Interstate 20 in Alabama
|Maintained by ALDOT|
|Length:||213 mi (343 km)|
|West end:||I-20 / I-59 at the Mississippi border near Cuba|
| I‑359 / US 11 / SR 69 in Tuscaloosa
US 82 in Tuscaloosa
I‑459 near Bessemer and in Irondale
I‑65 in Birmingham
US 31 / US 280 in Birmingham
I‑59 in Birmingham
US 78 (numerous locations)
US 431 in Oxford
|East end:||I‑20 at the Georgia line|
In Alabama, Interstate 20 travels 214.7 miles through the center of the state. It enters the state from Mississippi near Cuba, and travels northeastward through Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. At Birmingham, I-20 turns eastward and heads through Oxford before crossing the Georgia state line near Lebanon. Other cities on the route include Livingston, Bessemer, and Pell City.
For more than half its 130-mile (210 km) distance, I-20 overlaps Interstate 59 from the Mississippi border to eastern Birmingham near Birmingham International Airport. Mileage and exits on the concurrency are I-59's, although both routes have the same mileage for the Alabama duplex.
After Interstate 20/59 enters Alabama from Mississippi, they travel concurrently northeastward across the Tombigbee River and Black Warrior River delta country which is generally low-lying farmland until reaching Tuscaloosa. This area contains low population. US Highway 11 parallels this route from Mississippi northeastward while it passes through small towns like York, Livingston, and Eutaw before reaching Tuscaloosa.
From the Mississippi/Alabama state line to Tuscaloosa, Interstate 20/59 is a four-lane route. While passing Tuscaloosa, the route briefly becomes six lanes but once again becomes four lanes east of exit 73.
From Tuscaloosa to Birmingham, the route continues on an east/northeast heading traveling through rolling forested terrain until reaching Interstate 459 southwest of Bessemer. Most of this stretch is now a six-lane freeway and construction continues to widen the route just northeast of Tuscaloosa to six-lane capacity. This stretch also hosts the Mercedes auto plant which is a large employer of residents primarily from Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, and Bibb counties. Interstate 459 travels east and then northeast around the southern periphery of the Birmingham area before re-connecting first with Interstate 20 near Irondale and then terminating at Interstate 59 near Trussville. The Birmingham Northern Beltline Corridor X-1, which is slated to become Interstate 422, is to connect to I-20/59 at the Interstate 459 interchange; however, this project is still years away from completion.
After passing the Interstate 459 interchange, the route continues northeast through the Birmingham suburbs of Bessemer, Fairfield, and Hueytown and entering Birmingham near the Ensley community. The route continues east/northeast through downtown before reaching the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport where Interstate 59 continues northeast toward Gadsden and Interstate 20 turns eastward toward Atlanta. Most of this stretch is through urban areas including passing near the U.S. Steel plant near Fairfield. Near Fairfield and visible from the Interstate looking north and northwest are several smokestacks which is all that remain of several large steelmills that used to dominate the Ensley community of Birmingham.
As Interstate 20/59 travels eastward just past the Arkadelphia Road exit in the East Thomas community, the highway rises to the top of East Thomas hill, giving eastbound travelers an excellent view of the downtown Birmingham skyline just before reaching the interchange with Interstate 65. This interchange is known locally as "Malfunction Junction" due to the fact that the eastbound and westbound lanes briefly cross each other and the route has exit ramps for Interstate 65 on both sides of the road which can cause confusion and accidents.
As Interstate 20/59 leaves the downtown area, the route has an interchange with the Elton Stephens Expressway, also known locally as the Red Mountain Expressway, which travels south across the downtown area and into the southern Birmingham suburbs.
Once Interstate 20 turns away from Interstate 59, it begins an eastbound journey toward Georgia. The first two miles are a four-lane bridge of east Birmingham neighborhoods before reaching the shopping areas formerly known as Eastwood Mall and Century Plaza Mall. Eastwood Mall at its opening was the largest shopping mall in the Southeast while Century Plaza Mall was the first two-level shopping mall in Birmingham. Eastwood Mall was razed in 2006 and in its places exists a Wal-Mart Supercenter and other retailers. Century Plaza closed in June 2009 and the future of the site is still in question.
Interstate 20 is a six-lane freeway from exit 132 to exit 162. This route travels through rolling suburban country and crosses Interstate 459 near Irondale.
The section of Interstate 20 between Leeds and Pell City is arguably the most dangerous stretch of interstate highway in Alabama. The terrain is significantly hilly as the route passing across the northeast to southwest ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. There are two significant uphill grades in each direction which slows down truck traffic. However, due to the heavy volume of truck traffic combined with speeding car traffic, accidents are frequent and sometimes deadly. This part of Interstate 20 is sometimes called "Bloody 20". Between 2010 and 2014 work was completed to add additional lanes in each direction along I-20.
East of mile marker 155, the route once again becomes six lanes until reaching the Coosa River bridge near Riverside. This bridge is scheduled to be replaced when the stretch between the Coosa River and mile marker 172 is widened to six lanes from four lanes. However, no timetable for this project has been announced. Exits 165 and 168 serve the Honda Motor Company which has a plant at Lincoln. Exits 168 and 173 serve the Talladega Superspeedway which hosts two NASCAR racing weeks each year. The terrain east of mile marker 155 until reaching mile marker 191 is the relatively flat Coosa River valley.
East of mile marker 172 until mile marker 205, the route is once again six lanes. East of Exit 205, Interstate 20 remains a four-lane route until it reaches the Georgia state line (mile marker 215); however, in this area, construction is ongoing to widen the road to six lanes to the Georgia state line. The Anniston/Oxford area is served by exits 179, 185, 188, and 191.
Just east of exit 191 is a significant uphill/downhill grade (uphill eastbound/downhill westbound) approximately two miles long. Truck traffic is significantly slowed by this hill, causing occasional traffic backups. East of this incline, the route travels through generally rural forested rolling country until reaching the Georgia state line.
East of Birmingham, U.S. Route 78 serves as the parallel U.S. highway.
The completion of Interstate 20 in Alabama was done in numerous stages. Few segments were completed in such a way that they junctioned existing segments. The first section to be opened was a 21-mile segment between Leeds and Riverside in the early 1960s. The next section to open was a 28-mile segment between the Tuscaloosa and the Tuscaloosa/Jefferson County line in the mid-1960s.
The next section of I-20 to open in Alabama was a four-mile stretch between Avenue I in Ensley and Arkadelphia Road (U.S. 78/State Route 5) near Birmingham-Southern College. This was the first segment of Interstate highway to open in Birmingham. This segment, as well as a one-mile segment from the Mississippi state line to what is now Exit 1, leading to Cuba opened in the late 1960s.
The early 1970s saw more sections of Interstate 20 completed in Alabama, including a 50-mile segment between Epes and Tuscaloosa, a three-mile segment between Fairfield and Ensley, a two-mile segment between U.S. Route 78 and Interstate 65, a six-mile segment between U.S. Route 78 in Riverside and State Route 77 in Lincoln, then an additional 13 miles leading to State Route 21 at Oxford.
During the mid 1970s, I-20 was extended further east in Birmingham. The first segment to open east of I-65 was a short segment leading to 17th Street in downtown, then another segment that extended the route to 22nd Street near the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. The opening of additional segments continuing eastward led to temporary ends of I-20 at Tallapoosa Street (State Route 79) near Birmingham Municipal Airport, then at U.S. 78 in Irondale. Also, the segment of the route between Bessemer and Fairfield was completed. In the eastern part of the state, I-20 was extended east from Oxford to State Route 9 near Heflin.
During the late 1970s, Interstate 20 was completed in east Alabama; however, only six miles of the route was opened since the route was not complete in Georgia. The segment between the Alabama/Georgia state line and Douglasville was among the final segments of Interstate highway to be completed in Georgia. The temporary end of Interstate 20 in Alabama was at State Route 46. Also, the final section of Interstate 20 connecting Tuscaloosa and Birmingham was completed, as the section of U.S. Route 11 between the Tuscaloosa/Jefferson county line and Bessemer was upgraded from an expressway to a limited-access highway.
In the early 1980s segments connecting Cuba and Livingston and then Livingston and Epes completed Interstate 20 between the Mississippi state line and Birmingham. The final segment of the route to be completed was an eight-mile section between Irondale and Leeds. This segment opened in 1985.
Interstate 20 has no three-digit spur routes in Alabama, although at one time there was discussion of a spur northward from Oxford into Anniston which would also serve as a connection to the U.S. Army base at Fort McClellan as well as to Gadsden. The closing of the base as well as a lack of population between Anniston and Gadsden eliminated the necessity of such a route.
||This section contains a table that is missing mileposts for one or more junctions. Please help by .|
|Sumter||0.000||0.000||I-20 west / I-59 south – Meridian||Continuation into Mississippi|
|0.804||1.294||1||To US 80 east (SR 8 east) – Cuba, Demopolis|
|8.041||12.941||8||SR 17 – York|
|17.059||27.454||17||SR 28 – Livingston, Boyd|
|23.141||37.242||23||CR 20 – Gainesville, Epes|
|40.766||65.607||40||SR 14 – Aliceville, Eutaw|
|52.244||84.079||52||US 11 (SR 7) / US 43 (SR 13) – Knoxville|
|Tuscaloosa||68.033||109.489||68||Northport Tuscaloosa Western Bypass|
|71.367||114.854||71||I‑359 north / US 11 / SR 69 – Tuscaloosa, Moundville||Signed as exits 71A (south) and 71B (north), I-359 south exit 0, north exits 0A-B; Southern terminus of I-359|
|73.003||117.487||73||US 82 (SR 6 / McFarland Boulevard)|
|75.961||122.247||76||US 11 – Cottondale, East Tuscaloosa|
|79.895||128.579||79||US 11 (SR 7) – Coaling, Cottondale|
|97.138||156.328||97||US 11 south (SR 7 south) / SR 5 south – West Blocton, Centreville||South end of US-11 / SR-5 overlap|
|100.292||161.404||100||Abernant, Bucksville||Unsigned eastern terminus for SR-216|
|Jefferson||104.159||167.628||104||Rock Mountain Lake||McAshan Drive|
|106.201||170.914||106||I‑459 – Gadsden, Montgomery, Atlanta||I-459 exit 0|
|Bessemer||108.396||174.446||108||US 11 north / SR 5 north (SR 7 north / Academy Drive)||North end of US-11 / SR-5 overlap|
|110.021||177.062||110||Alabama Adventure Parkway|
|112.341||180.795||112||18th Street, 19th Street|
|115.520||185.911||115||Allison–Bonnet Memorial Drive, Jaybird Road|
|Fairfield||118.304||190.392||118||Valley Road – Fairfield|
|Birmingham||119.025||191.552||119||Lloyd Nolan Parkway||Signed as exit 119A southbound|
|119.727||192.682||119B||Avenue I||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|120.934||194.624||120||SR 269 (20th Street) / Ensley Avenue|
|121.238||195.114||121||Bush Boulevard||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|123.374||198.551||123||US 78 (SR 4 / Arkadelphia Road) / SR 5 – Jasper|
|124.740||200.750||124||I‑65 – Montgomery, Huntsville||Signed as exits 124A (south) and 124B (north); I-65 exits 261A-B|
|125.221||201.524||125A||17th Street – Downtown Birmingham||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|125.639||202.196||125B||22nd Street – Downtown Birmingham||Signed as exit 125 southbound|
|126.239||203.162||126A||US 31 (SR 3 / 11th Avenue North) / US 280 east (SR 38 east) / Carraway Boulevard – Civic Center||Western terminus of US-280|
|126.825||204.105||126B||31st Street North|
|128.257||206.410||128||SR 79 (Tallapoosa Street)|
|130.301||209.699||130A||I‑59 north – Gadsden||Eastern end of I-59 overlap|
|130.571||210.134||130B||US 11 (SR-7 / 1st Avenue North,) / 1st Avenue South||Signed as exits 130A (south) and 130B (north) eastbound|
|132.416||213.103||132A||To US 78 / Oporto-Madrid Boulevard||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|132.738||213.621||132B||To US 78 / Montevallo Road||Signed as exit 132 westbound|
|Irondale||133||To US 78 / Kilgore Memorial Drive|
|135||To US 78 / Old Leeds Road|
|136||I‑459 – Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden||I-459 exit 29|
|Leeds||140||US 78 (SR 4) – Leeds|
|St. Clair||144||US 411 (SR 25 / Ashville Road) – Leeds, Moody, Odenville||Signed as exits 144A (south) and 144B (north)|
|153||US 78 west (SR 4 west) – Chula Vista||Western end of US-78 overlap|
|Pell City||156||US 78 east (SR 4 east) – Eden, Pell City, Odenville||Eastern end of US-78/SR-4 overlap|
|158||US 231 (SR 53 / Martin Street) – Ashville, Pell City|
|Riverside||162||US 78 (SR 4) – Riverside, Pell City|
(Logan Martin Lake)
|Bridge over the Coosa River|
|168.108||270.544||168||SR 77 – Talladega, Lincoln|
|173.124||278.616||173||CR 5 – Eastaboga, Talladega Superspeedway, International Motorsports Hall of Fame|
|Oxford||179.729||289.246||179||SR 202 east – Munford, Coldwater||SR 202 western terminus|
|Calhoun||185.537||298.593||185||SR 21 (Quintard Drive) – Oxford, Anniston, Jacksonville|
|Anniston||188.034||302.611||188||US 431 north (SR 1 north) to US 78 / Leon Smith Parkway – Oxford, Anniston, Jacksonville||Northern end of US-431/SR-1 overlap|
|191.859||308.767||191||US 431 south (SR 1 south) to US 78||Southern end of US-431/SR-1 overlap|
|Cleburne||199.374||320.861||199||SR 9 (Almon Street) – Heflin, Hollis|
|205.054||330.002||205||SR 46 – Ranburne|
|Tallapoosa River||Bridge over the Tallapoosa River|
|210.268||338.394||210||CR 49 – Ranburne, Muscadine|
|214.778||345.652||I‑20 east – Atlanta||Continuation into Georgia|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- FHWA Route Log and Finder List U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration (2002). Accessed May 3, 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Interstate 20 in Alabama.|
- SouthEastRoads-Interstate 20
- SouthEastRoads-Interstates 20 East/59 North
- SouthEastRoads-Interstates 20 West/59 South