Interstate 165 travels near Downtown Prichard into the northern reaches of Downtown Mobile.
Opened to traffic on October 28, 19941, Interstate 165 provides access from Downtown Mobile to Prichard and I-65 near Chickasaw. Costing $240 million to build,2 the freeway serves the Alabama State Docks along the Mobile River at its south end while also linking with the Henry Aaron Loop in Mobile. Overall carrying six lanes, the highway is elevated for approximately four miles. Overhead lighting assemblies line the 4.90-mile freeway for its entire length.
Ii165 was created in place of the canceled Interstate 210 proposal. With origins dating back to 1958, I-210 was the missing link in the Mobile Urban Interstate system between I-65 and I-10. Due to the impact on the Downtown Mobile area and access to the Mobile River waterfront, plans for the southernmost reaches of I-210 were dropped and the freeway was revised as a spur from I-65 to Beauregard Street. Since I-210 no longer connected two Interstates, the planned freeway was renumbered as I-165. AASHTO approved the elimination of I-210 and the designation of Interstate 165 from an application by the state of Alabama on June 7, 1989.
Interstate 165 between the south end and Exit 2 (Bay Bridge Road) overlaps with U.S. 90 and Truck U.S. 98. U.S. 90 used to travel through Downtown Mobile in conjunction with U.S. 98, but was rerouted onto Truck U.S. 90-98 over the Cochrane-Africatown Bridge and Bay Bridge Road in 1999. Interstate 165 and Truck U.S. 98 provide a mandatory bypass of the Bankhead Tunnel (U.S. 98) and Wallace Tunnel (I-10) under the Mobile River for hazardous material based cargo. The Cochrane Bridge also provides an alternate route for traffic between I-10 and I-65 away from Downtown Mobile.