Alabama Roads - 14th St. Birmingham/Truck US 11-78
14th Street, Birmingham - Truck US 11/78
There are plenty of city streets in Birmingham, and if you're looking for an assorted state-name Interstate shield or peeling US shield, you can feel free to wander and try to uncover a treasure. When you're ready to get serious, there's only one city street to head for, and it has nothing but the best to offer:
14th St. S, SB at 5th Ave. S.
14th St. S, SB at 4th Ave. S.
14th St. S, NB approaching the railroad tracks that define the boundary between the S and N streets. Now I will stop and tell you what you just witnessed, because it's unlike anything else you've ever seen. Birmingham had a unique set of truck route signs, which as you can see were squares with no hint of US shield outline. What you also witnessed is three different generations of truck signage. I hesitate to guess at which is older, but from appearance, I'd say the red came first, followed by the blue, followed by the squashed mini-shields. But the point is not the different styles, it's that these signs are here at all. You're heading southbound and two of the truck routes are northbound - 11 then turns east and slightly north to parallel its own route, which is fine. Clearly, Truck US 11 is on 5th Ave. S. Clearly, Truck US 31 is on 5th Ave. S in the other direction (to the west), but there's no telling where it went from there, because US 31 itself is to the east. US 280 ends multiplexed with US 31, so it makes sense that the US 280 (presumably EB) truck route is with 31 here. Then we come to Truck US 78. Does it follow 4th Ave. S, 5th Ave. S, or has it followed both at different times? It probably doesn't matter, because both routes link back up with US 78 to the east of the city.
SB across cobblestones and under the north-south dividing line that is now the Norfolk Southern Railroad. There are quite a lot of tracks above, because Birmingham was designed with a huge "railroad reservation" through the center. The idea of having bustling heavy industry in one's city center is definitely outdated, and the city is struggling to work with the hand it was dealt.
A sunnier NB look at the bridge.
For good measure, 14th St. NB at 4th Ave. N. These signs have gotten plenty of use in different places, given that the US 11 shield ended up with an EAST turning into a SOUTH. These signs prove that blue came after red, if you look carefully at the two JCTs (one of which is now a WEST). 14th St. N ends before too long and there are no more truck route signs, so I don't know where Truck US 78 was supposed to go - maybe via 8th Ave. N.
Onto regular US 78 and US 11/78
Onto regular US 11
To regular US 31
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