Video Found from US-280

Along US-280

392 Miles long, US-280 begins at Birmingham, Alabama and runs as a four lane highway until well into Georgia. It ends at US-80 near Blichton, Georgia, having spent the last half of the route as a rural, two lane, Georgia State Highway.

 

 

 

 


  
Dist:
& Est Time:
140 Miles
2.6 Hours
State Map
& Segments:

Alabama DOT Map
Major Crossroads
 
 

Birmingham to Columbus, GA

Although not quite as busy as I-20 or I-65, US-280 is a four lane divided highway into and away from downtown Birmingham. The route is co-located with US-31 and it's  known locally as the Red Mountain Expressway and doesn't change it's urban nature until crossing over I-459 and the Cahaba River, where US-31 and US-280 separate.

The route is now six lanes divided - no longer limited access. The traffic flow is what you might expect of a suburban area, congested. There are some pretty hills, but the view can't be enjoyed because of the idiots talking on the phone, looking for next Kohl's or Target, and generally not paying attention to you and your motorcycle. BE CAREFUL.

The congestion dies off suddenty, but don't take that as an invitation to twist the throttle - there are still areas where developers are speculating and the morons in the rolling phone booths can still take you out. If it sounds that I don't like this stretch - you may be right. These seems to be little incentive to enjoy the ride here. Other than the fact that it's not limited access, the route through here reminds me of what Interstates were in the 1960's - dull. 

At Harpersville US-231 joins and will stay until Sylacauga. The route bypasses the larger towns of Sylacauga, Alexander City, and Dadeville. It's obvious upon nearing Opelika that there is some reason for increased traffic, and that's Auburn University. Signage will take you up on I-85 where you will join with US-29 and US-431, but traffic is such a mess that you probably won't notice that at all. 

If you want a break, pay close attention to ALL of the signage and go into downtown Opelika via 2nd Avenue, which I think is really the original US-280 path before I-85 came into being.. It's surprisingly NOT that busy and the mix of gentle hills and antebellum houses makes a pleasant change. If you have a good sense of direction and can properly orient youself, it's possible to completely avoid the I-85 mess and just navigate the city streets over to US-431/US-280.  You will cross US-29/I-85 and the worst of the traffic is gone almost immediately, in fact for about a mile the route reverts back to a two lane road. I've never been able to successfully manage this little passage through Opelika without getting turned around at least once - the signage always seems misleading.

It's not hard to get through/around Phenix City and Columbus, but the signs WILL take you onto a curious loop of limited access highways. The impact of Ft Benning begins to show here. 


  
Dist:
& Est Time:
250 Miles
4.7 Hours
State Map
& Segments:

Alabama DOT Map
Major Crossroads
 

Georgia State Line to Blichton

For the next 12 miles the co-located with US-27, which departs at Cusseta. At Richland the route turns nearly due east toward Plains as a two lane road, but in very good condition. Plains isn't a total tourist trap, but it does border upon it.  You are passing through the town, so it really isn't out of the way, why not plan to stop at the Jimmy Carter Historical Site

Americus is probably the town that has most benefitted from the presence of Jimmy Carter. It's busy, has excellent roads in all directions and doesn't have that "sleep" atmosphere of nearly every other larger town in this area. Police cars are evident everywhere - I suspect lots of federal funding helps bolster the level of protection here. They are looking for the kooks, although I don't know how you spot the really insane among the crowd of tourists. 

McRae to Alamo

If you need a break, or a place to camp, try Little Ocmulgee State Park. It's  more of a resort park, with a golf course - but it is pretty. Expect tar snakes (2015) eastbound, and some patches of rough road. The scenic value goes up due to some hills. 

 

to Mt Vernon

The tar snakes disappear, but their distraction has been replaced by increased truck traffic. It's still scenic but that can't be enjoyed if you are carefully watching those big trucks.  Mt Vernon is the county seat, but there isn't much there and you might be better off gong directly to Vidalia if you want something to eat or a place to overnight.

to Vidalia / Lyons

Not much changes in this section except the road comes alive in a few sections. If you ride through at the right time of day you might actually find an enjoyable ride. The roadway goes to four lane between Vidalia and Lyons and it's much busier with urban traffic. The trucks are joined by locals looking for the pharmacy parking lot, or even the fast food joint - use caution, they seem not to care that you are not protected as well as their 4x4 pickup truck.