On May 26 2009, the Birmingham News reported that the start of construction of the interchange connecting I-65 with I-22 could begin as early as that Fall, if additional federal stimulus money became available. The same article also cited the future of the Northern Beltline and its designation of Interstate 422. “The beltline will carry the I-422 designation because it is a part of the interstate system”, said U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills. “Beltline funding is in great shape,” Bachus said. “The I-22 designation (for Corridor X) strengthened our hand. Now the northern beltline is a part of the interstate highway system.” Bachus indidated that additional funding would be allocated toward the Northern Beltline project starting in 2011, with Bachus pushing for a completion date by 2025.1
The entire Northern Beltline will also be designated as Alabama State Route 959. A subsequent feasibility study focused on a potential extension of the Northern Beltline south from Trussville to Interstate 20 near Moody.
ALDOT simultaneously petitioned AASHTO for designating the Birmingham Northern Beltline as I-422 and the “I-22 Connector” as Interstate 222 on September 27, 2011. The AASHTO Special Committee on US Route Numbering (SCOH) approved both applications on May 18, 2012. I-222 is proposed as a 2.26-mile link between I-422 at Brookside and I-22 in east Graysville.
Work was scheduled to begin in late 2011 on a 3.4-mile stretch of roadway for I-422 between SR 75 and SR 79 north of Pinson. Spearheaded by the environmental group Black Warrior Riverkeeper, construction was postponed due to environmental concerns. However a federal judge cleared the way for work to finally commence on January 17, 2014 by denying a request for a preliminary injunction to block construction of the North Beltline.2
Construction broke ground on a 1.34-mile segment of the North Beltline on February 24, 2014. The $46-million project, scheduled to run through Fall 2016, completed grading and other preliminary work on the link between SR 75 and SR 79 near Pinson.2 A potential time table for additional right of way acquisition for the 51.04 mile long route in 2013 suggested completion by 2031.3