U.S. Highway 431 was created as an auxiliary route of U.S. Highway 31. It stretches approximately 556 miles across three states including Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

According to AARoads.com, U.S. 431 “originates in Dothan and serves eastern reaches of Alabama north to Eufaula, Phenix City, Opelika, La Fayette, Anniston, Gadsden, Albertville and Huntsville.” The route was established in 1953 over U.S. Highway 241 from Anniston north to the Tennessee state line. The highway also replaced Alabama Highway 37 south from U.S. Highway 78 to Opelika.

Since its inception, U.S. 431 has transformed from a simple bypass to a nationally recognized stretch of highway and a catalyst for growth in various counties and municipalities like Albertville, Boaz and Guntersville.

Since 1950, Marshall County’s population has more than doubled from 45,090 to an estimated 96,109 in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As for the cities located along U.S. 431, the U.S. Census Bureau shows Albertville has grown from a population of 5,397 in 1950 to an estimated 21,568 in 2018. Boaz has seen its population increase from 3,078 in 1950 to an estimated 9,656 in 2018. Guntersville has seen the least increase. Its population in 1950 was 5,253. In 2018, it was estimated at 8,482.

Such growth is considered a good thing for each community, but it’s also an issue when it comes to traffic.

“Traffic flow is a big problem that I think [every city] is trying to address,” Albertville Mayor Tracy Honea said. “When you talk about U.S. 431, we obviously need some kind of relief … but that’s what happens when you have a lot of folks out on the road and a lot of businesses located in the area. It’s tough, but it’s also a good problem to have.”

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