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Interstate 459 Alabama

 

Routing

Interstate 459 constitutes Birmingham's half beltway. It functions as a bypass for Interstates 20 and 59 by funneling traffic bound from Atlanta to Dallas, New Orleans, and other points west beyond Birmingham. Similarly, traffic incoming from Dallas or New Orleans can use Interstate 459 to connect to Chattanooga, Atlanta, or other points north or east. The freeway has tri-level stack interchanges at each end and a full symmetrical stack with Interstate 65. Overall, the freeway provides six lanes of travel with speed limits varying between 65 and 70 miles per hour.


Future Aspirations: Northern Beltline Project

The Northern Beltline project, High Priority Corridor 28, is proposed to connect the south end of Interstate 459 with Future Interstate 22 (High Priority Corridor 10/Corridor X [U.S. 78]), Interstate 65 at Gardendale and Interstate 59 near the St. Clair County line. This extension is currently under development and is designated Interstate 422.

History

Interstate 459 was originally designated Interstate 59B in 1958 and renumbered by 1961. Work on the route began in 19682 with the first stretch of freeway opened in 1978 between Interstates 20 and 59 between Irondale and Birmingham.1 Completion of the route occurred in late 1984 with the opening of 5.2 miles of freeway, between Interstates 20 & 59 at Bessemer and Alabama 150 in Hoover, at a cost of $28.7-million.1

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 20 and Interstate 59 - Bessemer, Alabama
Perspective from Interstate 459 south
Two miles out from the Interstate 459 trumpet interchange with Interstates 20 & 59 near the Exit 1 diamond interchange with Eastern Valley Road by McCalla. Photo taken 11/04/09.
Interstate 459 enters its final mile. Forthcoming Interstates 20 west & 59 south lead 33 miles to Tuscaloosa. Downtown Birmingham is a 18 mile trip to the northeast. Photo taken 11/04/09.
An end shield is posted for Interstate 459 southbound. Photo taken 11/04/09.
Two lanes default onto Interstates 20 west & 59 south to Tuscaloosa and Meridian, Mississippi. I-20/59 north return motorists to Bessemer nearby. Photo taken 11/04/09.
Gore point signage for southbound Interstate 459 transition onto north eastbound Interstates 20 & 59. Photo taken 11/04/09.
Perspective from Interstates 20 west & 59 south
U.S. 11 & Alabama 5 south combine with Interstates 20 & 59 west just ahead of the two-mile guide sign for Interstate 459 north (Exit 106). Interstate 459 always features the long distance control points of Interstates 20, 59, and 65. Photo taken 06/12/08.
Interstates 20 & 59 carry four overall lanes through the city of Bessemer, southwest of Birmingham. Construction of the freeway overtook the original U.S. 11 & Alabama 5 four-lane alignment through the Exit 106 trumpet interchange with I-459. Photo taken 06/12/08.
Auxiliary signs touting the Interstate 459 connections to the through Interstates of Birmingham are commonly placed ahead of the junctions with the Birmingham south belt line. Reassurance shields along Interstate 459 often double with trailblazers to Interstates 20, 59, and 65 as well. Photo taken 06/12/08.
Westbound Interstates 20 & 59 on the half mile approach to Exit 106 and Interstate 459 north. The Birmingham bypass will reach Interstate 65 in 13 miles and Interstate 20 again in 29 miles. Photo taken 06/12/08.
Interstate 459 begins its eastward trek from this loop ramp on Interstates 20 west & 59 south. The bypass sees three interchanges for the Bessemer and Hoover suburbs before reaching Interstate 65. Photo taken 06/12/08.
The Exit 106 gore sign includes an Interstate 459 shield and cardinal direction. U.S. 11 and Alabama 5 split with Interstates 20 & 59 in nine miles at Exit 100. Photo taken 06/12/08.
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstates 20 west & 59 south
Interstate 359 35 miles at Tuscaloosa, AL
Interstates 20 & 59 Overlap end 130 miles near Meridian, MS
I-20 @
Interstate 55
214 miles at Jackson, MS
I-59 @
Interstate 10/
Interstate 12
288 miles at Slidell, LA
Perspective from Interstates 20 east & 59 north
Moving into the metropolitan area of Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, Interstates 20 and 59 encounter the two mile guide sign for Exit 106 / Interstate 459.
Widening of the freeway to six lanes included the replacement of this ground level guide sign with an overhead assembly. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/19/03).
One mile south of the Interstates 20 & 59 split with Interstate 459 north (Exit 106). Long distance travelers to Gadsden and Atlanta are advised to take Interstate 459 around Birmingham. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/19/03).
Interstates 20 east & 59 north, one fourth of a mile out from the northbound beginning of Interstate 459. Widening of the freeway from east of Tuscaloosa expanded the freeway to six overall lanes through to the two-lane off-ramp of Exit 106. Photo taken 08/10/02.
Interstate 459 northbound begins its jaunt around the city of Birmingham. The freeway commences with four overall lanes through to Exit 6, where I-459 expands to six lanes to Hoover and Vestavia Hills. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08-31-11).
As is standard Alabama practice, this freeway-to-freeway connection sees a gore point sign with an Interstate shield, exit number, and arrow. U.S. 11 and Alabama 5, both of which overlap with Interstates 20 & 59 through the southern terminus of Interstate 459, depart the Interstate tandem in two miles. Photo taken 08/10/02.
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstates 20 west & 59 south
Interstate 65 18 miles at Birmingham, AL
Interstates 20 & 59
overlap end
24 miles at Birmingham, AL
I-20 @
Interstate 459
30 miles at Irondale, AL
I-59 @
Interstate 459
31 miles at Trussville, AL
Northern Terminus - Interstate 59 - Trussville, Alabama
Perspective from Interstate 459 north
The first sign of the pending terminus of Interstate 459 is at Exit 31 / Derby Parkway in the form of this two-mile guide sign. Note that the north control city of Interstate 59 is Gadsden in lieu of Chattanooga. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (01/03/03).
Interstate 459 reduces to four lanes overall between Exits 32 and 33, the northern terminus. This northbound scene revealed 1978 button copy signage at the U.S. 11 off-ramp to Trussville. Guide signs already advise motorists of the Interstate 59 lane allocation. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (01/03/03).
The Interstate 459 mainline is naturally diverted onto Interstate 59 north to the suburb of Trussville and city of Chattanooga. This photograph looks at the Exits 33A/B sign bridge as the bypass comes to an end. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/19/03).
The Exit 33A/B gore point sign includes Interstate 59 shields and cardinal directions. Gadsden is a 50-mile drive to the northeast. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/19/03).
Perspective from Interstate 59 south
Two miles north of the Interstate 59 southbound split with Interstate 459 (Exit 137) between Red and Little Sand Mountains. Photo taken 06/25/12.
The Interstate 459 southbound beginning departs Interstate 59 from the left in one-half mile. This interchange is 12 miles to the east of downtown Birmingham. Photo taken 06/25/12.
Within one-half mile of Exit 137 on Interstate 59 south. Interstate 459 features the Interstate 65 control city of Montgomery and the Interstates 20 & 59 destination of Tuscaloosa. Photo taken 06/25/12.
Interstates 59 and 459 part ways at Exit 137. Immediately south of I-59 is the first exit of the Birmingham bypass with U.S. 11 (Gadsden Highway) for the city of Trussville. Photo taken 06/25/12.
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstates 20 west & 59 south
Interstate 20
overlap begin
7 miles at Birmingham, AL
Interstate 459 13 miles at Birmingham, AL
Interstate 459 31 miles at Bessemer, AL
Perspective from Interstate 59 north
The first guide sign posted for Interstate 459 south resides two miles south of the Exit 137 tri-level stack interchange at Red Mountain. Photo taken 10/03/10.
One mile south of Exit 137 along Interstate 59 north. Interstate 459 utilizes control cities for routes in which it connects, similar to Interstate 285 at Atlanta. Photo taken 11/03/11.
In addition to the control cities of I-459 south, this auxiliary guide sign indicates the connections with Interstates 20 and 65. Trussville is accessible via Exit 32 of Interstate 459 south at U.S. 11 (Gadsden Highway). Photo taken 11/03/11.
More 1978 signage can be found one half mile south of Exit 137 on Interstate 59 north. Beyond Interstate 459, Interstate 59 travels to Gadsden in 50 miles before concluding near Chattanooga at Interstate 24. Photo taken 11/03/11.
Exit 137 departs Interstate 59 north for I-459 south to Irondale, Vestavia Hills and Hoover. Ramps between the two freeways pass over the northbound mainline in the distance. Photo taken 11/03/11.
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstates 20 west & 59 south
Interstate 759 44 miles at Tuscaloosa, AL
Interstate 24 124 miles at near Wildwood, GA
-- --

Sources:

  1. "Section of I-459 may be open soon." The Tuscaloosa News, November 28, 1984.
  2. "Nashville firm low bidder." Gadsden Times, January 24, 1981.

Page Updated October 29, 2012.

 
Mileage

State Alabama
Mileage 32.80
Cities Birmingham, Bessemer, Bluff Park, Homewood
Junctions Interstates 20/59, Interstate 65, Interstate 20, Interstate 59
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-459 Alabama Annual Average Daily Traffic

County From To AADT Composite
Jefferson I-20/59 Exit 1 / Eastern Valley Rd 44,390
Jefferson Exit 1 / Eastern Valley Rd Exit 6 /
CR-52
49,810
Jefferson Exit 6 /
CR-52
Exit 10 /
SR 150
53,510
Jefferson Exit 10 /
SR 150
Exit 13A / Galleria Bl 66,770
Jefferson Exit 13A / Galleria Bl Exit 15 /
I-65
107,340
Jefferson Exit 15 /
I-65
Exit 17 / Acton Rd 103,930
Jefferson Exit 17 / Acton Rd Exit 19 / U.S. 280 94,630
Jefferson Exit 19 / U.S. 280 Exit 23 / Liberty Pkwy 78,460
Jefferson Exit 23 / Liberty Pkwy Exit 27 / Grants Mill Rd 76,530
Jefferson Exit 27 / Grants Mill Rd Exit 29 /
I-459
75,840
Jefferson Exit 29 /
I-459
Exit 31 / Derby Pkwy 58,900
Jefferson Exit 31 / Derby Pkwy Exit 32 / U.S. 11 57,270
Jefferson Exit 32 / U.S. 11 Exit 33 /
I-59
50,490
Source: 2010 Alabama Traffic Data
ALDOT Transportation Planning Bureau

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