Thu 10 Nov 2011
It was that time of the year again, for us to embark on another AARoads trip specifically to document roads. This year’s trip focused on finishing what we started in November 2009, with a return trip to Indiana and Michigan for the purpose of driving the remaining Interstates that we did not cover two years prior. Day 1 took us northward from Alabama to Cincinnati, Ohio. The day started out clear and sunny, but clouds ahead of an approaching cold front quickly set in by Birmingham and increased in density until yielding sprinkles in Chattanooga and heavy rain north of Cleveland, Tennessee. Rain fell profusely all the way to the Cincinnati area.
Work associated with the Progress 65 project in Montgomery is now complete. Despite the presence of construction barrels in this scene taken November 3, 2011, there was no active work. Interstate 65 was widened to six lanes on a 4.613-mile stretch through Montgomery and speed limits increased to 60 mph. All final guide signs are in place.
Shelby County widening of Interstate 65 from Exit 242 (CR 52) north to the Jefferson County line is near completion. The freeway carries six lanes on this stretch with increased ramp capacity at the suburban interchanges of Alabama 119 (Cahaba Valley Road), CR 52 and CR 17 (Valleydale Road). Future expansion will focus on the freeway south from Exit 242 to Exit 238, and eventually the Shelby County Airport interchange (Exit 234).
Work continues on the reconstruction of Interstate 65 from the Jefferson County line northward to U.S. 31 (Exit 252) at Vestavia Hills. When we passed through in June, northbound traffic was partitioned between a single lane and two-lane carriageway split and no signs were left for Interstate 459. Now southbound utilizes that configuration while northbound continues with three overall lanes and new Highway Gothic font based signs are in place. Work on this aspect of the Progress 65 project is slated for completion this upcoming winter.