Traveling over the northern counties of Alabama, U.S. 72 is a four-lane corridor east from the Shoals area to Athens, Huntsville, Scottsboro and Bridgeport. An Alternate route branches east from U.S. 72 at Muscle Shoals to Courtland and Decatur. The bannered route returns to U.S. 72 by way of I-565 east from Mooresville to Madison and Huntsville.

U.S. 72 shifted west onto the Bridgeport bypass from near the Tennessee state line southwest nine miles to the city of Stevenson per AASHTO on April 16, 1999. U.S. 72 Alternate was relocated to a 21.70 mile overlap with Interstate 565 west from Huntsville by action of AASHTO on June 13, 1992.


U.S. 72 east
U.S. 43 & U.S. 72 share a 14-mile overlap between the Shoals area of northwest Alabama to near Killen (pop. 1,119) in Lauderdale County. Before the two routes part from one another, they cross the Schoal Creek. There is a pair of older truss bridges. Photo taken 09/26/03.
A side profile of the U.S. 43 & 72 truss bridge over the Schoal Creek. Construction is underway involving the creation of a new concrete span to the south of the current crossing. Photo taken 09/26/03.
U.S. 43 & 72 are divided with four to six lanes throughout their Muscle Schoals to Killen routing. Each truss bridge over the Schoal Creek carries two lanes. Less than one mile ahead, U.S. 43 turns northward to Green Hill and Lawrenceburg, Tennessee (pop. 10,796). U.S. 72 continues eastward with four lanes to Killen, Center Star, Elgin, Rogersville (pop. 1,199), and ultimately Athens (pop. 18,967). Photo taken 09/26/03.
Signage for the Interstate 565 and Controlled Access Highway End follow the U.S. 72 merge with the freeway. Photo taken 12/28/09.
U.S. 72 intersects Epworth Drive beyond the Interstate 565 end. Epworth Drive lines the eastbound side of the four-lane highway from Exit 21 and serves residential areas on the south slope of Chapman Mountain. Photo taken 12/28/09.
U.S. 72 passes through Certain Gap of Chapman Mountain after Epworth Drive. Speed limits lower to 50 mph. Photo taken 12/28/09.
East of the city of Huntsville, U.S. 72 becomes part of Appalachian Regional Development Corridor V. This east-west designation applies to Alabama 24 and Alternate U.S. 72 to Huntsville before encompassing U.S. 72. These special blue & white shields are featured along all three routes throughout northern Alabama. The location of this shield is in the mountainous area near the village of Paint Rock (pop. 185). Photo taken 09/26/03.
U.S. 72 west
U.S. 72 rises from Certain Gap and intersects Epworth Drive ahead of the Interstate 565 freeway beginning in Huntsville. Photo taken 12/28/09.
U.S. 72 splits with Interstate 565 and the westbound beginning of U.S. 72 Alternate at a folded diamond interchange (Exit 21). Photo taken 12/28/09.
Interstate 565 & U.S. 72 west
Signage indicates the controlled access status of Interstate 565 after the U.S. 72 at-grade intersection with Epworth Drive. Photo taken 12/28/09.
The first westbound shield of Interstate 565 follows, indicating a brief overlap with U.S. 72 ahead of Exit 21. Photo taken 12/28/09.
Exit 21 not only acts as the continuation of U.S. 72 west, but also provides local access to Maysville Road south from U.S. 72 east to the Chapman Heights and Darwin Downs neighborhoods of east Huntsville. Photo taken 12/28/09.
Interstate 565 and U.S. 72 part ways at Exit 21. Interstate 565 provides a direct route to downtown Huntsville, Madison and Decatur (west of Interstate 65). U.S. 72 connects with U.S. 231 & 431 (Memorial Parkway) nearby and ultimately links Huntsville with Athens. Photo taken 12/28/09.
U.S. 72 scenes
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U.S. 43, U.S. 72 and SR 13, 17, 20 and 157 cross the Tennessee River over the O'Neal Bridge west of Wilson Dam. The cantilevered Warren through truss bridge links the cities of Florence and Muscle Schoals. Photos taken 09/26/03.



Photo Credits:

09/26/03, 12/28/09 by AARoads

Page Updated 05-05-2011.