Athens and Limestone County, Alabama offer regional, national and international accessibility through a highly-established system of roads, airports, railways and ports. Most of the Southeastern United States is within 400 miles of Athens and Limestone County.
Limestone County is accessible via a network of highways which offer travel and shipping routes to major metropolitan centers as well as regional markets. Thirty truck transit lines serve Limestone County and Athens, and seven lines are located within the county.
There are six Interstate-65 interchanges in Limestone County at Ardmore (365), Elkmont (361) Huntsville/Decatur (340), U.S. Highway 31/Athens (mile marker 354), U.S. Highway 72/Athens (mile marker 351) and Huntsville-Browns Ferry Road/Athens (Limestone County 24; mile marker 347). The Huntsville-Browns Ferry interchange provides direct access to Interstate-65 for the Carpenter Technology Corporation as well as other industrial parks and sites within close proximity.
Interstate-565 is a 22-mile highway that extends between Decatur and Huntsville, Alabama. The Huntsville International Airport and International Intermodal Center are located off the Interstate. It also offers access to Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park and additional land and buildings. Interstate-565 is a part of an ISTEA proposed highway that will connect Memphis, Tennessee with Atlanta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Future extensions will extend Interstate-565 west of Interstate-65 to connect with U.S. Highway 31 near Decatur.
- Other Highways
Other major shipping routes in Athens and Limestone County, Alabama include U.S. Highway 72 and U.S. Highway 31. Highway 72 links Athens with Huntsville, Alabama and Chattanooga, Tennessee to the east and with Florence, Alabama and Memphis, Tennessee to the west.
International Intermodal Center
The International Intermodal Center is located at the Port of Huntsville in Huntsville, Alabama, giving area industries the ability to ship and receive goods internationally. The Intermodal yard overs a 45-acre area and six miles of track. It is a global air cargo hub that receives daily wide-body freighters from Europe. It is expanding reach to Asia and Latin America.
The Intermodal Center is designated as a U.S. Customs Port of Entry, which offers 24-hour U.S. Customs and U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors. It also governs Foreign-Trade Zone #83, which is considered to be outside the Customs Territory of the U.S.
The International Intermodal Center is serviced by all major freight forwarders. Industries can receive, transfer, store, and distribute international and domestic cargo via air, rail, and highway. Two 45-ton overhead gantry cranes are available to move containers. Time-definite cargo can be processed quickly and in a hassle-free operating environment to all points in North America and Mexico.
Limestone County, Alabama has a regional airport within the county for corporate and private aircraft, and it is in close proximity to the Huntsville International Airport, as well as other major area airports.
Huntsville International Airport
Huntsville International Airport is located within minutes of Limestone County near Madison, Alabama. It is the largest commercial airport in North Alabama, and it serves more than 1.2 million passengers annually. Huntsville International Airport is serviced by most major airline carriers and offers non-stop flights to 9 cities in the United States.
Huntsville International Airport features two parallel runways, and one million square feet of cargo ramp space. The airport offers international air cargo services for receiving, storing, transferring and distributing domestic and international air cargo. It features weekly non-stop service to Europe, Mexico, Hong Kong and San Paulo, Brazil. In addition, the international air cargo services offer 5,250 square feet of cold storage space and operate 24 hours a day.
- Pryor Field
Pryor Field Regional Airport features a 6,100-foot lighted, instrument-landing equipped runway located in southern Limestone County. The Airport is owned by Decatur/Athens Airport Authority, and it serves both private and corporate aircraft. Pryor field was a former World War II pilot training facility.
- Nearby International Airports
Limestone County is located less than two hours from the Birmingham International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama and the Nashville International Airport in Nashville, Tennessee. Both airports offer non-stop international flights. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta is less than 250 miles or three and a half hours away.
CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway serve Limestone County, Alabama. The railways offer conventional transportation as well as piggyback service. Alabama’s railways run from Athens toward Mobile in the southernmost point of the state. The railways connect Limestone County with major cities including Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans and Chicago.
Water / Ports
Athens-Limestone County has access to barge and river shipping via the Tennessee River. The nearest port facility is 13 miles from Athens. The Tennessee River links to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway with networks that include the Ohio, upper Mississippi River and Tennessee River System. The Tenn-Tom River saves approximately 750 miles on the trip to the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile, Alabama.