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 Birmingham bypass was designated as Interstate 59B in 1958. It was renumbered to Interstate 459 by 1961. Work on the freeway began in 19681. The first section of I-459 opened in 1978 between I-20 and 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
Interstate 459 bends northwest from the diamond interchange (Exit 31) with Derby Parkway toward U.S. 11 and I-59 near Roebuck Plaza. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (01/03/03).
A lane drop occurs along northbound I-459 at Exit 32 for U.S. 11 into the city of Trussville. Two lanes proceed north into the directional T interchange (Exit 33) with Interstate 59. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (01/03/03).
Two lanes continue northward onto Interstate 59 toward Gadsden and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The left side ramp leads back into Birmingham. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/19/03).
Perspective from Interstate 59 south
Two miles north of the I-59 southbound split with Interstate 459 (Exit 137) between Red and Little Sand Mountains. Photo taken 06/25/12.
The left exit for Interstate 459 south departs from I-59 south ahead of Roebuck Plaza in northeast Birmingham. The forthcoming exchange lies 12 miles northeast of Downtown Birmingham. Photo taken 06/25/12.
I-459 comprises a regional bypass of Birmingham for points south along I-65 including Montgomery and west along I-59/20 including Tuscaloosa. Photo taken 06/25/12.
Southbound I-59 reaches left Exit 137 for Interstate 459 to Irondale, Mountanin Brook and Vestavia Hills. Photo taken 06/25/12.
Perspective from Interstate 59 north
The first sign for the north end of Interstate 459 along I-59 northbound appears at the Valley Drive underpass and the Brookhurst community in Birmingham. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Interstate 59 arcs across Red Mountain through Sadler Gap, switching sides with parallel U.S. 11 ahead of Roebuck Plaza and the three-wye interchange (Exit 137) with I-459. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Button copy signs for I-459 south at Exit 137 date from 1978. Beyond Interstate 459, I-59 travels through the city of Trussville and reaches Gadsden in 50 miles. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Exit 137 departs Interstate 59 north for I-459 south to Irondale, Vestavia Hills and Hoover. Flyovers between the two freeways pass over the northbound mainline ahead of Little Sand Mountain. Photo taken 06/09/17.
South End – Bessemer, Alabama
Perspective from Interstate 459 south
Two miles out from the trumpet interchange joining Interstate 459 with I-59/20 at McCalla. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Crossing over 4th Avenue SW, I-459 leaves the Bessmer city limits. The forthcoming exchange with I-59/20 lies 33 miles northeast of Tuscaloosa and 18 miles southwest of Downtown Birmingham. Photo taken 06/09/17.
An end shield is posted for Interstate 459 southbound. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Two lanes default onto Interstates 20 west & 59 south to Tuscaloosa and Meridian, Mississippi. I-20/59 north return motorists to Bessemer nearby. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Perspective from Interstates 20 west & 59 south
U.S. 11 & SR 5 combine with I-59/20 southwest from Bessemer City at the preceding interchange to Interstate 459 north (Exit 106). Photo taken 06/09/17.
Original construction of I-59/20 southwest from Bessemer to the trumpet interchange (Exit 106) with Interstate 459 directly replaced the previous four lane alignment of U.S. 11 and SR 5. Photo taken 06/09/17.
I-59/20 south crosses Fivemile Creek a half mile ahead of the loop ramp (Exit 106) for Interstate 459 north. I-459 travels east across Shades Valley 15 miles to the four level interchange with I-65 at Hoover. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Exit 106 departs I-59/20 south, 8.4 miles from the separation of U.S. 11/SR 5 in Tuscaloosa County. Traffic from I-459 south expands the freeway to six overall lanes. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Perspective from Interstates 20 east & 59 north
One mile south of the I-59/20 separation with I-459 east. Regional traffic to Gadsden and Atlanta, Georgia is directed to take Interstate 459 around Birmingham. Photo taken 06/09/17.
I-59/20 and U.S. 11/SR 5 advance northeast between McAshen Mountain and Red Ridge to Exit 106. Photo taken 06/09/17.
Exit 106 departs with two lanes for Interstate 459 north to Hoover, Vestavia Hills and the northern Shelby County suburbs. PPhoto taken 06/09/17.
Historic perspective from Interstates 20 east & 59 north
Widening of I-59/20 from four to six lanes included the replacement of this ground level guide sign with an overhead assembly. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/19/03).
One mile south of Exit 106 during construction to six lane I-59/20. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/19/03).
“Nashville firm low bidder.” Gadsden Times (AL), January 24, 1981.
“Section of I-459 may be open soon.” The Tuscaloosa News (AL), November 28, 1984.