[In this week's Memphis Flyer, I wrote about Memphis' new outer loop, I-269. For the next few days, I'll be posting extra maps and graphics that go along with that story.]
The local components of I-69 are divided into two parts: I-69, which runs through the center of town, and I-269, the outer loop.
TDOT recently completed work on the $11.5 million segment of I-269 from Route 385 from Macon Road to an area north of Eads. That segment opened to traffic just about a month ago.
An additional $54 million was recently allocated for the second-to-last segment of the road, from Highway 57 in Collierville to Raleigh-LaGrange Road.
So where exactly will I-269 be? And how many exits will it have?
Here is a map of the overall area:
Here is a close-up of the route from TDOT:
Proponents of I-269 argue that the outer loop will be key to reducing congestion on I-240 (which, I have to admit, is chockfull of traffic most days), improving area air quality, and enhancing economic development. A key point, especially for a city such as ours that thrives on a distribution economy, is how quickly freight can be moved through the city.
Rusty Bloodworth, executive vice president of Boyle Investment and a member of the local Urban Land Institute's executive committee, says having another option to I-240 is important.
"If you look at I-269's function, the primary reason is to pull truck traffic around the city instead of going through the city," he says.
Dexter Muller, with the Greater Memphis Chamber, also pointed out the advantage of having a route where travelers from the south can head east and bypass the city entirely.
In routing through traffic onto the highway — but keeping local drivers diverted to other roads — an important piece will be how many exits the highway has. The more interchanges I-269 has, the more likely it becomes that it will be a major roadway for local traffic.
Currently, the plan calls for five in the below segment, an average of one every 2 miles apart from Macon Road to Highway 72.
Coming up: Does retail follow road projects?