|North end||I-20 / I-59 / US 31 / US 280 in Birmingham|
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.
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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.
The entire route is in Jefferson County. All exits are unnumbered..
|Homewood||0.0||0.0||US 31 south (Independence Drive) / US 280 east (Old Florida Short Route) – Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Botanical Gardens||Southern terminus; southern end of US 31/US 280 concurrency; western terminus of unsigned SR 38|
|Birmingham||0.5||0.80||21st Avenue South – Homewood, Vulcan Park||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|0.8||1.3||Highland Avenue, Arlington Avenue||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|1.5||2.4||SR 149 (University Boulevard) – UAB, St. Vincent's Hospital|
|1.8||2.9||US 78 (SR 4 / 3rd Avenue South / 4th Avenue South)|
|2.1||3.4||US 11 (SR 7 / 1st Avenue North / 2nd Avenue North)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|2.3||3.7||2nd Avenue North||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|2.6||4.2||I-20 / I-59 / US 31 north / US 280 east – Tuscaloosa, Atlanta, Gadsden||I-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|