US 280 is a US Highway in the US state of Alabama. The road forms an east-west route that runs in a southeasterly direction between the largest city of Birmingham and the city of Phenix City on the border with Georgia. The road is a major main road and has full 2×2 lanes. The route is 227 kilometers long.
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The interchange with I-20/59 in Birmingham.
The road begins in Birmingham city center at the intersection with US 31 and Interstate 20 / Interstate 59. The road then runs double-numbered with US 31 heading south, turning southeast at Homewood, before continuing through the hilly and affluent suburbs south of the city. One still crosses Interstate 459, the bypass of Birmingham. You then cross a few ridges, after which you arrive in a flatter area with a mix of forest and open fields. In Harpersville comes the US 231from Huntsville for a distance of 20 miles. One then crosses the Alabama River, passing through the town of Childersburg. A little further, in Sylacauga, US 231 exits towards the capital Montgomery in the south. US 280 has a continuous 2×2 lane and then passes through the Talladega National Forest, a large forest area with low hills. The road then crosses the large reservoir Lake Martin, passing through a few villages and a single small town along the way. After about 100 kilometers you reach the Auburn-Opelika mini-conurbation, and cross US 29, which runs parallel to Interstate 85, the highway from Montgomery to Atlanta. The US 431. also adds herefrom Anniston, which is double-numbered to Phenix City, for a distance of 40 kilometers. The road then runs through wooded land to Phenix City, a subcenter of the larger city of Columbus in Georgia. US 431 exits here to Dothan in the south, and crosses US 80, the road from Montgomery to Columbus. One then crosses the Chattahoochee River, also the border with Georgia. US 280 in Georgia then continues towards Macon.
US 280 was added to the US Highways network in 1931, but at the time only ran in the state of Georgia. In 1953, the route was extended west from Columbus, Georgia to Birmingham, Alabama, creating the current route of US 280 in Alabama.
Despite the late introduction of US 280 to Alabama, it is an important interregional connection, the most direct connection between Birmingham and Columbus. In the early to mid-1960s, the 30-mile dual-numbering US 231 between Harpersville and Sylacauga was also widened to 2×2 lanes. At the end of the 1960s, the approach road from Birmingham was also widened to 2×2 lanes, mainly in the suburbs.
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Birmingham – Phenix City
A long-term project began in the mid-1970s to completely widen US 280 to 2×2 lanes. Of this, a 25-kilometre stretch between Sylacauga and Alexander City has been constructed over a new route, which was shorter than the original route. This was finished in the late 1970s. Also in the 1970s, a section halfway between Birmingham and Harpersville was widened to 2×2 lanes. During the 1980s, the remaining sections between Birmingham and Alexander City were widened to 2×2 lanes. In the 1980s a longer section between Opelika and Phenix City was also widened to 2×2 lanes, at the end of the 1990s this entire section had 2×2 lanes. Then the section from Alexander City to Opelika was missing, the doubling of which started in the late 1990s and was completed in 2006.
US 280 is one of the more important US 280 in the state because no alternative Interstate Highways have been built between Birmingham and Columbus.
Red Mountain Expressway
In Birmingham, a 5 kilometer long section of US 280 has been developed as a highway, the Red Mountain Expressway between I-20/59 and the suburb Homewood. The highway is named after the Red Mountain, a ridge that bisects the highway. Planning for the highway began in the 1960s and there were originally plans to build a tunnel through Red Mountain. Later in the 1960s it was decided to realize an excavation, the Red Mountain Expressway Cut. The Red Mountain Expressway opened to traffic in 1970. In 1987, the Red Mountain Expressway Cut was granted National Natural Landmark status.
64,000 vehicles drive daily in Birmingham, dropping to 20,000 vehicles after I-459 and rising again to 60,000 vehicles east of Birmingham. It is only further outside Birmingham that the intensities drop below 20,000 vehicles, and are at 24,000 vehicles at Sylacauga. This then drops to about 10,000 vehicles between Sylacauga and Alexander City and 9,000 to 12,000 vehicles between Alexander City and Opelika. In Opelika, 28,000 vehicles drive just before I-85 and 15,000 to 19,000 vehicles drive between Opelika and Phenix City.