U.S. 31 North - Jefferson County

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U.S. 31 North
Within the city limits of Hoover (pop. 62,742), U.S. 31 northbound along the Montgomery Highway, a six-lane arterial, approaches Interstate 65 and Jefferson County 99. The pentagon refers to the north-south Columbiana Road. This surface street parallels Interstate 65 to the east. 10/01/03
Northbound, as U.S. 31 begins on the Elton B. Stephens Expressway, the first exit awaits motorists for Rosedale Drive. This guide signage should also indicate that the ramp connects to U.S. 280 eastbound (see the shields in the background). The freeway is sometimes referred to as the Red Mountain Expressway. However, guide/proclamation signage uses the Stephens Expressway moniker. 08/10/02
Button copy guide sign for Interstate 65 at the Exit 252 parclo interchange along U.S. 31 northbound. To the left is Southland Drive, a local street. Ahead on the left is the cloverleaf ramp for Interstate 65 southbound. 10/01/03
U.S. 31/280 shield assembly at the gore point for the Rosedale Drive off-ramp from northbound. U.S. 280 shares pavement for its final three miles with U.S. 31 on the Elton B. Stephens Expressway. 08/10/02
Neutered Interstate 65 shields, done in the New York style of signing practices, at the Exit 252 interchange. Ahead U.S. 31 crosses into the city of Vestavia Hills (pop. 24,476). Jefferson County 99/Columbiana Road is the third left ahead. 10/01/03
U.S. 31 North U.S. 280 West
Button copy signage abounds on the U.S. 31/280 freeway. This sign bridge is located on the freeway northbound as it approaches the Highland and Arlington Avenue exit. As the limited access highway continues northward, it approaches the valley in which the central business district of Birmingham rests. 02/11/01
A second look at the 2009-replaced button copy signage for Highland Avenue. This sign bridge is posted just after U.S. 280 westbound merges onto U.S. 31 north. 08/10/02
One-half mile guide signage for the Arlington/Highland Avenue exit on U.S. 31 north/U.S. 280 westbound. Traffic merging from the right enters the freeway from 21st Avenue. 08/10/02
U.S. 31/280 maintain six lanes through the Highland Avenue interchange. The departing ramp connects with a frontage-type road that links Arlington and Highland Avenues. 08/10/02
2 photos
2 photos
U.S. 31 south/U.S. 280 east approaching 21st Avenue and Vulcan Park. The Elton B. Stephens Expressway sees a dramatic rock cut (the Red Mountain Geological Cut) as it ascends out of the central business district valley towards Homewood. The city of Birmingham is home to 242,820 residents, with 662,047 residents living in Jefferson County. 02/11/01, 08/10/02
Button copy signage on U.S. 31 north/U.S. 280 west for 8th Avenue near the Highland Avenue overpass. The 8th Avenue exit serves the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Saint Vincent's Hospital. 08/10/02
University Boulevard is added to the guide signage for the 8th Avenue exit on northbound. That is because 8th Avenue changes its name to University to the west of the interchange. The Five Points and Avondale neighborhoods of the city are accessible from this cloverleaf ramp. 08/10/02
A new reflectorized overhead is in place on northbound for the U.S. 78/3rd and 4th Avenue exit. Interesting enough, the lighting assembly was left in place with the sign replacement. Standard policy is to remove the lighting fixtures when replacing out of date signage. 08/10/02
U.S. 31 north & U.S. 280 west at the exit for U.S. 78 (3rd and 4th Avenue South) to Downtown Birmingham. Am imprint of a U.S. 280 shield was a remnant from the former alignment of the route to Downtown. The succeeding interchange is with U.S. 11. 02/11/01
Another view of the button copy sign bridge on U.S. 31 north/U.S. 280 west at the U.S. 78 exit. Both 3rd and 4th Avenue are shown on the guide signage, because the exit ramp connects with 27th Street midway between the two avenues. 08/10/02
Button copy signage on U.S. 31 north & 280 west for Interstates 20/59. The northern end of the Elton B. Stephens Expressway transitions directly onto Carraway Boulevard. 08/10/02
The last exits for the Red Mountain Expressway depart for U.S. 11 (1st Avenue North) and 2nd Avenue North. Combining with U.S. 78 two blocks to the west, U.S. 11 passes through the heart of the business district. 08/10/02
A loop ramp connects U.S. 31 north & 280 west with 2nd Avenue North. The Amtrak/Norfolk-Southern railroad lines two blocks to the south represent the dividing line between north and south street suffixes in Birmingham. 08/10/02
U.S. 280 comes to an end one half mile before the Interstate 20/59 and U.S. 31 stack interchange. The flyover ramps for Interstate 20/59 west/south give a sweeping view of the downtown area, with the city street grid far below. 08/10/02
U.S. 280 was relocated from a downtown terminus to the north end of the Red Mountain Expressway at the Interstate 20/59 interchange. This end shield is posted on at the split with Interstate 20/59 ramps on U.S. 31 northbound. The eastern terminus of U.S. 280 occurs in contrast at the small town of Blitchton, Georgia, west of Savannah. 02/11/01
Northbound ramps from U.S. 31 to Interstate 20/59. The signs are non-reflectorized with button copy lettering. This interchange is stacked high above the city street grid, offering a stellar view of the downtown skyline to the south and west. U.S. 31 descends back to street level as 28th Street en route to northern suburbs of Fultondale and Gardendale. 02/11/01
Proof of the fantastic view of the Birmingham skyline from the U.S. 31/Interstate 20-59 stack interchange. This photograph is taken from the northbound U.S. 31 to westbound Interstate 20/southbound Interstate 59 flyover. The Interstate pair intersect nearby Interstate 65 at "Malfunction Junction" two miles to the west. 02/11/01

Photo Credits:

02/11/01, 08/10/02, 10/01/03 by AARoads

Page Updated 02-10-2006.

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