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Interstate 85 South - Chambers & Lee County

Interstate 85 south
U.S. 29 travels 3rd Avenue south from downtown West Point, Georgia onto Gilmer Avenue through Lanett, Alabama. Broad Avenue carries the US highway southeast from Alabama 50 (Veterans Memorial Parkway) to a diamond interchange (Exit 79) with Interstate 85. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Reflectorized signage replaced the original button copy panel at the Exit 79 off-ramp to U.S. 29 by 2008. U.S. 29 enters the city limits of Valley from I-85 southward along 20th Avenue to the communities of Shawmut and Langdale. U.S. 29 turns westward from Fairfax to meet the freeway again in Lee County. Photo taken 12/31/08.
The Welcome to Alabama sign precedes the Exit 79 ramp departure, as Interstate 85 has just crossed the Chattahoochee River. The state line leaves the waterway from West Point and Lanett northward along the 35th parallel as the Chattahoochee turns northeast. This boundary dates back to the partition of the Georgia and Mississippi Territory.1 Photo taken 07/12/05.
Southbound motorists pass under U.S. 29 on the 0.75 mile approach to a rest area and tourist information center. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Interstate 85 south meets the Alabama welcome center midway between Exits 79 and 77. The final rest area of the southbound freeway follows in 35 miles. Photo taken 07/12/05.
The first reassurance marker posted for Interstate 85 along the 80.008 mile course through the Heart of Dixie. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Interstate 85 stays just west of Valley through to the Exit 77 diamond interchange with Chambers County 208. The distance to Montgomery is one mile further than the remaining mile of I-85 south. Photo taken 07/11/10.

County Road 208 arcs west from Langdale in Valley along Fob James Drive and Phillips Road to Huguley, meeting Interstate 85 midway along the path at Exit 77. Photo taken 07/12/05. Second photo taken 07/11/10.
Exit 77 departs Interstate 85 south to Chambers County 208. CR-208 north continues from Alabama 50 at Huguley to CR-84 in western reaches of Lanett. Southern Union State Community College resides along Fob James Drive to the east. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Interstate 85 enters a long forested stretch of freeway from outside Valley southwest to the Cusseta area. Auburn is 29 miles to the south. Photos taken 07/11/10.
Although all of Chambers County officially resides within Central Time Zone, the time zone sign along Interstate 85 southbound is not posted until after Exit 77. Lanett and Valley observe Eastern Time Zone due to their proximity to West Point, Georgia. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Chambers County 388 crosses paths with the Exit 70 diamond interchange in one mile. Photo taken 07/11/10.
CR-388 connects Interstate 85 with U.S. 29 on the outskirts of Valley to the east. Westward, the county road defaults onto Chambers County 83 north to the city of Cusseta and the county seat of Lafayette. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Interstate 85 nips corners of Lee and Chambers Counties before reentering Lee County at the Chambers County 177 overpass. Opelika, the county seat, follows in nine miles. Photos taken 07/11/10.
Andrews Road arcs west from U.S. 29 to Lee County 162 and the community of Andrews in northeast Opelika. The divided highway was constructed to serve an industrial park along the west side of Interstate 85 and Exit 66. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Exit 66 is the first of five interchanges to serve the city of Opelika. Opelika was home to 26,477 per the 2010 census, named from the Muskogee word meaning large swamp and incorporated as a town on February 9, 1854. Photo taken 07/11/10.
The Exit 66 partial-cloverleaf interchange at Andrews Road was constructed between 2001 and 2003. U.S. 29 enters Lee County ahead of Pine Grove and continues from the east end of Andrews Road to Exit 64 of I-85. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Downtown Opelika remains six miles to the southwest from Interstate 85 at Andrews Road. The capital city is now 68 miles away. Photo taken 07/11/10. Second photo taken 07/12/05.
U.S. 29 and Interstate 85 come together again at the Exit 64 diamond interchange with Point Parkway. Signs reflect just U.S. 29 north, as U.S. 29 south joins the freeway for a 13.11-mile overlap through both Opelika and Auburn. Photo taken 07/12/05. Second photo taken 07/11/10.
U.S. 29 originally continued west along Point Parkway to Samford Avenue at junction U.S. 431. The former route then used 2nd Avenue and Pepperell Parkway west through the Opelika street grid. This alignment was relinquished from state maintenance during the 1990s. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south
Reassurance shield assembly for Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Opelika is still referenced along southbound mileage signs, three miles out from the city center. Montgomery is an hour drive now. Photo taken 07/11/10.
U.S. 280 & 431 cross paths with Interstate 85 at the Exit 62 diamond interchange in one mile. The two split at I-85, with U.S. 280 west joining I-85 & U.S. 29 south to Exit 58 and U.S. 431 traveling Fox Run Parkway north to bypass central Opelika. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Exit 62 departs Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south for U.S. 280 east and U.S. 431 (Columbus Parkway). The tandem join Auburn and Opelika with Smiths Station, Phenix City, and Columbus, Georgia to the southeast. North from the city, U.S. 431 continues to Lafayette and Anniston. Photo taken 07/12/05. Second photo taken 07/11/10.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south and U.S. 280 west
U.S. 280 shares pavement with Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south for 3.44 miles. The original alignment followed Torbert Boulevard west to 7th Street and 2nd Avenue (old U.S. 29). The alignment would later shift to 10th Street and U.S. 29. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Traffic from U.S. 280 west & 431 joins Interstate 85 south ahead of this shield assembly featuring all three overlapped routes. U.S. 280 was realigned from Opelika by 1999. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Alabama 51 ventures north 14 miles from Marvyn (junction U.S. 80) to end at Interstate 85 at Exit 60 in one mile. Alabama 169 splits from the state route just 0.59 miles south of the freeway for a 26.33-mile alignment to Crawford and U.S. 431 outside Seale. Photo taken 07/11/10.
The folded-diamond interchange with Alabama 51 (Marvyn Parkway) south and Geneva Street north resides along side a Norfolk Southern Railroad line. Geneva Street ties into the junction from 10th Street (former U.S. 280) and downtown Opelika to the north. Alabama 51 comprises a 114.18-mile route south to Hurtsboro, Clayton, Clio, and New Brockton. Photo taken 07/12/05. Second photo taken 07/11/10.
Shields posted for Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south and U.S. 280 west follow the NS Railroad under crossing along as the freeway passes by an industrial area to the south. Photo taken 07/12/05. Second photo taken 07/11/10.
The city of Auburn appears as the next destination six miles out. Sign changes made between 2005 and 2010 adjusted the mileage for Montgomery from 62 to 60 miles. Photo taken 07/11/10.
U.S. 280 prepares to part ways with Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south at the forthcoming partial-cloverleaf interchange (Exit 58) with Gateway Drive. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Gateway Drive was constructed in 1999 from the intersection of old U.S. 29 (Pepperell Parkway) and Birmingham Highway south to a new interchange with Interstate 85. The roadway was then extended eastward to County Road 54 (Capps Way) and Alabama 51 (Marvyn Parkway). Photo taken 07/11/10.
U.S. 280 joins the Auburn and Opelika area with Dadeville, Alexander City, Sylacauga, Childersburg and Birmingham to the northwest. Retail has enveloped most areas north of the interchange between Interstate 85 and Frederick Road since the exit opened. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south
Originally signed for Glenn Avenue, forthcoming Exit 57 connects the freeway with Bent Creek Road midway between parallel Glenn Avenue and Hamilton Road. The exit serves adjacent Auburn University Regional Airport (AUO), which was named Auburn-Opelika Robert G. Pitts Airport until November 2009. Photo taken 07/12/05. Second photo taken 07/11/10.
One half mile out from the Exit 57 diamond interchange with Bent Creek Road. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Exit 57 leaves Interstate 85 & U.S. 29 south for Bent Creek Road. Bent Creek Road ends at Glenn Avenue and the airport; Glenn Avenue continues west to downtown Auburn and east to become Frederick Road in Opelika. Photo taken 07/11/10.
An older style shield for Interstate 85 remained in use between Bent Creek Road and the Moores Mill Road overpass. Photo taken 07/11/10.
The stretch between Exits 57 and 51 is 5.57 miles. Auburn referenced at four miles out simply refers to the upcoming diamond interchange with South College Street. Photo taken 07/11/10.
U.S. 29 splits with Interstate 85 south and leads away from the freeway and Auburn to Tuskegee and Union Springs. Former U.S. 29 north along South College Street coincides with Alabama 147, 1.39 miles to Shug Jordan Parkway (Alabama 267), an at-grade four-lane bypass west of downtown Auburn. Photo taken 07/12/05. Second photo taken 07/11/10.
Exit 51 carries drivers onto U.S. 29 south for Chewacla State Park and the Macon County seat of Tuskegee. SR 147 north joins SR 267 along Shug Jordan Parkway for 5.055 miles. The state route continues from its overlap with Alabama 267 three miles to U.S. 431 at The Bottle.
Old U.S. 29 (South College Street) and Wire Road provide the most direct routes from I-85 to Auburn University via Exit 51 and Alabama 147. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Interstate 85 south
A new diamond interchange under construction in 2012 will join Interstate 85 with Cox Road (County Road 12) at Exit 50. This exit may connect with the proposed Auburn Outer Loop, which may eventually become a part of a realigned Alabama 147.2 Photo taken 07/11/10.
Southbound mileage sign posted eight miles out from the first exit beyond the Auburn area with Wire Road. Just northwest of the freeway along this stretch is the 340-acre Auburn Technology Park off Beehive Road. Increased traffic to the 2008-established park was part of the justification for the $18-million project to build Exit 50 at Cox Road.3 Originally scheduled to open in July 2012, utility conflicts delayed the completion4 of the new exit until November 29, 2012. Photo taken 07/11/10.
Interstate 85 enters Macon County, 47.47 miles ahead of the terminus in Montgomery. Photo taken 07/11/10.



Sources:

  1. Mississippi Territory @ Wikipedia.org.
  2. "Auburn's outer loop a long-term project." Opelika-Auburn News, February 25, 2008.
  3. "New interchange will provide access to tech park." The Auburn Villager, March 16, 2011.
  4. "Exit 50 set for December opening." The Auburn Villager, October 4, 2012.
Photo Credits:
2005-07-12, 2008-12-31, 2010-07-11 by AARoads

Connect with:
U.S. highway 29
U.S. Highway 280
U.S. Highway 431

Page Updated 10-31-2012.

 
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