I'm curious as to why the I-40 drive was bad, was it just boring? The reason I ask is because I may make a trip to Memphis next year, perhaps using 65 and 40 from Indianapolis on the way down and the I-69 route (51, Purchase, WK, Pennyrille, 41, 164 and 69) on the way back. Going through the Nashville area, I would have taken the Briley.
Painfully boring, heavily traveled (and I was driving mid-day on New Year's Day, which you would think wouldn't be all that crowded) and the pavement was rougher than a cob.
I'm fairly certain that TDOT has resurfaced most of those rough stretches, many of them closer to Nashville in the area where I used to live. But yeah, traffic is pretty heavy, especially truck traffic heading to/from Memphis, "America's Distribution Center". Plus, I-40 b/w Memphis and Nashville was the first major interstate link completed in TN (in the early-mid 60s), so it has some minor engineering flaws. Mainly steep inclines and a lack of third truck climbing lanes through western Middle Tennessee.
I think the main benefit of a full loop would be the 120 degree movements. Currently I-440 and SR 155 handle these.
Exactly! And for this reason, from now on I will now utilize TN 840 to visit my relatives in TN. They mostly live in Dickson Co. So from South Carolina, my route is 20 west to Atlanta, 75 north to Chattanooga, 24 west to Murfreesboro, and TN 840 west to Exit 7 (TN 100) and 6 miles of back roads to my dad's house. As long as I time it to miss rush hour in Atlanta and Chattanooga, it's a great drive, with generally higher speed limits than going through Asheville and Knoxville along 26 and 40, and I miss downtown Nashville as well.