US 231 is a US Highway in the US state of Alabama. The road forms a long north-south route through the eastern half of the state, passing through the towns of Dothan, Montgomery, and Huntsville. The route is 507 kilometers long.
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US 231 at Montgomery.
US 231 near Cleveland in northeastern Alabama.
The US 231 in Florida comes from Panama City on the coast. The road is a 2×2 divided highway directly from the state line and after 20 kilometers reaches Dothan, the largest city in southeastern Alabama. There is a ring road around Dothan over which US 231 runs, around the west side of the city. This is a busy retail corridor. From Dothan, US 231 heads northwest, gradually passing through more densely wooded areas. The section from Dothan to Montgomery is approximately 150 kilometers long and is fully equipped with 4 lanes, mostly as a 2×2 divided highway, partly as a 5-lane road with center turn lane. The places Ozark, Brundidge and Troy have diversions, for the rest there is only sporadic development along US 231. The last part up to Montgomery is double numbered with US 82.
US 231 then follows the eastern portion of the city ring road of Montgomery, Alabama’s capital. US 231 follows Eastern Boulevard, a 2×3 lane urban arterial. Here is a connection to Interstate 85. There are also some grade-separated connections to major city roads. The Eastern Boulevard is a major retail corridor and is very busy.
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North of Montgomery, US 231 is still a 2×2 divided highway for some time and has a bridge over the Tallapoosa River not far outside Montgomery. The road takes a bypass along Wetumpka, the double-lane section ends not much further north. This is followed by a more than 60 kilometers long single-lane route through a sparsely populated and densely wooded area. There are no real places on this part of the route, at most some scattered buildings. Also, no major thoroughfares are crossed, partly because the Alabama River flows parallel to US 231, there are few intersecting roads because there are few bridges over the river.
From Sylacauga to Harpersville follows a 30 kilometer long double numbering with US 280, this part has 2×2 lanes. At Childersburg one crosses the Coosa River, after which US 231 turns off US 280 at Harpersville. This is over 30 kilometers outside of Birmingham. US 231 then follows a more secondary route north, parallel to the Coosa River to Pell City, where it intersects US 78 and Interstate 20.
North of Pell City the landscape becomes more hilly, these are the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. US 231 is also a single-lane road here and leads through valleys with meadows and hills with forests. There are only small villages on this part of the route. For Ashville, US 231 is double numbered with US 411. Shortly after Ashville, it connects to Interstate 59, not far south of the city of Gadsden.
The US 231 then follows a somewhat different route, the road leads west through a hilly area, this part is also single-lane. US 231 then cuts through the village of Oneonta, after which US 231 abruptly turns north in Cleveland. This is followed by a longer section of single carriageway through a rural area with more meadows. This is where the US 278 crosses. From the town of Arab, the US 231 has 2×2 lanes, the 2×2 route is more than 40 kilometers long to Huntsville. Crossing the Tennessee River via the Clement C. Clay Bridge, you enter the suburbs of Huntsville.
The passage through Huntsville is an urban freeway, this section has 2×2 lanes with frontage roads and viaducts over intersecting roads. The highway stretch is more than 11 kilometers long, at the height of Downtown Huntsville is a large interchange on flyovers with Interstate 565. The remainder of the stretch from Huntsville to the Tennessee border is part 2×2 divided highway and part 5-lane center turn lane. US 231 in Tennessee then continues to Fayetteville and Murfreesboro.
US 231 was one of the original US Highways of 1926 and at the time ran from Marianna, Florida to Montgomery, Alabama. With that, US 231 only ran in southeastern Alabama. This remained the case for a long time, only in 1952 an extension followed northwards all the way to St. John, Indiana, completing the rest of the route of US 231 through Alabama.
The route between Montgomery and Huntsville is illogical and changes direction several times, these were previously a series of different state routes. As early as the 1950s, portions of US 231 were widened to 2×2 lanes, first from Dothan to the north and from Huntsville to the south.
Florida – Dothan
A complete ring road has been constructed in Dothan. This ring road, also known as the Ross Clark Circle, was built in the late 1950s. This was given the number State Route 210, but is double-numbered on all segments with other US Highways, the US 84, US 231 and US 431. The ring road was originally not signposted with the number 210, only later this number appeared on the signage. The Dothan ring road is directly constructed as a 2×2 divided highway, with a maximum speed of 50 mph. The ring road is now highly developed with retail and industry, giving it an urban character.
The section between the border with Florida and Dothan was constructed in the early 1960s on a new route, directly with 2×2 lanes. This 20-kilometer stretch was also shorter than the original route, which was much more winding. The new US 231 was laid out almost straight through the landscape.
Dothan – Montgomery
Ultimately, the entire US 231 between Dothan and Montgomery was widened to 4 lanes, largely as a 2×2 divided highway, but also partly as a narrower 5-lane road with a center turn lane. First, in the 1950s, the first 10 kilometers from Dothan to Midland City were widened to 2×2 lanes. Around 1960, a new section opened between Midland City and Ozark, which was constructed over a new 2×2 lane route. In the mid-1960s the double numbering with US 82 south of Montgomery was widened to 2×2 lanes, then from the second half of the 1960s the longer section between Dothan and Montgomery was broadened to 2×2 lanes at a fairly rapid pace, which by 1970 was largely completed.
Montgomery – Huntsville
US 231 between Huntsville and Arab.
The first bridge over the Tennessee River south of Huntsville was a large 1931 truss bridge, the Clement C. Clay Bridge. A second span was constructed in 1965. In 2006 the old span from 1931 was replaced by a modern bridge, after which the old bridge was demolished.
The longer section from Montgomery to Huntsville has not been upgraded in such a structured way, large parts of the route have remained single-lane. Overtaking lanes have been constructed here and there. In the 1950s, a short section north of Montgomery was widened to 2×2 lanes to Wetumpka, partly with 2×2 lanes and partly as a 5-lane road with center turn lane. In the early to mid-1960s, the 30-mile double-numbered US 280 between Sylacauga and Harpersville was also widened to 2×2 lanes. In the late 1960s, much further north, the section between Arab and Huntsville was widened to 2×2 lanes.
In February 2020, a portion of US 231 south of Huntsville began to subside to such an extent that the entire slope had to be excavated. US 231 has been replaced at the site of the subsidence with two bridges, which opened on September 28, 2020.
The passage through the larger town of Huntsville is laid out as the Memorial Parkway. This road was widened to 2×2 lanes in the early to mid-1950s, the Memorial Parkway officially opened on December 1, 1955. From the 1960s, the population of Huntsville began to grow strongly and the Memorial Parkway was made grade separated in many phases by overpasses. construct intersections. The first new connection opened to traffic in 1969. The construction of viaducts over intersections was carried out over a period of decades, several new connections were opened in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. In 1992 the major interchange with Interstate 565 opened. After 2000, several new flyovers were built over intersections in the suburbs of Huntsville, more or less following the growth of the city. After the 1980s, Huntsville was the only Alabama city to experience significant population growth, with Madison County doubling in population between 1980 and 2020.
15,000 vehicles pass the Florida border every day, rising to 33,000 vehicles in northwest Dothan. 16,000 vehicles travel between Dothan and Ozark, and 15,000 vehicles continue as far as Troy. Also 15,000 vehicles run between Troy and Montgomery. In Montgomery, up to 51,000 vehicles drive on the East Ring north of I-85. North of Montgomery, US 231 is a lot quieter, with only 2,500 vehicles as far as Sylacauga. Between Sylacauga and Harpersville there are 17,000 to 21,000 vehicles, this section is double-numbered with the more important US 280. Between Harpersville and Pell City, approximately 4,000 vehicles and 4,000 vehicles travel between I-20 and I-59 at Ashville. At Oneonta, 10,000 vehicles and 4,000 vehicles drive from Oneonta to Arab. The section from Arab to Huntsville is busier with 13,000 to 19,000 vehicles, rising to a maximum of 109.