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According to beautyphoon, US 31 is a US Highway in the US state of Alabama. The road runs north-south across the state, paralleling Interstate 65 for its entirety, often a short distance apart, with the exception of the south, where the road runs somewhat further from I-65. The entire route is 626 kilometers long.
US 31 north of Cullman.
The road joins I-65 into the state of Alabama from Tennessee. At the town of Athens, US 31 branches off I-65 and crosses US 72, the main road from Florence to Huntsville. At the city of Decatur, a city of 56,000 inhabitants, one crosses the great Tennessee River. Then the road continues to Cullman, and the entire route between Athens and Cullman has 2×2 lanes, despite its proximity to Interstate 65. The landscape is slightly hilly, and consists of an alternation of meadows and forests. The multi-lane section begins again in Kimberley, approaching the Birmingham conurbation.
In Birmingham the road is called the Decatur Highway. It crosses Interstate 20, and from here US 31 becomes its own freeway, the Elton B. Stephens Expressway. The road runs east of downtown and has 2×4 lanes. This soon narrows to 2×3 lanes. The highway section ends at the intersection with US 280 to Columbus, although after that important connections are still grade separated. One passes through Vestavia Hills, a wealthy suburb of Birmingham. One then crosses I-65, and in Hoover Interstate 459. After the suburb of Alabaster, you leave the agglomeration.
The road intersects I-65 occasionally, never extending more than 3 miles from the highway. Parts are multi-striped. The area is slightly sloping, with quite a lot of forest. One passes through the western neighborhoods of Alabama’s capital, Montgomery. South of Montgomery there are more and more forests. After Evergreen, US 31 continues off I-65 a little further to pass through the town of Brewton. The Florida border is only a few miles away. The road runs east-west between Brewton and Bay Minette. After Bay Minette, the road continues in 2×2 lanes to Interstate 10, and ends with US 90 in Southern Alabama’s largest city, Mobile. One crosses the broad Mobile Bay there.
The Red Mountain Expressway in Birmingham.
According to ablogtophone, US 31 was one of the original US Highways of 1926, its original starting point was the city of Mobile. Around 1980, US 31 was shortened a little across Mobile Bay to Spanish Fort, eliminating unnecessary double numbering with US 90 and US 98.
US 31 was a major north-south connection before the Interstate Highway system was created. Beginning in the late 1950s, the important US 31 was gradually replaced by I-65. In 1959, the first section of I-65 opened at Warrior, just north of Birmingham. US 31 was discontinued as a through route between the mid-1960s and late 1970s when I-65 was phased out through Alabama. A long missing link was the section through the southern suburbs of Birmingham, which only opened in 1981. Here the US 31 was an important road for a long time. By 1985, all of US 31 had been replaced by I-65 when the last section opened north of Birmingham.
Because US 31 was still a major road for quite some time, quite a few sections of US 31 have been 2×2 lanes, especially in the Birmingham area and in the north of the state. There is a long 4-lane stretch from Garden City to Athens, this 100-kilometer stretch was widened to 2×2 lanes in the 1950s and was the first long stretch in Alabama to have all 4 lanes at the time.
The first bridge over the Tennessee River in Decatur opened in 1925 and was a large bascule bridge. In 1963 a second cantilever truss bridge was built next to it, providing 2×2 lanes of traffic. In 1999 a modern girder bridge opened as a third bridge, the bridge from 1928 was then decommissioned and demolished shortly afterwards.
In about 1965, a 10-mile stretch south of Bay Minette in the south of the state was widened to 2×2 lanes. At the time, this route processed through traffic because I-65 was only built here to Mobile a little later. The section between Flomaton and Brewton was widened in two phases to a 2×2 divided highway, the approach road from Brewton was widened to 2×2 lanes around 1970, the further widening to Flomaton was carried out in the 1990s. The bridge over the Alabama River at Montgomery was doubled around 2002 with a second span. In 2021, US 31 will be widened to 2×2 lanes through Spanish Fort.
US 31 has officially been canceled entirely in northern Alabama between Athens and Ardmore in Tennessee. I-65 is built here directly over US 31. Both routes are not double-numbered on the signage.
Red Mountain Expressway
In Birmingham, a 5 kilometer long section of US 31 has been developed as a highway, the Red Mountain Expressway between I-20/59 and the suburb Homewood. The highway is named after the Red Mountain, a ridge that bisects the highway. Planning for the highway began in the 1960s and there were originally plans to build a tunnel through Red Mountain. Later in the 1960s it was decided to realize an excavation, the Red Mountain Expressway Cut. The Red Mountain Expressway opened to traffic in 1970. In 1987, the Red Mountain Expressway Cut was granted National Natural Landmark status.
The southern end of US 31 at Spanish Fort.
Every day, 7,000 to 15,000 vehicles drive between Spanish Fort and Bay Minette, dropping to 4,000 vehicles between Bay Minette and Atmore. Between Atmore and Flomaton, 3,500 vehicles and 6,000 to 12,000 vehicles run on the double-numbered four-lane section between Flomaton and Brewton. Further north, the intensities drop to about 4,000 vehicles as far as Evergreen and just 500 vehicles between Evergreen and Georgiana. Between Georgiana and Greenville there are 2,000 to 4,000 vehicles, from this point US 31 runs right next to I-65, keeping the intensities low.
The remainder of the route to Montgomery has 1,000 to 2,000 vehicles, rising slightly to 7,500 vehicles on the south side of Montgomery. The section between Montgomery and Prattville is somewhat busier with 9,000 to 22,000 vehicles. Further north, 2,000 to 4,000 vehicles drive as far as Clanton and 4,000 to 8,000 vehicles drive between Clanton and Alabaster.
Traffic intensities are naturally higher in the Birmingham conurbation. In Hoover, 35,000 to 50,000 vehicles and 30,000 vehicles drive through Vestavia Hills. The busiest part is the short stretch of highway in Birmingham city center with 68,000 vehicles. North of Downtown, this quickly drops to 14,000 vehicles and 9,000 vehicles to Morris. After that, 3,000 to 5,000 vehicles will drive, increasing to 20,000 vehicles in Cullman. The four-lane section from Cullman to Hartselle has 5,000 to 7,000 vehicles, rising to 20,000 to 42,000 vehicles in the city of Decatur, the busiest point on the Tennessee River bridge. 24,000 vehicles drive through Athens.
George Wallace Tunnel
|George Wallace Tunnel|
The George Wallace Tunnel is a tunnel in the United States, located in Mobile, Alabama. The tunnel is part of Interstate 10 in Alabama and passes under the Mobile River.
The George Wallace Tunnel is a two-tube tunnel with 2×2 lanes. The tunnel is 914 meters long and passes under the Mobile River at Downtown Mobile. The tunnel is part of Interstate 10 in Alabama and connects to the Jubilee Parkway on the east side. The tunnel is critical as a thoroughfare along the Gulf of Mexico. North of the tunnel is the Bankhead Tunnel of US 90/98.
The tunnel was constructed between 1969 and 1973 as part of I-10. The tunnel was constructed as a submersible tunnel, but surprisingly it has round tubes. Most immersion tunnels have square tunnel segments.
The tunnel is named after George Wallace (1919-1998), the governor of Alabama between 1963 and 1967, 1971 and 1979, and 1983 to 1987.
The tunnel is congested and is located in an unfavorable alignment on the west side, which follows a sharp upward curve with a lot of merging and merging traffic into the center of Mobile. There were plans to supplement the tunnel with the construction of the Mobile River Bridge, which would involve tolling both the new bridge and the existing tunnel. However, on August 28, 2019, it was decided to remove the project from the region’s transportation plans due to the controversial toll.
Around 70,000 vehicles drive through the tunnel every day.