Highland Avenue overpass

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Southern portal in December 2009.

The Highland Avenue overpass is the section of Highland Avenue which continues over the Elton B. Stephens Expressway (U. S. Highway 31) near 23rd Street South and 11th Avenue South. The expressway was tunneled below grade between the existing Highland Plaza and Highland Towers multistory apartment buildings.

Harbert Construction used large earth-movers to reduce the time that the avenue would need to be closed by several months. Begun on May 23, 1966, the overpass was completed in January 1967.

The approximately 287-foot long tunnel consists of cement walls on either side of the six-lane highway with square, cement columns bounded by metal safety railing separating the north- and southbound lanes. Illumination is provided by a series of lights along the tops of the walls and both sides of the central columns.

"You Are Beautiful"

In October 2010, the phrase "You Are Beautiful" was painted on the south side of the overpass, generating a great deal of reaction, much of it positive. The message was later defaced, clumsily repainted, and finally painted over entirely in April 2011.

The southward facing side of the overpass has also served as the location of a pair of temporary countdown clocks.


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