I-69 Metropolitan Memphis Routing

Current Status

Environmental impact study in progress (FR Notice), expected to be complete by the end of 2004.

Segments open to traffic:

Existing Interstate 55 from MS 304 at Hernando to I-240 in Whitehaven (Exit 6).
Existing Interstate 240 from Whitehaven to I-40 in Midtown (Exit 31).
I-40 from Midtown to Frayser (Exit 2A).
TN 300 from I-40 to U.S. 51.
Existing Tennessee 385 from I-40 in Arlington to U.S. 51 in Millington.

Segments under construction:

None at present.
Tennessee 385 from I-40 in Arlington to south of U.S. 64 near Eads.
Tennessee 385 from U.S. 72 to TN 57 in Collierville.

SIU 9: Hernando to Millington

Interstate 69 will enter the Memphis area from the south via the U.S. 61 corridor, and leave the area to the north near Millington roughly following the U.S. 51 corridor.

From the south, it has already been decided that I-69 will follow U.S. 61 to the new Mississippi 304 freeway being built in DeSoto County. I-69 will continue along MS 304 east to I-55 between Hernando and Nesbit. (For more details, see the Shreveport-Memphis page.)

From this interchange, I-69 will turn north and follow the existing I-55 route through Southaven, Horn Lake, and Whitehaven to its interchange with I-240 in South Memphis. I-69 will then follow existing I-240 north through South Memphis and Midtown to its interchange with I-40.

I-69 will then overlay I-40 for about two miles through North Memphis, before splitting off at the existing TN 300 interchange (currently marked “US 51 — Millington”) and following the stub TN 300 freeway to its end at US 51 (Thomas St.) south of Frayser. It will continue on new alignment, west of and parallel to U.S. 51, and intersect the TN 385 outer beltway southwest of Millington. New interchanges would be built at TN 388 (N. Watkins St.), Woodstock–Cuba Rd, and Ward Rd. As of December 2004, the western A-1 alternative has been selected by the Tennessee Department of Transportation for this section of the route.

In addition to I-69, to serve the overall needs of the Memphis highway system, a second route will be constructed forming an eastern loop of the greater Memphis area. This route, which is currently designated as parts of MS 304 and TN 385, will be designated as Interstate 269 (not, as some suggested, I-669). This route will follow the planned route of MS 304 east, then north, to the Mississippi-Tennessee state line southeast of Collierville, then follow an as-yet unnamed freeway section to the Collierville-Arlington Parkway (TN 385) north to Arlington (which is currently at various construction and pre-construction stages), then follow the existing Paul Barret Parkway (TN 385) west to Millington.

In addition to the interchanges on existing TN 385, interchanges would be built at Getwell Rd, Laughter Rd, Craft Rd, Mississippi 305, Red Banks Rd, U.S. 78, Mississippi 309 (Byhalia Rd), Mississippi 302 (Goodman Rd), U.S. 72, and Nonconnah Parkway (Tennessee 385). Another interchange with an extended McIngvale Road in Hernando has also been proposed by local officials.

In December 2004, Mississippi Department of Transportation officials selected the central B-1 alternative as the preferred routing for this part of I-269.

The decision to go with constructing both routes—designated the “system alternative” in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement— settles a long-running dispute between Memphis and Shelby County (Tenn.) officials and DeSoto and Marshall County (Miss.) and Fayette County (Tenn.) officials over the routing of I-69. It will also enable construction of the MS 304 beltway at an accelerated pace, provided that funding for the route is forthcoming from Washington. According to this article in the March 2001 Delta Business Journal, all of the contracts are scheduled to be let for MS 304 east of I-55 by 2009, with completion several years later; however, due to budgetary constraints, construction could be delayed for several years without additional federal funds. As of mid-2006, MDOT's draft State Transportation Improvement Plan for 2007-12 includes $138 million for construction of Interstate 269 in Marshall County in FY2011; in DeSoto County, construction would start in FY2009 from I-55 to MS 305 with construction east to the Marshall County line beginning in FY2011.

These plans will also permit state and federal officials to settle a routing for the proposed Interstate 22 highway from Memphis to Birmingham (Ala.). As of this writing, the I-22 designation is expected to be written into law in October 2003, although a specific route from Memphis to the existing US 78 freeway in DeSoto County has yet to be designated. It is generally expected, however, that I-22 will follow part of planned I-269 from Byhalia west to Hernando, rather than a more roundabout path to I-240 via Collierville. It is also possible that I-22 may simply stop at I-269, as two-digit Interstates need not end at another two-digit route.

As an unrelated project, TDOT plans to widen I-240 and I-40 to eight lanes from the I-55/240 interchange north to the I-240/I-40 Midtown interchange. More information on the project is at the TDOT website .

TDOT is also rebuilding the I-240/I-40 interchange in Midtown Memphis to better accomodate through traffic on I-40; prior to fall of 2003, a narrow flyover ramp is used by eastbound traffic. For more details on this project, see TDOT's website. This project also includes widening of I-40 north (east) of the interchange.

TDOT and the Memphis MPO is also planning a “parkway” along North Second Street between Auction Street downtown and the U.S. 51/TN 300 interchange in Frayser, to service the north end of downtown and divert downtown commuter traffic away from I-40 and I-240. For more information on this proposal, and a map, see my TN 300 page.

Finally, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is planning to widen I-55 from the Tennessee state line to Mississippi 4 at Senatobia in stages over the coming fifteen years, starting with a section from Tennessee to MS 302 (Goodman Road) in early 2004, which will have four lanes in both directions (the innermost of which will be a HOV lane during peak hours), with an additional “auxiliary lane” in both directions between the State Line Road and Goodman Road interchanges.

See Also

Shreveport-Memphis | I-69 Home | Memphis-Evansville

Chris Lawrence <i69@lordsutch.com> (23 Jun 2006 at 01:03 EDT)