Interstate 55 in Tennessee

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Interstate 55 marker

Interstate 55
Bishop J.O. Patterson Sr. Memorial Parkway
W.B. Fowler Sr. Expressway
Route information
Maintained by TDOT
Length: 12.6 mi[1] (20.3 km)
Major junctions
South end: I-55 / I-69 at the Mississippi state line
  US 51 in Memphis
I-240 in Memphis
US 61 / US 64 / US 70 / US 79 in Memphis
North end: I-55 at Arkansas state line
Highway system
SR 54 SR 55
I-55 northbound, along with I-69, as it enters Tennessee in Memphis.

Interstate 55 in Tennessee lies entirely within the city of Memphis, located in Shelby County. The highway enters the city from Southaven in Desoto County, Mississippi and passes through the Whitehaven area of the city, bypassing Memphis International Airport to the west.

Route description[edit]

I-55 enters Tennessee from Mississippi concurrent with I-69. I-55/I-69 heads due north before turning northwest. Then I-55 has an interchange with Interstate 240, where I-69 ends its concurrency with I-55, and begins with I-240. I-55 then turns westward for a brief period before turning northward again. Just before reaching downtown, the highway turns westward again at E.H. Crump Boulevard and crosses the Mississippi River via the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge into West Memphis, in Crittenden County, Arkansas.

I-55 provides an alternate route for motorists who do not want to take Interstates 240 and 40 through downtown to cross the Mississippi River.

History[edit]

On January 18, 2008, the Federal Highway Administration authorized the states of Mississippi and Tennessee to extend I-69 from the I-40/TN 300 interchange in north Memphis to the I-55/I-69 interchange in Hernando; however, Tennessee has not yet signed the extension of the route, although Mississippi has already done so.[2] Interstate 55 is one Tennessee's interstates where the speed limit is 65 MPH instead of 70.

Future[edit]

There are currently plans to revamp the I-55/Crump Boulevard Interchange. The current design (a cloverleaf interchange) causes northbound motorists, especially truck drivers, to slow down from 55 MPH to 25 MPH when going from the section they are on to the section passing over the Mississippi River. Prior to 2011, northbound traffic had to merge on a one-lane loop with a tight radius while traffic going from I-55 SB to Riverside Drive merged into traffic on another loop ramp. This has caused several accidents over the years. A temporary solution has been put into effect by making the NB loop into two lanes, eliminating the I-55 SB to Riverside Drive loop, and creating a left turn lane for the I-55 SB to Riverside Drive traffic. This eliminates having to make a lane change in order to stay on I-55 NB.

Starting in 2016, a project creating a permanent solution will be constructed. The cloverleaf will be eliminated entirely and two flyover ramps will be added, thus creating free-flow traffic for the mainline interstate. A roundabout will be created in place of the cloverleaf for Riverside Drive traffic, E.H. Crump Boulevard traffic, and the I-55 entrance/exit ramps. It was announced in May 2015 that the adjacent Memphis-Arkansas Bridge would be shut down for 9 months in order to allow for construction of the flyovers. Construction is expected to last through 2018 and open at the beginning of 2019.[3]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Shelby County.

Location mi[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
TennesseeMississippi line 0.00 0.00 I-55 / I-69 continue south into Mississippi
291 Southhaven Southbound exit and northbound entrance each extend into Tennessee; exit number is based on Mississippi mileage
Memphis 1.5 2.4 2 SR 175 (Shelby Drive) – Whitehaven, Capleville Signed as exits 2A (east) and 2B (west) southbound
4.4 7.1 5 US 51 (Elvis Presley Boulevard, SR 3) / Brooks Road – Graceland Signed as exits 5A (Brooks Road) and 5B (US 51 south) southbound
5.5 8.9 6A I-240 east – Nashville, Memphis International Airport I-240 exit 25A
6B I-240 north (I-69 north) Northern end of I-69 overlap; I-240 exit 25B; Interstates 240 and 55 change carriageways
7.5 12.1 7 US 61 (3rd Street, SR 14) – Vicksburg, Mississippi No access from southbound US 61 to northbound I-55 or southbound I-55 to northbound US 61
8.2 13.2 8 Horn Lake Road Southbound exit and northbound entrance
8.9 14.3 9 Mallory Avenue
10.4 16.7 10 South Parkway
11.0 17.7 11 McLemore Avenue - President's Island
11.7 18.8 12A Crump Boulevard east (US 61 south / US 64 / US 70 / US 79 / SR 1 east) South end of US 61/US 64/US 70/US 79/SR 1 overlap; left exit southbound and left entrance northbound; 25 mph (40 km/h) advisory speed for ramps carrying I-55 in both directions
11.9 19.2 12B Riverside Drive - Downtown No southbound exit; southbound access via exit 12A; left exit northbound and left entrance southbound
12.2 19.6 12C Metal Museum Drive Serves the National Ornamental Metal Museum; right-in/right-out southbound
Mississippi River 12.6 20.3 Memphis & Arkansas Bridge; Tennessee–Arkansas state line; north end of SR 1 overlap
I-55 north (US 61 north / US 64 / US 70 / US 79 west) – West Memphis, St. Louis Continuation into Arkansas
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ a b Google (May 17, 2017). "Overview Map of I-55 in Tennessee" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved May 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ Capka, J. Richard (FHWA Administrator), Letter to Paul D. Degges[permanent dead link] (TDOT) dated January 18, 2008, retrieved May 28, 2008.
  3. ^ I-55/Crump Blvd. Interchange Page (TDOT)


Interstate 55
Previous state:
Mississippi
Tennessee Next state:
Arkansas