U.S. Route 51 in Tennessee

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U.S. Route 51 marker

U.S. Route 51
State Route 3
Route information
Maintained by TDOT
Length: 135.90 mi[1] (218.71 km)
Major junctions
South end: US 51.svg US 51 at the Mississippi state line

I-55.svg I-55 at Memphis
I-240.svg I-240 at Memphis
I-40.svg I-40 at Memphis

I-155.svg I-155 in Dyersburg
North end: Purchase Parkway.svgUS 51.svg Purchase Parkway/US 51 at Kentucky State Line
Counties: Shelby, Tipton, Lauderdale, Dyer, Obion
Highway system
SR 2 SR 4

U.S. Route 51, mostly overlapped by the unsigned State Route 3 (SR 3), is a north–south state highway in the U.S. state of Tennessee, that is 135.9 miles (218.71 km) long.[2] It begins in Shelby County and ends in Obion County. The SR 3 designation is seen largely on mileposts.

The two places where US 51 and SR 3 differ are in Memphis, where US 51 has been moved to Danny Thomas Boulevard (State Route 1 / State Route 4), while SR 3 remains on the one-way pair of 2nd and 3rd Streets, and in South Fulton, where US 51 crosses the state line on State Route 215 to the Purchase Parkway, while SR 3 remains on the old road, now U.S. Route 45.[1]

Route description[edit]

US 51 enters Tennessee at Memphis and runs north through the cities of Millington, Munford, Atoka, Brighton, Covington, Henning, Ripley, Halls, Dyersburg, Troy, Union City, and South Fulton.

Routings of US 51 and SR 3 in Memphis

This highway crosses four interstate highways on its journey through the state and actually crosses Interstate 240 twice within the City of Memphis but interchanges with it only at Union Avenue. US 51 is the westernmost south–north United States Highway in the State of Tennessee. US 51 is an interstate standard facility[1] from Dyersburg to South of Troy and then resuming interstate standard status north of Union City to South Fulton. US 51 is a four-lane or larger facility throughout the state with some sections north of Dyersburg carrying a 70 mph (110 km/h) speed limit.

Near Henning is also the site of the Hatchie River Bridge collapse on April 1, 1989 that killed 8 motorists when 3 spans of the structure collapsed. The 54-year old bridge was 45 miles (72 km) north of Memphis and carried the northbound lanes of US 51. Its collapse was the result of pier scour and movement of the river channel.[3][4]

US 51 carries the Tennessee Scenic Parkway designation from its junction with SR 385 in Millington to SR 104 in Dyersburg and also carries the Great River Road designation from US 64/US 70/US 79 in Memphis to SR 88 in Halls.[1]

Counties traversed (south to north)[edit]

"Welcome to Memphis" sign on US 51 (2008)

US 51 traverses the counties shown in the table below.[2]

Counties traversed by US 51
County miles kilometers
Shelby 33.1 53.2
Tipton 22.2 35.6
Lauderdale 25.0 40.2
Dyer 24.7 39.7
Obion 30.9 49.7


Historic two-lane alignments of this highway from Henning north are represented by State Route 209, a portion of State Route 88, State Route 210, State Route 211, a portion of State Route 183 and State Route 184. From Memphis to Henning, most of the original two lane road was upgraded to four lane expressway in the 1960s.


Further information: Interstate 69 in Tennessee

Most of US 51 north of Dyersburg is expected to be upgraded as part of future Interstate 69. Plans currently call for Interstate 69 to run along the existing US 51 freeway from Dyersburg to Troy and from Union City to South Fulton. This section is part of SIU 7 for Interstate 69 and will require few changes beyond resigning the existing highway, however, a bypass route around Troy and Union City will need to be built before this section of future Interstate 69 is completed.[5][6]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location mi km Destinations Notes
Shelby Memphis US 51 south – Southaven Mississippi state line
SR 175 (Shelby Drive)
I-55 to I-240 I-55 exit 5; no access from US 51 south to I-55 north or I-55 south to US 51 north
US 78 (Lamar Avenue / SR 4)
US 64 east / US 70 east / US 72 east / US 79 north (Union Avenue / SR 23 east) south end of US 64 / US 70 / US 79 overlap
I-240 south I-240 exit 30
US 64 west / US 70 west / US 79 south (Union Avenue / SR 3 north) / Danny Thomas Boulevard south (SR 1 west / SR 4 east) interchange; north end of US 64 / US 70 / US 79 / SR 3 overlap; south end of SR 1 / SR 4 overlap
Madison Avenue interchange
Jefferson Avenue interchange
I-40 – Little Rock, Nashville I-40 exits 1B-D
SR 1 east (North Parkway) / SR 14 south (A.W. Willis Avenue) north end of SR 1 overlap; south end of SR 14 overlap
SR 14 north (Jackson Avenue) north end of SR 14 overlap
Chelsea Avenue (SR 3 south) north end of SR 4 overlap; south end of SR 3 overlap; no left turn from either direction
I-40 (via SR 300) – Airport I-40 exit 2A
Great River Road south (Whitney Avenue)
SR 388 north / Great River Road north (North Watkins Street) – Meeman-Shelby State Park
Millington SR 385 east (Paul W. Barret Parkway) to I-40
SR 205 south (Navy Road) – University of Memphis Millington Center, Millington Municipal Airport, NSA Mid-South
Tipton Atoka / Munford SR 178 north (Tipton Road) – Munford
SR 206 – Munford, Atoka, Drummonds
Brighton Old Highway 51 - Brighton Business District
Old Highway 51 - Brighton Business District
Covington SR 59 east – truck route to SR 54 east south end of SR 59 overlap
SR 54 east (West Pleasant Street) – Brownsville
SR 59 west / Great River Road south (West Liberty Avenue) – Duvall Landing north end of SR 59 overlap
SR 384 south – truck route to SR 54 east
Lauderdale   SR 209 north – Henning, Alex Haley Museum
Henning SR 87 / Great River Road north – Fort Pillow, Henning, Fort Pillow State Historic Park, Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center
Ripley SR 19 east – Ripley Business District, Brownsville south end of SR 19 overlap
SR 19 west / Great River Road south – Ripley interchange; north end of SR 19 overlap
SR 208 south – Ripley
  SR 180 south – Gates
Halls SR 88 / Great River Road north – Halls, Mississippi River interchange
Dyer Four Points To SR 210 – Unionville, Jackson
US 51 Bus. north (SR 211) to US 412 east – truck route to SR 104 east
SR 104 – Finley, Trenton
SR 78 north / SR 78 south to I-155 / US 412 – Tiptonville, Reelfoot Lake State Park, Dyersburg State Community College

US 51 Bus. south (SR 211) – Dyersburg
south end of SR 211 overlap
US 412 east / SR 211 north to I-40 – Jackson, Newbern interchange; north end of SR 211 overlap; south end of US 412 overlap; south end of freeway
I-155 west / US 412 west – St. Louis north end of US 412 overlap; I-155 exit 15
Newbern SR 77 – Newbern
  SR 105 – Trimble, Rutherford
Obion Obion SR 183 – Obion
  SR 183 north – Obion north end of freeway
Troy SR 21 west – Troy, Hornbeak, Reelfoot Lake State Park, Port of Cates Landing south end of SR 21 overlap
SR 21 east north end of SR 21 overlap
Union City SR 184 south
SR 431 south (Reelfoot Road) to US 45 south / US 45W – Martin, Airport
SR 22 north / SR 5 (West Main Street) – Woodland Mills, Reelfoot Lake, Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge, Port of Cates Landing, Business District south end of SR 22 overlap
SR 21 – Clinton, KY, Union City
  US 45W south / SR 22 south / Ken-Tenn Road (SR 214 north) / Section Line Road interchange; north end of SR 22 overlap; south end of US 45W overlap; south end of freeway
South Fulton SR 214 (Ken Tenn Road) interchange; north end of freeway
US 45 north (SR 3) / US 45E south (SR 215) – South Fulton, Martin, Jackson interchange; north end of US 45W / SR 3 overlap; south end of SR 215 overlap; south end of freeway
US 51 north / Purchase Parkway north Kentucky state line
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


External links[edit]