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Interstate 65 is Alabama’s ‘most loathsome highway’

HUNTSVILLE — It’s the primary route for North Alabamians to head to the beaches or Birmingham or Montgomery.

And it’s the bane of many a traveler, sometimes adding hours to a trip.

So, it should come as no surprise that Interstate 65 has been voted Alabama’s “most loathsome highway.”

The ranking came in Gunther Volvo Cars Daytona Beach‘s survey of 3,000 drivers to determine, once and for all, America’s most loathed interstates/freeways/highways.

While the 350-mile stretch of asphalt is infamous for its traffic snarls and has even attracted the notice of a former president and Lt. Gov. Nathaniel Ledbetter, the notorious “malfunction junction” around Birmingham gives the highway is No. 6 ranking. Although, those of us in the Tennessee Valley are well aware of the snarls around the Cullman-Lacon exits.

According to the survey, “… in 6th place overall is Alabama’s I-65 stretch through Birmingham. It stands out as a driver’s quagmire, notorious not just for its daily congestion but for the longevity and frequency of its improvement projects. This road embodies frustration for commuters as it’s plagued by a concoction of issues: it cuts through the heart of Birmingham, leading to an inevitable clash with city traffic, and serves as a major thoroughfare for both local and long-haul transportation.

(ALDOT, 256 Today)

“Compounding these troubles are the seemingly endless construction projects, like the recent massive undertaking to revamp the I-59/20 junction, which rerouted traffic onto the I-65, exacerbating delays. Additionally, the highway’s infrastructure, designed decades ago, struggles to accommodate the booming population and economic growth of the region, leading to frequent bottlenecks, especially near landmark exits such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Vulcan Park and Museum.

“These factors coalesce to make I-65 not just any congested highway, but a uniquely challenging ordeal for those who traverse the Birmingham segments.”

Not to be left unnoticed, another Birmingham highway is among the list’s top 100.

Coming in at No. 73, is the parking lot also known as U.S. 280.

“Slicing through the heart of Birmingham, it stands notorious for its relentless congestion, particularly during the harrowing rush hours. This isn’t just any stretch of tarmac; it’s a critical pathway that channels a diverse workforce between the urban center and its sprawling suburbs,” the survey writes. “The road, a vital artery for over 97,000 vehicles daily, winds past landmarks such as The Summit, drawing both local and commercial traffic that often slows to a frustrating crawl.

“Add to this mix the frequent, almost clockwork-like accidents and ongoing construction efforts for expansion, and you have a recipe for daily commuter headaches.”

To that end, we can breathe a sigh of relief and say, “thank God for California.” Unsurprisingly, the top three positions in the survey all went to California freeways. For the complete list, visit https://www.gunthervolvocarsdaytona.com/americas-most-loathed-highways.htm.

The Top 10

  1. U.S. 101 in California,
  2. I-5 in California,
  3. I-405 in California (San Diego Freeway),
  4. I-76 in Pennsylvania,
  5. I-70 in Colorado,
  6. I-65,
  7. U.S. 1 in Delaware,
  8. I-87 in New York (New York Thruway),
  9. I-90/I-94 in Illinois (Dan Ryan & Kennedy Expressways),
  10. Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.

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