Alabama’s Interstate 422
Interstate 422 or I -422 is a planned Interstate Highway in the US state of Alabama. The freeway, also known as Corridor X-1, the Birmingham Northern Beltline or State Route 959 is to form a northern bypass of the city of Birmingham. The planned length is 84 kilometers, of which 50 kilometers is concrete.
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The southern starting point of I-422 is at an interchange near the suburb of Bessemer. Here, I-422 intersects with Interstate 20 / Interstate 59, which run from Meridian to Birmingham, and are double-numbered. Interstate 459 also begins at this point and continues through the southern suburbs of Birmingham. I-422 then runs north and later east, curving north of Birmingham. There are interchanges with Interstate 22 to Memphis and Interstate 65 to Nashville. I-422 ends near Argo on Interstate 59, the highway to Gadsden and Chattanooga. A possible extension is I-422 from I-59 at Argo to Interstate 20 to Leeds. The Northern Beltline is planned with 2×3 lanes.
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A complete ring road from Birmingham was already planned in the 1960s. However, the plan was not included in the Interstate Highways schedule. In 1985, Interstate 459, which forms Birmingham’s southern bypass, was completed. After that, the Northern Beltline project became topical again. Concrete studies for the construction of Interstate 422 were already done at the end of the 1980s. In 2000, the project was included in the regional transportation plan and in 2001 $60 million was made available to purchase a right-of-way and carry out engineering designs. In 2009, the number I-422 was assigned to the route.
The construction of the I-422 is not yet completely certain. The first section of the highway to be constructed will be an isolated stretch of freeway between State Routes 75 and 79 near Pinson, north of Birmingham. This part is less than 2 kilometers long. Construction of this segment started in April 2014 and was due to open in November 2016, but due to lack of funds, the works have been temporarily halted after the ground works. The works of art must be financed separately. In 2019, it was stated that $30 million would be made available for the construction of I-422. In 2022, it was stated that federal funding might become available for the project.
The construction of I-422 is controversial, as are almost all spatial projects. The area that I-422 is supposed to pass through is still relatively undeveloped with forests and hills. It is located in northern Jefferson County, whose population has been stagnant since 1970. In particular, it is doubtful to what extent I-422 can relieve the existing I-20/I-59 along the center of Birmingham. I-422 is also part of Corridor X-1 of the Appalachian Development Highway System.
It is also doubted whether Alabama is able to afford such a large road project. Except for I-22, hardly any new infrastructure has been built in Alabama since the 1980s. Other planned Interstate Highways in Alabama are also barely making progress.
Alabama’s Interstate 459
Interstate 459 or I -459 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Alabama. The motorway forms a bypass south and east of the Birmingham conurbation, and passes through its suburbs. The highway is 53 kilometers long.
I-459 on the east side of Birmingham.
On the south side of the Bessemer suburb, I-459 branches off from Interstate 20, which is double -numbered with Interstate 59. The road has 2×2 lanes here, and runs through the wooded and hilly southern suburbs. These are mostly prosperous suburbs. At Hoover, the road widens to 2×4 lanes. A 4-level stack interchange crosses Interstate 65, which runs from Mobile and Montgomery in the south to Huntsville and Nashville in the north. Hoover is one of the larger suburbs with 69,000 inhabitants. At Cahaba Heights you cross the US 280, the main road of Birminghamto Columbus. Here the road has 2×3 lanes, and it crosses the wooded suburb of Mountain Brook. At Irondale, an eastern suburb, a second 4-level stack interchange crosses Interstate 20, which runs to Atlanta, Georgia. Beyond that, there are 2×3 lanes of traffic, and the road ends at Interstate 59, which runs to Chattanooga in the northeast.
Construction of I-459 began in 1968, but it wasn’t until 1978 before the first section opened for about 3 miles between I-20 and I-59 northeast of Birmingham. The highway was built fairly quickly after that, and the last 8-kilometer section opened in late 1984 between Bessemer and State Route 150 southwest of Birmingham. Unlike many other bypasses in the United States, I-459 is a serious alternative to through traffic on I-20, as the route is quieter and you don’t have to drive through Birmingham city center.
Every day, 52,000 vehicles pass through the I-20/I-59 interchange in the south of the city, rising to 79,000 vehicles at Hoover and 113,000 vehicles east of the interchange with I-65, the busiest point on I-459. This drops to 80,000 vehicles for the I-20 interchange and 62,000 vehicles for the I-59 interchange.
|Exit 0 (I-20/I-59)||exit 6||2×2|
|Exit 6||Exit 33 (I-59)||2×3|