Interstate 359

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Interstate 359

I-359 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-59
Maintained by ALDOT
Length2.76 mi[1] (4.44 km)
ExistedSeptember 13, 1983[2]–present
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-20 / I-59 / US 11 / SR 69 in Tuscaloosa
North end US 11 / US 43 / SR 69 in Tuscaloosa
CountryUnited States
Highway system
  • Alabama State Highway System
US 331 SR 378

Interstate 359 (I-359) is a part of the Interstate Highway System in the US state of Alabama. It is a spur route that runs for 2.76 miles (4.44 km) entirely within the city limits of Tuscaloosa. Its terminuses are just south of I-20/I-59 interchange on the south side of town and U.S. Route 43 (US 43) in downtown Tuscaloosa. The entire length is concurrent with US 11 and State Route 69 (SR 69), with both continuing as at grade thoroughfares north and south of the shorter Interstate.

Route description

Three green signs are located above an elevated portion of roadway with no traffic visible on a cloudy day.
I-359 northbound at exit 2

I-359 begins just south of the I-20/I-59 interchange at the western terminus of US 11 (SR 7, Skyland Boulevard) and SR 69.[3] From this point, the route travels in a northerly direction, where it meets I-20/I-59 at a partial cloverleaf interchange.[3] The route reaches its first exit at Cousette Street in a half cloverleaf configuration, which provides access to the University of Alabama.[4][5] I-359 then continues in a northerly direction paralleling Greensboro Avenue to its northern terminus just north of 15th Street, where the limited access freeway transitions into an at-grade thoroughfare as it enters downtown Tuscaloosa.[6]

From its crossing of the Alabama Great Southern Railroad (AGS) through the northern terminus, the highway in its entirety is elevated along a continuous bridge span.[4] I-359 also features a wrong-way concurrency for its entire duration with travel from downtown Tuscaloosa being signed as both I-359 and SR 69 south and US 11 north,[7] and with travel from the south being signed both I-359 and SR 69 north and US 11 south.[8]


A map illustrating the conceptual north-south route of I-359 from I-59 into the city of Tuscaloosa.
Planning map for the Tuscaloosa area freeways from 1955

In the early 1960s, local planners and elected officials stated the need for direct access to I-59 from the city of Tuscaloosa.[9] As annexation had not yet brought the city limits to the I-59 corridor, I-359 was originally to be the only access provided to I-59 directly from Tuscaloosa. The route, as originally envisioned, was to have no exits for the duration of its route between its southern terminus at I-59 and its northern terminus at 15th Street in downtown Tuscaloosa.[9]

Actual planning for I-359 commenced in 1961,[2] and, by 1971, the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) announced that federal funding would be sought for its construction.[10] Planning for the corridor continued throughout the 1970s, only to stall briefly due to complications with the required environmental impact assessment associated with the project.[11] By 1976, it was announced I-359 would have an exit both at 35th Street (now Cousette Street) and 15th Street to improve access to both the University of Alabama and Stillman College.[11]

In 1977, ALDOT publicly unveiled the final routing of the route and presented it at a series of public meetings in August 1977.[12] The selected route resulted in the slight relocation of 35th Street, the construction of a bridge along 31st Street over the freeway, and the construction of a continuous viaduct along the final leg of the freeway through its 15th Street junction.[12] Plans were also unveiled to add an additional travel lane in each direction along I-20/I-59 between its junction with I-359 and McFarland Boulevard.[12]

Following the acquisition of the necessary right-of-way, phasing of the project was released in June 1979.[13] The first phase included the completion of the interchange at I-20/I-59 and lane expansion; the second phase included the segment between I-20/I-59 and the AGS railroad crossing; and the third phase included the elevated segment through the northern terminus in downtown Tuscaloosa.[13] Construction would commence in 1980 on the first phase, with the bid for the second phase setting a then-record for cost for a Tuscaloosa road project at $11.9 million (equivalent to $36.9 million in 2023[14]).[15] As construction was wrapping up on phase two, phase three of the project again set a record cost at $17.4 million (equivalent to $46.5 million in 2023[14]) in January 1982.[16] The phase included the completion of the viaduct section of the freeway, constructed at an average elevation of 22 feet (6.7 m) above grade.[16] The first segment of I-359 opened to traffic in October 1982 between I-20/I-59 and exit 1.[17] Costing $41 million (equivalent to $105 million in 2023[14]) at completion, I-359 was officially dedicated and opened for traffic on September 13, 1983.[2]


In 2024, ALDOT will began work to convert the US 11 (Skyland Boulevard)/SR 69 intersection into a single-point urban interchange (SPUI) in order to improve traffic flow. The project, which is a joint effort between the Tuscaloosa Road Improvement Commission and ALDOT, is expected to cost $89 million and take about three years to complete.[18]

Exit list

The entire route is in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County.


US 11 north / SR 69 south (SR 7 north) – Moundville, Eutaw
Southern terminus; southern end of US 11/SR 7 concurrency
0.390.63 I-20 / I-59 – Birmingham, MeridianI-20/59 exits 71A-B; parclo interchange
1.051.691Cousette StreetFormerly signed for 35th Street / Kauloosa Avenue

US 11 south / US 43 south (15th Street / SR 7 south / SR 13 south) – Stillman College
Northern end of US 11/SR 7 concurrency

US 43 north / SR 69 north (SR 13 north) – Northport
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; northern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Official Highway Map (Map) (2007–2008 ed.). Alabama Department of Transportation.
  2. ^ a b c Watkins, Ed (September 14, 1982). "Opening of I-359 applauded". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 1A.
  3. ^ a b Google Maps street maps and USGS topographic maps, accessed April 14, 2010 via ACME Mapper
  4. ^ a b Watkins, Ed (July 31, 1977). "Connector hearing slated". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 3A.
  5. ^ Google (April 14, 2010). "Interstate 359/Exit 1 interchange" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  6. ^ Google (April 14, 2010). "Interstate 359/Exit 2 interchange" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  7. ^ Google (April 14, 2010). "Wrong-way concurrency southbound" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  8. ^ Google (April 14, 2010). "Wrong-way concurrency northbound" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved April 14, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Mizell, James (April 8, 1962). "Major highway projects given top priority here". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 1.
  10. ^ Staff Reporters (January 14, 1971). "Local Interstate funds to be asked". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 17.
  11. ^ a b McKenzie, Mike (July 28, 1976). "Project progress reported". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 11.
  12. ^ a b c Watkins, Ed (June 26, 1977). "Hearing set on I-359 project". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 1.
  13. ^ a b Watkins, Ed (June 1, 1979). "Exchange briefed on I-359 project". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 2.
  14. ^ a b c Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the MeasuringWorth series.
  15. ^ Watkins, Ed (June 26, 1980). "I-359 cost to be record". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 2.
  16. ^ a b Watkins, Ed (January 31, 1982). "Interstate highway project sets state record". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 2D.
  17. ^ Staff Reporters (October 22, 1982). "Football traffic routes". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 3.
  18. ^ Henry, Bryan (January 3, 2024). "ALDOT prepares for 'flyover bridge' construction in Tuscaloosa". Retrieved April 11, 2024. {{cite news}}: External link in |work= (help)

External links