Alabama Roads - US 80

US 80

US 80 EB turns right, US 11 goes straight, and these highways are parallel to 11 and just to the west on an unsigned connector route (the end of AL 8, which otherwise follows US 80 silently to the east).

Walking south on Washington St. in Selma from Water St. to the Alabama River. I tried to make the signs readable - you can see there was a toll until 1900, which was collected out of the house in the last photo, and then from 1926 until 1940, the Washington St. bridge was original US 80.

Looking down at the northern (or western, in US 80 terms) abutment of that old bridge. There's no evidence on the southern shore.

It's hard to complain about the loss of the Washington St. bridge when you have such a beautiful replacement just to the west. This is the most famous bridge in Alabama, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, carrying US 80 for many years until it was rerouted to the AL 41 bypass. If you've never heard of it, let me show you a sign and then continue my story.

It's the last paragraph of this sign that immortalizes the bridge forevermore and probably guarantees that it will be preserved for decades to come. In January of 1965, the Alabama civil rights marches began here in Selma. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself came here to organize people, but the first march didn't get very far. As hundreds of black Americans set out on their march toward history, they were met on the other side of the bridge by a formidable number of white policemen. Those policemen were armed in full riot gear, despite the fact that the marchers were unarmed and well-behaved. Singing and smiling, they kept on walking straight into one of the most horrific acts of police violence ever recorded in this nation. Horrific not just for the racism behind the decision to start beating, horrific not just for the savagery of the beating, but for the sheer number of people who were attacked with the complicity of the Alabama state government. Devastated by what transpired, many were ready to give up and return to their oppressed lives, but Dr. King kept people together in Selma, organized still more to join them by the thousands, and together with other Southern Christian Leadership Conference leaders, appealed to national courts for an order of protection. He kept them there for a full week until they gained the right to march, protected by national troops. Then they once more set out across this bridge, converting its history from a sad and shameful site of cowardly violence to the gateway of triumph in the face of adversity. I took this photo facing eastbound, the direction of the march to the state capitol.

Continuing up to the bridge. Something you will only notice by walking is that the railing is embossed with quasi-Masonic symbols. I would in fact be surprised if they were not Masonic in nature, given the history of Freemasonry in this nation.

Looking east at a railroad bridge and west along the Alabama River.

After crossing the bridge, I look across the river to the west and east. To the west, homes have one basement level below their main level, and then the rest just sits on a very tall foundation rather than having subbasements. Water levels were definitely down this time of year, because you can see the river rises yearly up to the top of the mud. To the east is the old Washington St. bridge abutment by the toll house.

Crossing back northward (WB) into Selma.

Once more in Selma, I look south at the beauty of the structure.

It doesn't have the same feel as walking across, but driving across yields a much steadier video. Of course, taken EB.

Finally out of downtown and onto the current route, US 80 WB/AL 41 NB bypassing the east side of Selma. I hear John Morgan was so big, he's B I G. So is his BrIdGe.

WB at AL 293, a short route outside Montgomery that doesn't do much of anything. It's probably only there because it's right next to a couple of large lumps of hillock with fences on top. Those are AL 108, a planned southern bypass of the city (the first freeway bypass it would get, if it stays a freeway). For many years, the portion from US 80 (and I-85) south past AL 110 has been built up and graded but with no bridges built, and a lot of fences to keep traffic off of it. (Or why else are they there? I can't see driving on those things even without the fences.)

The first photo is WB on the old road in Montgomery (Atlanta Highway), the second is EB at Old Montgomery Road (in Tuskegee). Got that? Quiz at 11.

US 231 and US 80/231
See Selma's non-roads

Into Georgia on US 80
To I-59 and I-20/59
To I-20 alone
Onto AL 293 and future AL 108
Onto Old Montgomery Rd., Tuskegee
Back to Alabama Roads
Back to Roads