Interstate 22

Interstate 22 Mississippi Interstate 22 Alabama
History
East End
West End
I-22/65 interchange

I-22 and I-65 come together at a multi level interchange at Lewisburg in Birmingham. 10/08/16

Overview

Interstate 22 is the designation for the U.S. 78 / Corridor X freeway (High Priority Corridor 10) between Memphis, Tennessee, and Birmingham, Alabama. I-22 begins where Interstate 269 crosses paths with U.S. 78 at Byhalia, Mississippi. Taking a mostly rural route, I-22 runs east southeasterly to Holly Springs and through Holly Springs National Forest before reaching the south side of New Albany. Beyond an older stretch there that was upgraded, Corridor X continues to the Tupelo area, where it crosses paths with the U.S. 45 freeway leading south to Shannon and north to Saltillo.

The remainder of Interstate 22 in Mississippi ventures east over hilly terrain to Fulton and the Alabama state line east of Tremont. Once in Alabama, I-22 passes by Hamilton, Guin and Winfield to Walker County. The freeway doubles as Alabama Route 4 throughout the Heart of Dixie.

Advancing eastward, I-22 travels north of Eldridge and Carbon Hill through areas of the Appalachian Piedmont. The freeway passes between Horseshoe Mountain and Mc Clesky Hill before shifting southeast by Jasper and Cordova. Once near Graysville, U.S. 78 separates from Interstate 22 for an arterial route south to Adamsville, Forestdale and Birmingham while I-22 parallels Fivemile Creek east to Coalburg and Interstate 65 near Lewisburg. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on June 20, 2016 for the final segment, between Coalburg Road and I-65. Future work will connect the east end with U.S. 31.

The first official Interstate 22 signs were installed in Marion and Walker Counties, Alabama by April 2013. I-22 was formally designated in Mississippi at a signage ceremony held on October 23, 2015 at New Albany.16

Highway 309 at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia, MS

Looking east from the Highway 309 overpass at Interstate 22/U.S. 78 in Byhalia, Mississippi. 01/13/19

High Priority Corridor

Interstate 22 is part of High Priority Corridor 10: ADHS Corridor X from Memphis to Birmingham. Its designation was written into law. “Corridor X” was a result of its placement within the alphabetical listing of Appalachian Regional Planning Commission highway corridors. Corridor X is the 24th corridor in a listing from A to Z (notwithstanding some derivative routes such as A-1 and O-1).

According to Bill Minor, Mississippi DOT Northern District transportation commissioner, signs would go up as soon as possible labeling U.S. 78 as future Interstate 22 … and to that end, Future Interstate 22 markers were placed along U.S. 78 in November 2004. On April 18, 2005, signs marking the new route were erected in Jasper, Alabama. Completion of the route was initially expected in 2012, with the major section from Graysville to the Mississippi State Line open by December 2006.5

Parallel U.S. Routes

Interstate 22 parallels or overlays U.S. 78 for its entire duration. It was previously thought that U.S. 78 would return to its original alignment in Alabama, parts of which were outlined as U.S. 78 Alternate, upon completion of I-22. Mississippi may do the same, decommission the US route or retain it as a concurrency with I-22.16

History

Interstate 22 was officially written into law by H.R. 2673, Section 111(2)(B) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004. On 1/23/2004, it became Public Law No: 108-199. Interstate 22, along with I-66, I-69, I-73, I-74, and I-99, is part of a collection of Interstate routes whose designation was written into law.

In the article, “Wicker: Interstate status for 78 near: Congressman hopes U.S. 78 will become I-22 soon” (03/04/02) from the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal of Tupelo, Interstate 22 became publicized as a potential number for the first time by a politician.

The Interstate 22 designation was to have been written into law as part of the federal Fiscal Year 2003 Transportation Appropriations Bill, but the Senate did not ratify a measure included in the bill to do this in February 2003. According to the Birmingham News article, “Corridor X transition to Interstate 22 stalled” by Ryan Mahoney (03/07/03), the goal was to install “Future Interstate 22” signs along U.S. 78/Corridor X prior to the completion of the route to attract businesses to locate along the route. This process only delayed the inevitable.

Proposed federal legislation designating Corridor X as Interstate 22 followed. U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville stated that a U.S. House committee approved language in a bill that designated the corridor as I-22. The designation encourages the prospects for industrial recruiting along the freeway and opens the door to potential new highway funds as well. On July 24, 2003, Aderholt inserted language in the House Transportation and Treasury Appropriation bill for fiscal 2004 that applied the Interstate 22 designation.

The interstate occurs when the road is connected on either end to an existing interstate.

Additionally it was stated that this bill language allowed for portions that were already completed to Interstate standards to receive official signs marking them as a part of Future Interstate 22.1 The I-22 designation was also included in the Senate version of the appropriation bill.2

On September 9, 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2004, paving the way for the Interstate 22 designation along U.S. 78. Congressman Roger Wicker, R-Tupelo stated, “We actually already have gotten beyond the bigger hurdle, the committee vote,” with regards to getting Interstate 22 official. The vote continued to the Senate, where Mississippi Republican senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott had already supported the measure.3 In November 2003, a House-Senate conference committee approved the I-22 designation for U.S. 78. The 2004 appropriations bill for transportation contained language indicating that once the Corridor X freeway extends to I-65, U.S. 78 can be designated Interstate 22. This ruling cleared the way for the installation of “Future Interstate 22” signs along the corridor.4

Route Information

  • East End – Birmingham, AL

  • West End – Byhalia, MS

  • Branch Routes – 0

  • Total Mileage – 202.22

Mississippi – 106.00

  • Cities – Holly Springs, New Albany, Tupelo

  • Junctions

Alabama – 96.22

  • Cities – Hamilton, Jasper, Birmingham

  • Junctions

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-22 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Source: 2018 Alabama Traffic Data ALDOT Transportation Planning Bureau

I-22 east near Bexar, AL
Interstate 22 east ahead of Hurricane Creek and Exit 3 near Bexar. 06/02/11

Interstate 22 can be considered a scenic route throughout much of its course through northwestern Alabama.

Northern Mississippi - 1992
The final stretch of U.S. 78 upgraded to freeway standards ran through Holly Springs National Forest between Holly Springs and Myrtle. 1992 Mississippi Official Highway Map

Initial stretches of U.S. 78 freeway ran southeast from the Tennessee state line past Olive Branch by 1977, the New Albany bypass, and a short stretch near Tupelo.

Future I-22 Corridor sign
Future Interstate 22 signs such as this one were placed in Mississippi along the U.S. 78 route in 2004. Photo by Jeremy Hamm (01/01/05).

Similar signs were placed in Jasper, Alabama, in April 2005.6

Northwest Alabama - 1993
Corridor X was initially opened in Alabama from the Mississippi state line to SR 17 near Hamilton – 1993 Official Alabama Highway Map

Construction extended Corridor X eastward to SR 44 at Twin. The freeway was initially numbered as SR 138 before later becoming part of SR 4, the companion state route to U.S. 78.

Interstate 65 at I-22
Including c/d roadways, I-65 travels with 12 overall lanes through the exchange with Interstate 22. The freeway spans the future travel lanes that will eventually connect the east end of I-22 with U.S. 31 (Decatur Highway) as well. 10/08/16

Construction Progress – Alabama

Alabama began work on Corridor X / Interstate 22 with initial construction appropriations in 1983; under this schedule, completion of the route would occur nearly 30 years later. Since 2001 eventual I-22 traveled from the Mississippi/Tennessee state line near Memphis east southeastward to State Route 129 near Winfield (Exit 30). Additionally the Jasper bypass, I-22 between Exit 52 and Exit 65, was also in use. Construction on the 6.5-mile segment between Carbon Hill and Eldridge began in 2001. On November 22, 2005, the Carbon Hill segment opened between Exit 34 (SR 233) and Exit 52.

13 more miles of freeway opened between Walker County Road 81 (Exit 78) and Cherry Avenue (Exit 91), from near Dora to Forestdale, by June 9, 2007. This section of highway was opened to local traffic only with a truck restriction to prevent commercial vehicles from using neighborhood streets to connect with the freeway.8 An additional 13 miles of new freeway were slated to open on November 14, 2007 (a ribbon cutting ceremony eventually took place on November 22, 2007) between Jasper (Industrial Parkway [Exit 65]) and Exit 91, bringing future Interstate 22 to within five miles of completion.9

The interchange joining I-65 with Interstate 22 during construction. Photos from the Birmingham, Alabama Road Meet on October 20, 2012.

The ultimate plans, funding and construction of the I-22 western extent was thought to take seven to eight years, with connections to the existing Memphis Interstate network via U.S. 78, U.S. 72, Tennessee Route 385, or Mississippi Route 304.2 The end point was eventually narrowed down to I-269, the Memphis outer beltway. This was confirmed with the June 28, 2016 sign plans showing end and begin shield assemblies planned for the interchange with I-269 [see page 50 of the MDOT document “Section 905 – Proposal”].

Construction for Interstate 269 in Mississippi was completed on October 26, 2018, completing the link between I-22 and I-55/69 at Hernando, Mississippi.

Highway Guides

East End  – Birmingham, Alabama

I-22 East at I-65

I-22 east at I-65 - Birmingham, AL

Beyond Coalburg Road (Exit 93) Interstate 22 advances to within two miles of I-65. This segment of I-22 opened to traffic June 20, 2016. 09/11/20

I-22 east at I-65 - Birmingham, AL

The last reassurance marker for Interstate 22 east. U.S. 78 remains cosigned with the eastern extent of the freeway, despite the route remaining posted along its alignment south from Graysville to Adamsville and Arkadelphia Road in Birmingham. 10/08/16

I-22 east at I-65 - Birmingham, AL

Flyover ramps depart in one mile from I-22 east to the c/d roadway along I-65 north ahead of Exit 266 for Fultondale and nearby U.S. 31 (Decatur Highway). 09/11/20

I-22 east at I-65 - Birmingham, AL

Traffic departs for the ramps to I-65 north and south while base-grade pavement continues a short distance ahead to a stub end atop a bluff. A short extension of I-22 is proposed east from the multilevel interchange to U.S. 31. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/08/16).

I-22 east at I-65 - Birmingham, AL

Interstate 22 ends as two lanes depart for I-65 north into Fultondale. Linked from I-65 via Interstate 565, Huntsville lies in the northern part of the state. I-65 south converges with I-20/59 in four miles just outside Downtown Birmingham. 09/11/20

I-22 east at I-65 - Birmingham, AL

Interstate 65 south wraps around North Birmingham to Fountain Heights ahead of Downtown. 10/08/16

I-65 North at I-22

I-65 north at I-22 - Birmingham, AL

Exit 264 parts ways from I-65 north for Daniel Payne Drive, 0.75 miles ahead of Interstate 22 west to Jasper and Tupelo, Mississippi. 06/10/17

I-65 north at I-22 - Birmingham, AL

Traffic departs for I-22 west to Memphis, Tennessee at a multilevel interchange built between 2010 and 2016. Forming a c/d roadway north from I-22 to U.S. 31 (Decatur Highway) at Fultondale, Exit 265B follows in a quarter mile. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/08/16).

I-65 South at I-22

I-65 south at US 31/I-22 - Fultondale, AL

Two miles ahead of the c/d roadway to the directional T interchange with Interstate 22 on I-65 south at the Ridge Brook Road overpass. 10/08/16

I-65 south at US 31/I-22 - Fultondale, AL

Walker Chapel Road (Exit 267) passes overhead on the one mile approach to U.S. 31 to Fultondale and Interstate 22 west to Memphis (Exit 265). A trumpet interchange joins I-65 with U.S. 31 next. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/08/16).

I-65 south at US 31/I-22 - Fultondale, AL

As the mainline of Interstate 65 spans Ellard Road and Fivemile Creek, a collector distributor roadway separates for U.S. 31 and Interstate 22. The c/d roadway returns to I-65 ahead of Daniel Payne Drive (Exit 264). Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/08/16).

I-65 south at US 31/I-22 - Fultondale, AL

Interstate 65 arcs southwest at the egress point for U.S. 31 (Exit 265B) and I-22 (Exit 265B). U.S. 31 (Decatur Highway) appears alongside I-65 here leading into the Fairmont community in Birmingham. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/08/16).

I-65 south at I-22 - Birmingham, AL

Exit 265A leaves for Interstate 22 west from the c/d roadway. Connecting I-65 and Birmingham with the outer reaches of Memphis, Tennessee, the initial two miles of I-22 west opened to traffic in June 2016. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/08/16).

I-22 West

I-22 west at CR 77 - Coalburg, AL

The first confirming assembly for Interstate 22 west precedes Exit 93 with Coalburg Road (CR 77) by one mile. 10/08/16

West End   – Byhalia, Mississippi

I-22 US 78 West at I-269 Mississippi 304

I-22/US 78 west at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

I-22/U.S. 78 turn northwest across Stonewall Road, one mile ahead of the collector/distributor roadway (Exit 12) for I-269/MS 304. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 west at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

C/d roadways line both sides of I-22/U.S. 78 and I-269/MS 304 through their cloverleaf interchange. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 west at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

Interstate 269 arcs northeast from Byhalia to Collierville, Tennessee, where it meets U.S. 72 and Tennessee Route 385 (Bill Morris Parkway) west to Memphis. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 west at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

An end shield for Interstate 22 stands between the freeway mainline and c/d roadway westbound. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 west at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

Exit 12A loops onto the c/d roadway for I-269 south and MS 304 west to Hernando and I-69 to Tunica. 01/13/19

I-22 US 78 East at I-269 Mississippi 304

I-22/US 78 east at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

U.S. 78 extends 11.4 miles southeast from the Tennessee state line as a freeway to Interstate 22 and the c/d roadway (Exit 12) for Interstate 269/MS 304. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 east at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

Exit 12B follows from the cloverleaf interchange with I-22/U.S. 78 for I-269 north to Interstate 40 at Arlington, Tennessee. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 east at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

A begin Interstate 22 shield stands at the center line for I-269. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 east at I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

Exit 12A departs from I-22/U.S. 78 east for I-269 south and MS 304 west to I-55/69 at Hernando. I-269 opened westward on October 28, 2018. 01/13/19

I-22/US 78 east after I-269/MS 304 - Byhalia

The first confirming marker for Interstate 22 east. The freeway bypasses Byhalia to the south. 01/13/19

I-269 North Mississippi 304 East at I-22 US 78

I-269/MS 304 north at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia, MS

I-269 arcs northward from Red Banks Road (Exit 13) two miles to Interstate 22 east and U.S. 78. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (01/26/20).

I-269/MS 304 north at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia, MS

The c/d roadway at Exit 16 separates from I-269 north and Highway 304 east beyond the Fairview Road overpass in 0.75 miles. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (01/26/20).

I-269/MS 304 north at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia, MS

Traffic to I-22/U.S. 78 east to Tupelo and Birmingham, Alabama partitions from Interstate 269 north. Photo taken by Peter Johnson (01/26/20).

I-269/MS 304 north at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia, MS

U.S. 78 extends northwest from I-22 and I-269 along a freeway through Olive Branch to Lamar Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. 09/10/20

I-269 South Mississippi 304 West at I-22 US 78

I-269/MS 304 south at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia

Interstate 269/Highway 304 run along the north side of Byhalia from Highway 309 west to I-22/U.S. 78. 01/13/19

I-269/MS 304 south at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia

Entering the cloverleaf interchange (Exit 16) with I-22 east and U.S. 78 on I-269 south / Highway 304 west. 01/13/19

I-269/MS 304 south at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia

Spanning MS 178, Exit 16B departs from the I-269 southbound c/d roadway for U.S. 78 west to Olive Branch and Memphis, Tennessee. 01/13/19

I-269/MS 304 south at I-22/US 78 - Byhalia

Located 15 miles to the east along Interstate 22/U.S. 78, Holly Springs is the seat of Marshall County. 01/13/19

Sources

  1. “Corridor X dubbed Interstate 22.” Mobile Register (AL), July 27, 2003.
  2. “Officials say Corridor X to Jasper will be completed by spring 2005.” Daily Mountain Eagle (Jasper, AL), September 6, 2003.
  3. House taps U.S. 78 as future I-22.” Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo), September 10, 2003.
  4. “I-22 designation close for U.S. 78.” Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo), November 15, 2003.
  5. “Corridor X becomes I-22.” Birmingham News (AL), Friday, April 15, 2005 by Ginny MacDonald.
  6. “I-22 link to border set to open” Birmingham News (AL), November 13, 2005.
  7. “I-22.” Personal email from H.C. White dated 12/10/2005.
  8. “13 miles of Corridor X to open.” The Birmingham News (AL), June 2, 2007.
  9. “26 miles of Corridor X to open Nov. 14.” The Birmingham News (AL), October 31, 2007.
  10. “Construction contract awarded for final link of Corridor X.” The Birmingham News (AL), June 16, 2010.
  11. Re: Interstate 22, AARoads Forum posting by Grzrd, September 30, 2010.
  12. Re: Interstate 22, AARoads Forum posting by Grzrd, September 12, 2011.
  13. “MDOT’s District Two Offers Project Updates.” Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) news release, June 19, 2012.
  14. “Birmingham I-65/Corridor X project set to launch Aug. 1.” The Birmingham News (AL), July 26, 2010.
  15. “Interstate 22 interchange on target for August completion, contractor tells ALDOT” The Birmingham News (AL), March 26, 2015.

Page updated September 28, 2020.