Alabama State Route 181
|Maintained by ALDOT|
|Length||18.235 mi (29.346 km)|
|South end||US 98 / SR 42|
US 90 / SR 16
|North end||US 31 / SR 3|
State Route 181 is a 18.235-mile-long (29.346 km) route in Baldwin County in the southwestern part of the state. The southern terminus of the route is at its junction with US-98 near Magnolia Springs. The northern terminus of the route is at its junction with US-31, near Spanish Fort.
State Route 181 includes both a four lane section and a lengthy two lane section which was once known as Baldwin County Road 27. The four lane section travels through commercial retail areas and across I-10. The two lane section begins a few miles south of the intersection with US 90 in the Malbis community. Plans are in place to improve the route to four lanes through its entire length. The southernmost two miles contain two sharp 90 degree turns which require traffic to slow to 25 mph in order to be safely navigated. Along US 98 at its intersection with Alabama 181, the route signs show Alabama 181 north being co-signed with Baldwin County 27. However, nowhere else along the route does signage for Baldwin County 27 exist.
State Route 181 was created in the 1970s as a short connector between US 31 and US 90 with an interchange with Interstate 10 in between. At its southern terminus with US 90 is the historic Malbis Plantation. The road continued south of US 90 as Baldwin County Route 27 and served many rural areas and local interests in SW Baldwin County. There are still some businesses along this route which use "Route 27" in their names even though it has been 20 years since the route became Alabama 181. Some newer businesses use "Route 181" in their business names. The northernmost two miles of the route between US 31 and US 90, including the interchange with Interstate 10 has become heavily commercialized with shopping, dining, and hotels. Before becoming a state route, there were only two or three traffic signals along the entire route south of US 90. In 2013, there are 10-12 traffic signals with future plans for more as the area continues to grow. WalMart now has a SuperCenter along the route near Fairhope, south of the intersection with Alabama 104. This supercenter, unlike many others, was designed in a way that it fits into the landscape without detracting from the local scenery.
Many local residents use this route as a north-south alternative to US-98 which runs parallel to it a few miles to the west. US-98 travels through the cities of Daphne and Fairhope while Alabama 181 travels through rural country. It has also become an alternative north-south route to Alabama 59 which runs parallel to it a few miles to the east.
Alabama 181 is mainly known and used by locals (many from Mobile) as a route to the beaches at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. This route provides a way to avoid the heavy tourist traffic along Alabama 59. Alabama 181 is used to connect to US 98 east and after crossing over the bridge at Weeks Bay turning south onto Baldwin County Route 49 at Magnolia Springs, Alabama. Proceeding south along Baldwin County 49 to Baldwin County 12, then left on Route 12 to Baldwin County 65 south, then a short distance south to Baldwin County 10 where a left turn will take the driver east to intersect Alabama 59 just north of the Gulf Shores city limits. This routing is mainly flat and straight through south Baldwin County farm country and the final segment crosses the Bon Secour River just west of Alabama 59.
Alabama 181 runs directly north to south with no curves for 16 of its 18-mile route. It runs parallel to the Fish River which empties into the Mobile Bay via Weeks Bay. Most of the land along Alabama 181 is rural farmland but since being rechristened as a state route in the 1990s, it has become more heavily traveled and commercially and residentially developed.
The entire route is in Baldwin County.
|Fairhope||0.0||0.0||US 98 / SR 42||Southern terminus|
|Daphne||16.795||27.029||US 90 / SR 16|
|17.295||27.834||I-10||I-10 exit 38|
|Spanish Fort||18.235||29.346||US 31 / SR 3||Northern terminus|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|