Interstate 359 Alabama

Interstate 359 Alabama
History
North End
South End

Overview

Interstate 359 is a short spur linking I-59/20 with U.S. 43 and Downtown Tuscaloosa. The freeway was envisioned as part of an overall highway plan including the Hugh Thomas Bridge across the Black Warrior River and the couplet of Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevards (25th/26th Avenues) between Northport and Tuscaloosa.1 Interstate 359 runs concurrent with U.S. 11 and Alabama State Route 69 from Skyland Boulevard in south Tuscaloosa to 15th Street, where U.S. 43 enters from near Stillman College.

History

Interstate 359 was part of the urban Interstate numerology approved by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) for the state of Alabama on November 10, 1958. A map showing the proposed Interstate System in Alabama submitted by the Alabama Highway Department to AASHO on April 4, 1958 showed the Tuscaloosa spur as Route A59.

Planning for the Tuscaloosa spur began in 1961.4 Costing $7 million, the Hugh Thomas Bridge between Northport and Downtown Tuscaloosa, opened to traffic on December 17, 1973 in conjunction with the Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard couplet.2 The first contract (July 1979) for Interstate 359 involved construction of the interchange with I-59/20 and the expansion of the freeway to six overall lanes eastward to McFarland Boulevard (U.S. 82). The second project (October 1979) focused on work to build I-359 between the AGS Railroad and I-59/20. The third project (March 1980) built the freeway viaduct from the AGS Railroad to 15th Street. Work on the northernmost portion, from 15th Street to 12th Street was under contract by September 1980.3 Included in the construction of Interstate 359 was work on 15th Street, which included a viaduct over the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad and expansion of the road from two to six lanes.

Work culminated on the $41 million Interstate project with a ribbon cutting ceremony held on the afternoon of September 13, 1983.4 Associated construction with 15th Street to Stillman Boulevard continued through mid November 1983. The speed limit along I-359 was initially set at 50 miles per hour.5

Tuscaloosa, AL - 1974

Tuscaloosa Inset – 1974 Alabama Official Highway Map

Construction of Interstate 359 replaced the alignment of U.S. 11 and U.S. 82 between Downtown Tuscaloosa and the Taylorville area. The arterial bypass for U.S. 82 was completed in the 1970s while U.S. 11 was realigned away from Greensboro Avenue onto the freeway spur.

Route Information

  • North End – Tuscaloosa, AL

  • South End – Tuscaloosa, AL

  • Mileage – 2.30

  • Cities – Tuscaloosa

  • JunctionsI-20 I-59

Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-359 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
US 11 to I-59/20 46,203
I-59/20 to Exit 1 56,062
Exits 1 to 2 55,663
Exit 2 to 12th St 48,093

Source: 2020 AADT – Alabama Traffic Data

US 11 south at I-359 - 2001

Shield assembly formerly posted at the turn of southbound U.S. 11 onto I-359/SR 69 north from Skyland Boulevard. Photo by Adam Froehlig (02/01).
An interchange is proposed to replace the this intersection, but funding was placed on hold for it in 2018.

Highway Guides

North End US 11 US 43 Alabama State Route 69 – Tuscaloosa, Alabama

I-359 Alabama State Route 69 North US 11 South at US 43

I-359/US 11-SR 69 north at US 43 - Tuscaloosa, AL

Interstate 359 northbound enters a diamond interchange (Exit 2) with 15th Street ahead of the transition onto Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard. U.S. 11 south departs at Exit 2 for an overlap with U.S. 43 southwest to Stillman College and Eutaw. 10/21/12

I-359/US 11-SR 69 north at US 43 - Tuscaloosa, AL

SR 69 extends north from the viaduct along I-359 and combines with U.S. 43 on Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard at 12th Street. The two routes run along the west side of Downtown Tuscaloosa to the Hugh Thomas Bridge, Northport and U.S. 82 (McFarland Boulevard). 10/21/12

US 43 Alabama State Route 69 South at US 11 I-359

US 43/SR 69 south at I-359/US 11 - Tuscaloosa, AL

Lurleen B. Wallace Boulevard southbound partitions with three lanes ascending onto the viaduct along Interstate 359 and a two lane ramp departing for 15th Street and U.S. 11/43 south to Stillman College and Fosters. 10/21/12

US 43 US 11 North at I-359 Alabama State Route 69

US 11/43 north at I-359/SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

U.S. 11/43 (15th Street) north part ways at the entrance ramp for I-359 and SR 69 south to I-59/20 and Skyland Boulevard. 15th Street continues east from nearby Greenboro Avenue as part of SR 215 to U.S. 82 (McFarland Boulevard) at University Mall. 06/06/17

15th Street – West at I-359 US 43 US 11 Alabama State Route 69

15th St west at I-359/US 11-43/SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

15th Street west at I-359 south, U.S. 11, U.S. 43 and SR 69. U.S. 11/43 originally followed Stillman Boulevard northeast from 15th Street to 24th Avenue, the old alignment of U.S. 82. Photo by Chris Patriarca (04/27/03).

South End I-20 I-59 US 11 Alabama 69 – Tuscaloosa, Alabama

I-359 US 11 Alabama State Route 69 South at I-20 I-59

I-359/US 11-SR 69 south at I-20/59 - Tuscaloosa, AL

The viaduct along I-359 originating from 12th Street extends across the AGS South District Railroad line, 1.25 miles ahead of I-59/20. 06/07/17

I-359/US 11-SR 69 south at I-20/59 - Tuscaloosa, AL

The entrance ramp from 35th Street adds a fourth southbound lane for Interstate 359, U.S. 11 and SR 69 to I-59/20 northeast across the south side of Tuscaloosa. 06/07/17

I-359/US 11-SR 69 south at I-20/59 - Tuscaloosa, AL

U.S. 11 north and SR 69 south continue to the freeway end at Skyland Boulevard where they separate for Cottondale and Moundsville respectively. 06/06/17

I-359/US 11-SR 69 south at I-20/59 - Tuscaloosa, AL

A two lane flyover takes traffic from Interstate 359 south onto I-59/20 northeast to Bessemer and Birmingham. I-59/20 combine southwest 80 miles along a rural course traversing low rolling hills and pine forest to Meridian. 06/07/17

I-359/US 11-SR 69 south at Skyland Bl - Tuscaloosa, AL

U.S. 11 north and SR 69 south intersect Skyland Boulevard and Oscar Baxter Drive beyond the exchange with I-20/59/359. U.S. 11 parallels I-59/20 along Skyland Boulevard east through south Tuscaloosa. SR 69 travels south 35 miles to Greensboro. 10/21/12

US 11 South Alabama State Route 69 North at I-20 I-59 I-359

SR 69 north at I-359/US 11 - Tuscaloosa, AL

SR 69 combines with southbound U.S. 11 at Skyland Boulevard and the northbound beginning of Interstate 359. The span wire traffic light assembly here was replaced with mast arms by 2012. Photo by Ed Wilson (02/22/02).

I-359/US 11-SR 69 north at I-20/59 - Tuscaloosa, AL

I-359, U.S. 11 and SR 69 enter a directional cloverleaf interchange with I-59/20 just north of Skyland Boulevard. 10/21/12

I-359/US 11-SR 69 north at I-20/59 - Tuscaloosa, AL

A loop ramp follows onto I-59/20 southwest to Eutaw, Livingston and Meridian, Mississippi. 10/21/12

I-20 East I-59 North at I-359 US 11 Alabama State Route 69

I-59/20 north at I-359/US 11-SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

I-59/20 travel through a rural area by Friday Lake northeast ahead of Exit 71 for I-359 north, U.S. 11 and SR 69. 10/21/12

I-59/20 north at I-359/US 11-SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

I-59/20 cross the AGS South District Railroad one mile ahead of the directional cloverleaf interchange (Exit 71) with Interstate 359. Signs for Exit 71 omit U.S. 11, which meets I-59/20 at three of the next five interchanges. 10/21/12

I-59/20 north at I-359/US 11-SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

Exit 71 A leaves I-20 east / I-59 north for U.S. 11 north to Skyland Boulevard and SR 69 south to Moundsville. Exit 71 B follows as a loop ramp onto I-359 north to Downtown Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama campus. 10/21/12

I-59/20 north at I-359/US 11-SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

I-59/20 north reaches Exit 71 B for Interstate 359 north, U.S. 11 south and SR 69 north. Connections with the Hugh Thomas Bridge lead motorists north to Jasper via SR 69 and Hamilton via U.S. 43. 10/21/12

I-20 West I-59 South at I-359 US 11 Alabama State Route 69

I-59/20-US 11 south at I-359/SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

Underway from 2018 to late Summer 2021, an $83.4 million project expanded I-59/20 to six lanes from Exit 77 (SR 215) to Exit 73 (U.S. 82/McFarland Boulevard). A signature crimson colored suspension bridge supports the freeway at a SPUI constructed with McFarland Boulevard.7,8 06/12/08

I-59/20-US 11 south at I-359/SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

I-59/20 proceed west from U.S. 82 (McFarland Boulevard) with six overall lanes to Exit 71 B for Interstate 359, U.S. 11 and SR 69. This stretch was expanded during construction to build I-359. 10/21/12

I-59/20-US 11 south at I-359/SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

Exit 71 is the last of five interchanges along I-59/20 for the city of Tuscaloosa. All guide signs for Exit 71 omit U.S. 11. 10/21/12

I-59/20-US 11 south at I-359/SR 69 - Tuscaloosa, AL

Two lanes leave I-59/20 west for I-359-SR 69 north and U.S. 11 south at Exit 71 B. A loop ramp (Exit 71 A) follows for SR 69 south to Greensboro and U.S. 11 north along Skyland Boulevard. 10/21/12

Sources:

  1. “Bridge Contract Welcome; I-359 Needed.” The Tuscaloosa News (AL), November 2, 1970.
  2. “Bridge, Street Are Dedicated.” The Tuscaloosa News (AL), December 17, 1973.
  3. “Exchange briefed on I-359 project.” The Tuscaloosa News (AL), June 1, 1979.
  4. “Opening of I-359 applauded.” The Tuscaloosa News (AL), September 14, 1983.
  5. “Interstate link speeding traffic flow.” The Tuscaloosa News (AL), October 27, 1983.
  6. “Tuscaloosa lane closures at I-59/McFarland Blvd. start Sunday.” WBRC (Tuscaloosa, AL), May 12, 2018.
  7. “McFarland Boulevard under Interstate 20/59 closing Monday night for road work.” The Tuscaloosa News (AL), June 4, 2021.

Page updated June 1, 2022.