By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, June 20, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) and other officials will be present for the ribbon cutting to officially open the Interstate 22 interchange at Interstate 65. The opening of traffic for the last, and most expensive, portion of I-22 achieves the goal of completion of a project that has been decades in the making.
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), the I-65 interchange will officially open to public traffic immediately following the ribbon cutting. Work on Daniel Payne Drive (Exit 264) and Walkers Chapel Road (Exit 267) will continue and remain closed following the ribbon cutting.
Formerly referred to as Corridor X, I-22 connects Birmingham with Memphis. The road was officially designated I-22 in 2004 and I-22 spans from the Mississippi state line to I-65, just north of downtown Birmingham, and is 98 miles in length. It connects Marion, Walker and Jefferson counties and cost slightly more than $1 billion to build.
The project was let to contract in 1984 when George C. Wallace (D) was Governor and it has taken 32 years to complete. ALDOT says that the road goes through some of the toughest terrain the state agency has constructed an Interstate Highway through.
Corridor X was included in the Interstate and Defense Highway plan in the 1930s. In 1978 it was included in the Appalachian Development Highway Program. 1,164 tracts of property for right-of-way were acquired at a cost of more than $87 million over a 25-year period.
This last section of I-22 has taken over five years to complete. I-22 has ended at Coalburg Road. Eliminating the Coalburg Road and Daniel Payne Drive detour will be very beneficial for residents of Jasper who commute to the Birmingham area.