Interstate 565 constitutes a freeway leading east from I-65 and U.S. 72 Alternate at the city of Decatur to Madison, Huntsville and U.S. 72 across Chapman Mountain. I-565 directly replaced portions of U.S. 72 Alternate and Alabama State Route 20. Completion of the freeway fueled growth in the Huntsville area in conjunction with research at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Redstone Arsenal.
A directional T interchange was proposed along Interstate 565 around a half mile west of the Zierdt Road underpass for the Town Madison project. Located on the south side of I-565 at Zierdt Road, Town Madison was envisioned as a big box power center with 1.5 million square feet of retail and commercial space. Approved by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on August 28, 2015, work was scheduled to begin in 2016 and run through June 2017.11 The interchange was previously proposed in 2007, but traffic numbers at the time did not support it.10
The eastbound exit from I-565 to Town Madison eventually opened to traffic on April 29, 2021 following months of dispute between ALDOT and the developers of Town Madison. The developer had not met outlined obligations regarding the westbound section of the exchange. Town Madison is a 500 acre plus mixed-use development where Toyota Field, home of Huntsville’s Minor League Baseball team, is located. Estimated to cost $28 million with funds from Town Madison, the flyover linking I-565 west from Town Madison Boulevard will take two years to complete.12
Interstate 565 is part of High Priority Corridor 7: U.S. 72 and High Priority Corridor 11: ADHS Corridor V.
19.2 miles of I-565 were added to the Interstate system in 1969 and approved by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on June 23, 1969.5 Construction would take over two decades, with the route fully open by December 1991.6 Further work extended the freeway slightly east with the May 17, 2004 opening of the interchange at U.S. 72 (Lee Highway), Maysville Road and I-565 at Chapman Mountain (Exit 21).2
A westward extension of the limited access highway from I-65/565 to the U.S. 31 bridges over the Tennessee River was previously considered. The Fiscal Year 2005 Federal Transportation Department appropriations bill passed by Congress on November 20, 2004, included $3 million to begin efforts to extend Interstate 565 west to Decatur.3 Further funds were identified in the SAFETEA-LU legislation that was signed by President Bush in August 2005.
Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) officials planned a three mile extension of Interstate 565 eastward over Chapman Mountain to a new split diamond interchange at Moores Mill and Shields Roads. Construction of the $21.5 million project was slated to start in 2007.1 However work was shelved and subsequently reevaluated.
A public meeting held December 15, 2011 outlined a $30 million interchange design eliminating the intersection at High Mountain Road. This change would have extended the limited access highway portion of U.S. 72 to Shields Road.7 Instead work through February 2016 expanded the existing at-grade alignment of U.S. 72 to six lanes and made improvements at the intersection with Moore Mill Road.8
$9.4 million in construction from December 2013 to April 10, 2015 added two ramps at Interstate 565 and County Line Road.9 These movements complimented the adjacent wye interchange with Madison Boulevard.