Interstate 459 forms a beltway around the south side of Birmingham between I-59/20 at Bessemer and I-59 near Trussville. The freeway functions as a bypass for I-59/20 west to Tuscaloosa and Meridian, Mississippi, I-20 east to Anniston and Atlanta, Georgia and I-59 north to Gadsden and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Speed limits vary between 65 and 70 miles per hour along the mostly six-lane suburban freeway.
The initial maps sent to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) by the state of Alabama included the three branch routes for Interstate 59. They were outlined as A59 for I-359 in Tuscaloosa, B59 for I-459 around Birmingham, and C59 for I-759 at Gadsden. Alabama was one of several states to assign branch routes with a lettered prefix, as the standard numbering guidelines by AASHO were not set until 1958. B59 was reassigned as Interstate 459 in the proposed urban Interstate numerology for Alabama submitted to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on November 10, 1958
Work on Interstate 459 began in 19681. The first section of the bypass opened in 1978 from I-20 to I-59 between Irondale and northeast Birmingham.2 The final portion of I-459, between I-59/20 at Bessemer and State Route 150 in Hoover, opened to traffic in late 1984. The 5.2 mile segment cost $28.7-million to build.2