This report is from a daytrip into Alabama from Meridian, MS on December 3, 2000.
Thought I'd celebrate a certain numbered birthday where my car insurance has
dropped 40%, so headed out on a quick "round" ('bout 8 hours worth).
Nothing of note until I got to Corridor "X":
If they weren't before, they are now allowing traffic again to Marion CR 45. East of there, the barriers aren't quite "full", so I was able to sneak on for the rest of the trip to AL 129. Final paving has been completed between Hamilton and AL 129. Striping is completed on the pavement, but still has to be done on the bridges. BGSes are up, and I have at least 1 pic of BGSes at each exit. Between Hamilton and AL 129 is signed as US 78/AL 4 (got a pic). No distance signs yet.
Paving is not completed yet on AL 129 between Corridor X and US 78. From the looks of the pavement base, it appears that the section will be a mix of 3-, 4-, and 5-lane undivided.
Construction is progressing on some sections east of AL 129. Immediately east of the AL 129 interchange is an overpass that appears completed. However, the roadbed still has a lot of grading work to be done. I snuck up AL 13 to see how that interchange is progressing...lots of earth moving...the Corridor X bridge over AL 13 has not been started yet. One disappointment will be the 65 MPH speed limit.
Construction is progressing on the US 78/Corridor X interchange east of Carbon Hill. East of that interchange, the interchange at what will be an AL 102 extension is completed, and paving appears complete between there and the Jasper exit. Also in between this section, US 78 is currently using what will be the future north frontage road. Just west of the Jasper interchange is the cutover to the new lanes.
Currently, the open section between US 78 and AL 269 is signed as either TO AL 69/Tuscaloosa, or TO US 78/Tupelo. Exit tabs for some interchanges are empty. AL 69 is signed as Exit 60 WB, while AL 269 is signed Exit 63 EB (and interestingly, still Exit 101 on the WB signage). Chris Lawrence is correct in that the future section between AL 269 and Industrial Parkway Road will be 6 lanes...whether JUST this section, or whether that 6 lane will stretch east, is anybody's guess. The road is completed to Industrial Parkway Road (still needs pavement striping), but abruptly ends at a hill on the east side of the interchange.
Construction is underway for the future US 78/Corridor X interchange in Graysville. US 78 was down to 2 narrow lanes each direction on the eastbound side, with a 45 MPH speed limit. No bridgework started yet...all current work is earth moving.
One note about US 78 traffic: even for a Sunday, truck traffic was very heavy. It's a foregone conclusion to many what the TRUE "Memphis-to-Atlanta Interstate" will be. I can also see why the locals call it a deathtrap between Jasper and Birmingham: lots of traffic, lots of hills, and too many cross streets and driveways.
Got pictures of the I-20/459 stack and the end of US 411 in Leeds.
On the return trip, I snuck down to Centreville to scope out the new section of US 82 that opened recently. Much to my disappointment, it's not a freeway...but instead is an at-grade expressway with 3 or 4 intersections (including one at AL 219) in between the interchanges at AL 5 and AL 25. The road ends abruptly at a large hill just east of the AL 25 interchange. The AL 5 interchange is a 5-ramp par-clo (NB-WB loop), while the AL 25, when (and if) completed, will be a folded-diamond to the east.
Last stop was Tuscaloosa, getting pics of each end of I-359. Also discovered that there is only one reassurance shield along I-359...northbound just past the merge from the WB I-20/59 ramp. Sorry Alex...didn't catch this one, but I got you another I-359 AL shield pic.
Last note for any near-future I-20/59 travelers: pavement work both southwest of Tuscaloosa and between the Tenn-Tomm and Livingston.
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