Alabama/Alabama Highways

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This page describes Alabama-specific determinations for implementing US Highway Classification values.


In Alabama, we use the same standard as defined on the US Highway Classification page.

The top category, highway=motorway should only be applied to roadways that are either signed Interstate highways or have ALL of the following characteristics:

  • Grade separation
  • Limited access via on/off ramps
  • No at-grade intersections or traffic signals (although on-ramps may have traffic control devices)
  • Divided carriageways
  • Designed and maintained to support high speeds over long distances

In particular, roads which briefly exhibit motorway-like characteristics for short distances should not be tagged as a motorway.


Trunks are the most important non-motorway highways in an area. In Alabama, Non-motorway routes connecting major settlements are considered trunk roads, or major inner-city roads. these roads will be signed US or state highways.

Important Regional Centers

The following cities in Alabama are considered important regional centers:

Inside Alabama
City Notes
Birmingham Includes surrounding Metropolitan area
Huntsville Includes surrounding Metropolitan area
Montgomery Includes Prattville
Phenix City Alabama section of Columbus, GA

Trunk Roads

The following US routes are principal roads between important population centers not serviced by interstates.

Route Population Centers Served Notes
US 431 Huntsville, Gadsden, Anniston, Opelika, Phenix City, Dothan
US 411 Gadsden, Rome Until AL 9
US 280 Birmingham, Auburn, Phenix City
US 278 Cullman, Gadsten
US 231 Dothan, Montgomery Also connects Huntsville to Murfreesboro
US 98 Mobile Connects with Mississippi and Florida highway network
US 90 Mobile East/West US highway
US 84 Dothan, Enterprise
US 82 Montgomery, Tuscaloosa Trunk does not continue to Eufaula or Georgia.
US 80 Selma, Montgomery, Auburn, Phenix City
US 72 Florence, Huntsville
72 Alt Florence, Decatur, Huntsville
US 45 Mobile Joins with Mississippi trunk system
US 43 Florence, Tuscaloosa, Mobile Part of US 43 is primary since it was replaced with AL 171

The following state routes are principal roads between important population centers not serviced by interstates.

Route Population Centers Served Notes
AL 210 Dothan
AL 186 Connects US 80 to the Interstate
AL 171 Tuscaloosa Fastest route to Tupelo
AL 158 Mobile Under Construction
AL 157 Florence, Cullman
AL 152 Montgomery
AL 133 Florence Connects US 72
AL 69 Tuscaloosa, Cullman Trunk starts at US 80, ends at I 65
AL 24 Decatur Being constructed in Mississippi
AL 21 Anniston, Montgomery Continues to Pensacola, stops in Piedmont. not a trunk road for the entire distance.
AL 9 Gadsden, Rome Rome, Georgia

*This table may not include all major routes between Population Centers.


Primary routes are routes connecting small incorporated settlements, or linking other primary, trunk, or motorway roads to other roads or places. Use this tag on State or US routes connecting multiple incorporated settlements or other important roads, but not important enough to receive trunk classification. This tag can also be used on very important city roads.

An example of a primary road is: AL 14.


Secondary routes are the most important County roads that link to many smaller county roads or small settlements. They may also be minor state routes.


Tertiary routes are County or city roads. A county road that serves as any sort of through route should be considered a tertiary road regardless of paved status.


Use the Unclassified tag for any very small linking road, or for any non-service road that does not serve houses. Ex: Industrial park roads.


Use the Residential road tag strictly for roads that are not through routes, such as roads in subdivisions, or dead-end county roads that serve houses.


Tracks are roads that are mainly used for forestry and agriculture. Track roads are not maintained by the city or state for traffic to travel on. These would be roads serving: A managed forest used for forestry, A national forest or Wildlife Management Area, or a farmer's field. For graded Forest Service roads, you can opt to use unclassified or tertiary instead.


This page is discussed on the #local-alabama Channel of the OSMUS Slack.