|Maintained by ALDOT|
|Length:||21.688 mi (34.903 km)|
|Existed:||1991 – present|
I‑65 / US 72 Alt. / SR 20 in Decatur
|US 231 / US 431 in Huntsville|
US 72 / US 72 Alt. in Huntsville
I-565 serves the cities of Decatur, Madison, and downtown Huntsville. It also provides a route to the Huntsville International Airport. The interstate forms a part of Appalachian Development Highway System Corridor V. US-72 Alternate travels concurrent with I-565 for its entire length.
I-565's connection with the rest of the Interstate Highway System occurs at its western terminus, at an interchange with I-65. The interchange was extant prior to I-565's construction; it served Alabama State Route 20 (SR-20), which previously extended eastward into Huntsville. (The interchange was rebuilt and improved as part of the I-565 construction.) From the interchange, I-565 takes a brief northerly swing to bypass the town of Mooresville before joining and subsuming the former right of way of SR-20 through rural southeastern Limestone County. Progressing eastward, as the western edge of the city of Madison it diverges slightly to the south of the former SR-20 route, traveling parallel to it a short distance away. (This portion of the old SR-20 route is now named Madison Boulevard.)
Continuing east, I-565 goes through the southern part of Madison, rejoining the former SR-20 route near the Huntsville/Madison city line. Here, I-565 once again subsumes the old route's right of way as it travels along the south edge of Cummings Research Park and the University of Alabama in Huntsville campus, and the north edge of Redstone Arsenal. At Governors Drive, I-565 takes a slight turn northward away from the old route and continues through an area generally referred to as "West Huntsville". It enters a long elevated stretch, and has an interchange with Memorial Parkway just south of University Drive, and then gradually curving towards the northeast, passes north of downtown Huntsville and through a former cotton mill district. At Oakwood Avenue, it subsumes what was once the easternmost half mile of Andrew Jackson Way, traveling over Chapman Mountain to its eastern terminus where it joins US-72.
After the completion of I-565, the SR-20 designation was removed from all remaining portions of the former route east of I-65.
When the Interstate Highway System was first laid out during the mid-1950s, I-65 was routed on a north–south bee line connecting Nashville, Tennessee with Birmingham, Alabama. This route passes just to the east of Decatur, which was a major river port on the Tennessee River at the time. Huntsville, however, was still a small town about 20 miles (32 km) east of I-65.
During the late 1950s and through the 1960s, Huntsville underwent massive population growth due to the establishment of the U.S. Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, and the new NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. By 1960, Huntsville had grown to be more than twice the size of Decatur. It became clear that an Interstate Highway spur route would be beneficial to connect Huntsville with I-65, and to the rest of the country. I-565 was chosen as the Federal Highway Administration's number for this proposed spur expressway. It was decided that rather than terminating at the western edge of Huntsville, I-565 would extend farther eastward, providing an east-west freeway for Huntsville. On the eastern edge of Huntsville, I-565 was designed to feed into US-72, which was being widened to a four-lane highway traveling from Huntsville to Kimball, Tennessee, where it feeds into I-24.
Construction of I-565 began in 1987, and the freeway was opened on October 26, 1991. By the time construction had begun, Huntsville had become one of the most populous cities in the contiguous United States without a freeway connection to the Interstate system. Construction was performed in phases.
Phase 1 opened in 1989, and ran from the east side of Mooresville to County Line Road (exit 7, which was originally constructed to serve as a terminus taking traffic between I-565 and SR-20). At the time, traffic from I-65 still had to drive through Mooresville to where the interstate started while the Mooresville overpasses and bridges over creeks were constructed.
Phase 2 added a bypass through Madison. The Interstate still ended at County Line Road requiring traffic to take SR-20 through Madison until about Slaughter Road where a temporary entrance/exit merged traffic back onto I-565. The route then traveled along the old Governors Drive path past the Space and Rocket Center until it terminated with two lanes exiting at what is now the Governors Drive exit. This bypass through Madison allowed construction of the bridges over Zeirdt Road and the earthwork to be done near what is now the golf driving range and for construction of the Wall Triana exit and airport exit. The eastern terminus at Governors drive was to allow for construction of the elevated sections crossing Memorial Parkway and extending over Pratt and Oakwood to the terminus at US-72.
Phase 3 opened the Interstate from County Line Road to Governors Drive exit. This gave access via the Airport exit and Wall Triana exit.
Phase 4 was completed in 1991-92, with the completion of the bridges and overpasses near Mooresville and the Interstate was opened directly from I-65, bypassing the city of Mooresville.
Phase 5 opened the "elevated sections" from Governors Drive to the US-72 intersection. At the time, this intersection with US-72 was no longer interstate and was controlled by a red-light. This also opened the interchange of I-565 and Memorial Parkway.
When I-565 was first opened, it was signed as a north–south highway. This created some confusion because the highway travels roughly east–west. It was re-signed soon after opening. In 1996, the entirety of I-565 was designated the "Admiral Alan B. Shepard Highway" in honor of astronaut Alan Shepard.
Unlike many urban Interstate Highways which have a uniform speed limit of 55 miles per hour (89 km/h), I-565 has a speed limit of 70 mph (110 km/h), continuing well into the city. Just west of the interchange with Memorial Parkway, the speed limit decreases to 65 mph (105 km/h) and remains so for the entire portion east.
Huntsville bus accident
On November 20, 2006, a school bus carrying high school students collided with another vehicle or swerved to avoid a collision and drove off an elevated off-ramp, falling nose-first approximately 30 feet (9.1 m) to the ground. Four teenage girls were killed in the accident.
Phase 6 was completed in 2010. This slightly extended I-565 from the then red-light at US-72 to the east end and converted the connection with US-72 from an at-grade intersection into a full interchange. This kept traffic going over Chapman Mountain from having to stop at the intersection which created morning and afternoon commuter backups. After this intersection, controlled access officially stops, but the highway is still a four-lane highway and does not require a stop until you reach the red-light at the bottom of Chapman Mountain at the Moores Mill intersection.
Plans are in place to extend I-565 east several miles past the interchange with US-72 along a newly upgraded freeway section of US-72 east of Huntsville. Construction could start on two new exits at Moores Mill Road and Shields Road by 2015.
An extension of I-565 west, from the current terminus at I-65, along the route of SR-20 and US-72 Alternate to its intersection with US-31 near Decatur, is also planned. In January 2007, politicians in Northwestern Alabama announced that they would launch a campaign to extend I-565 westward to Florence. I-565 is part of a proposed highway that would connect Memphis, Tennessee, with Atlanta. Georgia, via Rome, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee as part of ISTEA High Priority Corridor 7, with a possible numbering of "Interstate 28".
The Huntsville "5 Year Plan" shows adding additional westbound lane from Maysville Road to Shields Road (cost $9 million in FY2014) and closing the median opening where I-565 terminates into US-72 on Chapman Mountain. This would also include a connector road between Epworth Drive and Maysville Road (cost $5 million FY2014). In addition, "Projects Being Considered" to include Additional Lanes on I-565 from Wall Triana to County Line Road interchange (cost $60 Million) and additional lanes on I-565 from County Line Road interchange to I-65 (cost $60 Million).
Work began on Phase 7 in December 2013 to upgrade the interchange of I-565 and County Line Road at exit 7, adding exits and on-ramps to for access to/from the east. The upgrade was budgeted to cost $30 million with the City of Madison funding $1.7 million of the project. The new interchange added ramps providing access for traffic exiting westbound and entering eastbound, so that the interchange now has a full set of ramps. The exit was re-opened with new ramps in April 2015.
Adding an exit at Zeirdt Road at an estimated cost of $20 million is also being discussed.
||This section contains a table that is missing mileposts for one or more junctions.|
|Limestone||Decatur||0.000||0.000||—||SR 20 west (US-72 Alt. west) – Decatur||Western terminus; westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|0.000||0.000||1||I‑65 – Birmingham, Nashville||Signed as exits 1A (south) and 1B (north) eastbound; I-65 exit 340 northbound & 340A-B southbound|
|7||Madison Boulevard, County Line Road||Former SR-20 east.|
|Madison||8||Huntsville International Airport|
|Madison||9||Wall-Triana Highway, Madison Boulevard|
|Zierdt Road||Construction to begin 2016|
|Huntsville||13.059||21.016||13||Madison Boulevard||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; former SR-20 west|
|14.365||23.118||14||SR 255 north (Research Park Boulevard) – Redstone Arsenal Gate 9||Signed as exits 14A (Gate 9) and 14B (SR-255) westbound|
|15||Madison Pike, Sparkman Drive, Bob Wallace Avenue||Entrance to U.S. Space and Rocket Center|
|17.015||27.383||17A||SR 53 north (Jordan Lane) to US 72||Signed as exit 17 westbound|
|17.381||27.972||17B||SR 53 south (Governors Drive)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|19.057||30.669||19A||US 231 / US 431 (Memorial Parkway, SR-1)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; signed as exits 19A (south) and 19B (north)|
|19.057||30.669||19B||US 231 / US 431 (Memorial Parkway, SR-1) / Pratt Avenue west, Washington Street north||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|19C||Washington Street, Jefferson Street – Downtown||Signed as exit 19A westbound|
|20||Oakwood Avenue, Andrew Jackson Way|
|21.688||34.903||21||US 72 west (SR-2 west)|
|21.688||34.903||—||US 72 east (SR-2 east)||Eastern terminus; eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- "County Milepost Maps". Alabama Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
- "Ranking Tables for Metropolitan Areas: Population in 2000 and Population Change from 1990 to 2000 (PHC-T-3)". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 14 February 2014. Per Table 1, in 1990 the Fresno, California Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA )had greater population than the Huntsville MSA. Fresno did not have Interstate service in 1990 and still does not as of April 2017. The Huntsville MSA may have been the second-largest, but the complete table has not been analyzed.
- "Confusing signs to be changed". The Gadsden Times. December 18, 1991. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- Faulk, Ken (November 21, 2006). "Bus crash kills 3 students". The Birmingham News. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
- McCarter, Patricia C. (November 21, 2006). "15 still hospitalized after horrific crash; parents beg for info". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
- "Fourth teen dies in Alabama school bus crash". CNN.com. November 21, 2006. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
- Clines, Keith (December 13, 2011). "Change of plans for U.S. 72 project at Moores Mill, Shields roads". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- Delinski, Bernie (January 21, 2007). "Officials discussing I-565 spur to Shoals". TimesDaily. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
- "U.S. 72 (Corridor 7)". AARoads. January 31, 2003. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
- "Commission Chairman Dale Strong: I-565 exit at Zierdt Road would be 'good for all of Madison County'". AL.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- Clines, Keith (April 27, 2012). "I-565 exit numbers changed for County Line Road, airport, Wall Triana Highway". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
- Clines, Keith (September 18, 2011). "Speed limit sign mix-up on Chapman Mountain to be corrected". The Huntsville Times. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
- Chappell, Kaitlin (28 August 2015). WAFF http://www.waff.com/story/29902479/construction-on-zierdt-road-interchange-to-begin-in-16. Retrieved 2 February 2016. Missing or empty