Independence Drive is the name given to the approximately 1-3/4 mile stretch of U.S. Highway 31 in the Homewood city limits that is not part of the Elton B. Stephens Expressway. It extends from the end of the expressway in the north to almost the top of Shades Mountain to the south.
Originally, the section of road north of 29th Avenue South to the Homewood city limits was known as East Avenue. South of that point, it was Montgomery Highway. Prior to the creation of the Red Mountain cut, going north the highway followed what is now 29th Avenue and crossed the mountain on what is now 18th Street South.
In 1937, East Avenue was improved as a so-called "Trailer Route" with gentler curves than the existing Montgomery Highway. The improvements created a wider, straighter route up the north side of Shades Mountain, the current path of Independence Drive. In the early 1940s the R. H. "Bob" Wharton Bridge, part of the cloverleaf intersection at Lakeshore Drive, was built and the highway was designated U.S. Route 31. Also during the 1940s, the northern end of the road was renamed 20th Street South when Homewood renamed several streets to continue Birmingham's street numbering system.
When the Elton B. Stephens Expressway was completed in 1970, the portion connecting to what would be named Independence Drive was just east of the existing 20th Street, leaving a short portion of that original street north of 28th Avenue South. It was in 1976, the American Bicentennial, that Homewood officials renamed the road in honor of "all Homewood citizens, past or future, who sacrifice their lives for freedom" (Summe, p. 233).
- For an alphabetical list of locations, see the Independence Drive category.
Only intersections with traffic lights or overpasses are included. There are several additional intersections with residential roads.
- 28th Avenue South / Ventura Avenue intersect (highway continues north as Elton B. Stephens Expressway)
- 2800: Merchant's Walk (built 1990), former location of Tara House Hotel
- 2820 (styled #1): Independence Plaza (built 1979), former location of Vulcan Motor Lodge
- 29th Avenue South intersection
- 2907: former location of Jack O'Lantern tea room and supper club
- Oxmoor Road/Hollywood Boulevard intersection
- 3000: Piggly Wiggly, former location of Hill's Food Store
- 3001: Shades Cahaba Elementary School
- 3030: CVS/pharmacy, former location of Hi-Kel and Big B Drugs
- Courtney Drive intersects
- 3036: former location of Melrose Ice Cream (1950s–1960s)
- 3040: 3040 Independence Drive, former location of Tidmore Flag and Banner (1995-2013), Christopher Architecture & Interiors (–2019)
- Poinciana Drive intersects
- 3045: Vlachos Orthodontics
- 3048: Stock & Trade Design Co., former location of Beacon House Furniture (1955-), Forbes Piano & Organ Company
- 3054: Alabama Outdoors
- 3055: McCool & Bhuta / Sonology Hearing Aid Clinic
- Lancaster Road intersects
- 3100: Lischkoff & Pitts accountaints / Heart Gallery of Alabama
- 3106: Mayfair Internal Medicine
- Mayfair Drive intersection
- 3125: Homewood Plaza
- 3250: Friends and Family Health Center / Birmingham Counseling & Wellness
- 3310: The Alabama Baptist
- 3324: 3324 Independence Drive
- Saulter Road/Old Montgomery Highway intersect
- 3349: The Diabetes Store / The Compounding Shoppe / Bruce Downs CPA
- 3401: Wellness Pharmacy
- 3415: Homewood Office Plaza (built 1998), Skin Wellness Dermatology, former location of Capstone Building Corporation / Fyzical of Birmingham / Kimberly McGowen endodontist
- 3430: John Charles Bell / Black & Morgan attorneys
- 3485: Urology Centers of Alabama
- 3489: NOHAB Building, Urology Centers of Alabama
- 3490: American Mining Insurance Co. building (built 1975), Alabama Family Specialists (2020-), former location of Bob's Tourist Court (1940s–1960s), Birmingham Professional Land Management Associates (-1999), American Mining Insurance Company (1999-)
- 3499: Bonet & Smith, Go Insurance Agency
- Old Montgomery Highway intersects
- 3500: Hydralive Therapy Birmingham
- 3501: Birmingham Association of Realtors
- 3525: Alabama Orthopedic Center
- 3544: former location of All American Micro (1990)
- 3550: Skin Pathology Associates
- 3551: Shades Valley Branch YMCA
- Lakeshore Drive/Shades Creek Parkway interchange (R. H. "Bob" Wharton Bridge)
- Shades Creek crosses
- Brookwood Medical Center
- Brookwood Medical Center Drive interchange (Jim Bennett Bridge)
- Homewood city limits (continues south as Montgomery Highway in Vestavia Hills)
- Summe, Sheryl Spradling. (2001). Homewood: The Life of a City. Homewood, AL: Friends of the Homewood Public Library.
|Current U.S. Highway 31||Independence Dr.||Montgomery Hwy||Montgomery Hwy||Pelham Parkway||1st Street|
|Previous routes||18th St S, 29th Ave S, Old Montgomery Hwy||Lorna Road, Old Montgomery Hwy||Old Montgomery Hwy||Old Highway 31|