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Author Topic: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)  (Read 18242 times)

sparker

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #50 on: June 12, 2018, 06:10:05 PM »

At this point, it appears that regardless of what happens in TN, I-22 will continue to terminate at the I-269 interchange, using the latter road to access the other I-routes in the vicinity.  They do continue to start the mileage/exit numbers at the state line along US 78, so the matter could conceivably be revisited somewhere down the line.  But holding one's breath for a Lamar-based freeway connecting to I-240 is a waste of effort; there's no support within TN circles -- official or otherwise -- for such a project (although I'm sure Memphis interests wouldn't mind having I-22 traffic funneled toward their core rather than shunted around the periphery).  But TNDOT and their political handlers have never shown much interest in I-22 -- either conceptually or fiscally; it's more or less a "stray" that wandered into their region. 
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Bobby5280

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #51 on: June 13, 2018, 01:04:10 AM »

If TN DOT and other politically connected people in Memphis really feel that way about I-22 they ought to flush out whatever gunk has built up between their ears. A completed I-22 highway is not just a direct, faster link from Memphis to the Birmingham area, it creates a faster connection to the much larger Atlanta metro area. The only other all-Interstate alternative is going through Nashville and Chattanooga, which is way out of the way.

There's plenty of reasons for US-78 on the Tennessee side of the border to be Interstate quality clear to I-240 whether it carries an Interstate designation or not. Lots of industrial facilities, trucking companies, etc are along the route. A major airport is nearby. The Fed Ex hub is nearby. The BNSF intermodal facility is along US-78. Seems pretty appropriate for a freeway to me.

I-22 could be an even more valuable corridor for the Southeastern US if it could be extended farther Southeast from Birmingham down through Columbus, GA and ultimately to the Jacksonville, FL area. The Interstate highway system has a lot of diagonal routes running from Southwest to Northeast. Not nearly as many run in the opposite diagonal direction. IMHO some important big gaps are present in that regard.
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sparker

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #52 on: June 13, 2018, 04:39:54 PM »

It'll take more than a simple flush to dissipate the long-standing enmity between TNDOT (and the rest of the TN state apparatus) and Memphis -- more like a few pounds of C4!  Ever since the flap regarding I-40 and Overton Park some 40+ years back, Memphis has languished at the bottom of the priority list compared with the central and eastern parts of the state.  The seemingly perpetual delays regarding the I-55/Crump interchange upgrade are another manifestation of this phenomenon -- regardless of the project, something -- either political or fiscal -- seems to crop up to delay or even shelve local projects.  The fact that anything is set in stone for the Lamar corridor is in itself a miracle, likely prompted by entreaties from FedEx and other regional corporate interests. 

Part of the problem is that Memphis is scrunched down in the corner of TN; projects extending out from the periphery (with the exception of I-69 north of town) tend to provide more benefits to the other states -- i.e. anything to do with I-22 benefiting MS and by extension AL more than TN itself, and upgrades to 55/Crump benefiting "in-and-out" traffic on I-55 and/or Arkansas rather than accruing primarily to TN.  Yeah, it's a parochial attitude -- but one that has pervaded more than one DOT/state bureaucracy, with TN certainly being an example.  While Bobby is more than correct regarding the potential of the I-22 corridor to form at least part of a greater link between regions, that hardly seems to matter to the TN powers that be, which apparently sees the state as likely to receive barely a sliver of any benefits from deployment of such a corridor concept.   
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froggie

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #53 on: June 13, 2018, 04:47:24 PM »

One could argue that *NOT* upgrading US 78 to a freeway between 240 and the State Line (regardless of whether it would be an Interstate or not) reduces the need to conversely widen I-240.  Pretty sure that if 78 were a freeway to 240, it would make the traffic situation on 240 untenable...especially west towards the airport exit and 55.
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Brooks

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #54 on: June 13, 2018, 05:04:24 PM »

One could argue that *NOT* upgrading US 78 to a freeway between 240 and the State Line (regardless of whether it would be an Interstate or not) reduces the need to conversely widen I-240.  Pretty sure that if 78 were a freeway to 240, it would make the traffic situation on 240 untenable...especially west towards the airport exit and 55.

Whether or not Lamar is ever completely upgraded to a freeway does not change the 240 situation.  It still desperately needs to be widened between the airport and I-55; the 6 lane bottleneck through there is insane (in both directions) during peak (and sometimes off-peak!) hours.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #55 on: June 13, 2018, 07:45:29 PM »

The I-55 bridge across the Mississippi River into the SW side of Memphis is already creating a totally unacceptable situation. That existing 4-lane bridge needs to be replaced. The aging I-40 bridge about 2 miles up river isn't too much better. At least it has 3 lanes in each direction. But there are no shoulders at all.

As for widening I-240, that's a more feasible proposition. There's already enough room in the existing ROW to add one or two lanes in each direction on I-240 between the US-78 interchange and I-55. And I-55 could be expanded into 4 lanes in each direction up past the oil refinery. The situation only gets really tight when I-55 goes into a narrow trench a few blocks at South Parkway. The existing cloverleaf interchange next to the I-55 bridge ought to be replaced with some other design. Or a new I-55 river crossing to Arkansas should be built farther South.

The state of Mississippi could twist this situation into their advantage if they had their act more together. If I-22 was extended directly West of its current end at I-269 with a new Mississippi River crossing taking the new Interstate into Arkansas and up to I-40 the road would draw a lot of long distance commercial traffic and tourist traffic. Trucks on I-40 headed to/from places like Atlanta would have an excellent bypass of Memphis. Tourists going to Tunica to gamble would be able to bypass Memphis completely as well. I think such a highway connection would cause Tunica to grow quite a bit.
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sparker

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #56 on: June 14, 2018, 07:17:52 PM »

The I-55 bridge across the Mississippi River into the SW side of Memphis is already creating a totally unacceptable situation. That existing 4-lane bridge needs to be replaced. The aging I-40 bridge about 2 miles up river isn't too much better. At least it has 3 lanes in each direction. But there are no shoulders at all.

As for widening I-240, that's a more feasible proposition. There's already enough room in the existing ROW to add one or two lanes in each direction on I-240 between the US-78 interchange and I-55. And I-55 could be expanded into 4 lanes in each direction up past the oil refinery. The situation only gets really tight when I-55 goes into a narrow trench a few blocks at South Parkway. The existing cloverleaf interchange next to the I-55 bridge ought to be replaced with some other design. Or a new I-55 river crossing to Arkansas should be built farther South.

The state of Mississippi could twist this situation into their advantage if they had their act more together. If I-22 was extended directly West of its current end at I-269 with a new Mississippi River crossing taking the new Interstate into Arkansas and up to I-40 the road would draw a lot of long distance commercial traffic and tourist traffic. Trucks on I-40 headed to/from places like Atlanta would have an excellent bypass of Memphis. Tourists going to Tunica to gamble would be able to bypass Memphis completely as well. I think such a highway connection would cause Tunica to grow quite a bit.

The I-55 (aka US 61/64/70/79) bridge was inadequate 50 years ago, today it's a genuine relic!  AFAIK, there are no standing plans to replace it, although the plans for rebuilding the 55/Crump interchange to the east were published about 7-8 years ago but apparently the funding that was to be applied vanished shortly thereafter (except as a pathway to Graceland, I-55 is certainly TNDOT's most unwanted child!). 

At the risk of venturing into fictional territory -- if the 55/Crump situation isn't resolved anytime soon, if it were me I'd simply reroute I-55 straight up present I-240 (and future I-69) to I-40 and turn it west with I-40 to cross the Mississippi River on the 6-lane bridge; the freeway stub up to Crump and the existing I-55 bridge would be re-designated part of I-240 (at least put all the compounded inadequacies in one 3di package!), which, of course, would terminate at I-40/55 in West Memphis. 

It seems that ever since I started looking at this board back in 2009 that an additional Mississippi River crossing -- either south of Memphis near Tunica or north simply as an extension of I-269/TN 385 -- has been posited as a desirable concept.  But that's the problem with dealing with 2 or even 3 states with their own political machinations and subsequent policy variations -- it's difficult if not impossible to get everyone on the same page at the same time with commonality of interests.  Who knows -- in another 9 years, maybe things will change and a new river crossing will be imminent.  Or not......

Tunica's out there on a floodplain; most NW MS development is to the east (wouldn't surprise me if things started centering around the 22/269 interchange) as a continuation of the trends of the last several decades.  The Tunica area is likely to remain what it is for some time; only partially developable because of both the presence of wetlands and the agricultural value of the area along US 61.  Of course, if a southern river crossing were to be developed in the vicinity, roadside businesses of the usual variety would undoubtedly crop up, as would some housing immediately adjacent to the new roadway.  But the more likely recipient of benefits from a new crossing would be over the river in Arkansas, where development has been stifled by not only the land in that area being primarily in a low-lying floodplain -- but also by limited connectivity to the population center across the river.  If such a crossing were to turn north to serve both I-40 and I-55, land in the region deemed usable would probably be snapped up by commercial and housing developers in short order.  A "boomtown" effect would probably characterize activity in and around West Memphis -- which would then function as a viable suburb rather than just another pass-through along the highway.  If NLR and NWA provide any indication, AR interests sure won't pass up the opportunity for increased profitability and revenue -- getting their "piece of the pie" re metro Memphis.  But getting the ducks lined up to do just that would require the cooperation of at least two states with longstanding fiscal issues.  Thus this discussion is purely speculative regarding that additional crossing; the chances of this happening anytime soon are negligible. 
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jamierazorback

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #57 on: June 24, 2018, 11:50:15 PM »

Why not just route I-22 onto SR 385 to I-240 and leave us 78 alone?
This makes the most sense and should be done. I-22 was going to end up at I-240 anyway(based on the original plans of hwy 78 to connect in Memphis). It would still do that and also not end where I-269 would end if it was routed to I-55. So that confusion wouldn't happen either. I'm not sure why MDOT and TDOT are not getting this done. It would require little money compared to Lamar Ave, to upgrade parts of 385 to Interstate standard.
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sparker

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #58 on: June 25, 2018, 12:30:08 AM »

Why not just route I-22 onto SR 385 to I-240 and leave us 78 alone?
This makes the most sense and should be done. I-22 was going to end up at I-240 anyway(based on the original plans of hwy 78 to connect in Memphis). It would still do that and also not end where I-269 would end if it was routed to I-55. So that confusion wouldn't happen either. I'm not sure why MDOT and TDOT are not getting this done. It would require little money compared to Lamar Ave, to upgrade parts of 385 to Interstate standard.

While it looks doable when viewed on a map, shunting I-22 north on I-269 into TN, then turning it west on 385 is in itself somewhat convoluted -- more so than a simple west jaunt on I-269 to I-55(69) and dispersing from there.  And then there's the need to route EB I-22 traffic around a 30mph cloverleaf loop (double C/D lanes notwithstanding), something that obviously has been done elsewhere but is currently frowned upon.  MSDOT has nothing to gain by such a routing; quite the inverse -- 269 west to 55, then north places intercity traffic on the one De Soto County freeway (55) featuring commercial activities that potentially could be enhanced by the additional traffic from I-22 (keeping any accrued revenues within MS).  And TNDOT has shown little or no interest in placing one inch of I-22 within their state;  funding any necessary upgrades to TN 385 would likely be "back-burnered" until any interest waned.  So without any significant clamor from folks along the E-W 385 corridor for such a change of designation, signifying political support, a reroute prospect for I-22 involving TN activity is likely a non-starter. 
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Brooks

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #59 on: June 25, 2018, 12:52:00 AM »

Why not just route I-22 onto SR 385 to I-240 and leave us 78 alone?
This makes the most sense and should be done. I-22 was going to end up at I-240 anyway(based on the original plans of hwy 78 to connect in Memphis). It would still do that and also not end where I-269 would end if it was routed to I-55. So that confusion wouldn't happen either. I'm not sure why MDOT and TDOT are not getting this done. It would require little money compared to Lamar Ave, to upgrade parts of 385 to Interstate standard.
IIRC, 385 is built to Interstate standards.
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sparker

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #60 on: June 25, 2018, 01:33:02 AM »

Why not just route I-22 onto SR 385 to I-240 and leave us 78 alone?
This makes the most sense and should be done. I-22 was going to end up at I-240 anyway(based on the original plans of hwy 78 to connect in Memphis). It would still do that and also not end where I-269 would end if it was routed to I-55. So that confusion wouldn't happen either. I'm not sure why MDOT and TDOT are not getting this done. It would require little money compared to Lamar Ave, to upgrade parts of 385 to Interstate standard.
IIRC, 385 is built to Interstate standards.

TN 385 -- at least from the most recent GSV -- has Interstate-grade outer shoulders, but the inner shoulders, while paved, are all recessed rumble strip with no breakdown area (at least on the 4-lane easternmost segment) and a simple cable barrier in the median.  While it does look like the inner shoulder meets the 4-foot-width Interstate criteria, it's likely that some improved median barrier (thrie beam/K-rail) would have to be installed to bring the facility "up to snuff", so to speak. 

But even if the E-W section of TN 385 were to technically pass FHWA muster, rerouting I-22 up to and over this facility would still require serious "backtracking" northeast along I-269 north of the I-22 Byhalia interchange; it'd be unlikely, considering the other drawbacks mentioned in previous posts, that MSDOT -- much less TNDOT -- would consider pursuing such an action.   
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froggie

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #61 on: June 25, 2018, 10:47:01 AM »

Quote from: jamierazorback
This makes the most sense and should be done. I-22 was going to end up at I-240 anyway(based on the original plans of hwy 78 to connect in Memphis).

By the time I-22 talk came around, any plans that MIGHT have existed for a US 78 freeway between 240 and the state line were long gone.  And I'm not convinced such plans existed to begin with.  MikeTheActuary, who has family in Memphis and did extensive research years ago on the area's highway history, hadn't found any such plans either.

Quote from: sparker
TN 385 -- at least from the most recent GSV -- has Interstate-grade outer shoulders, but the inner shoulders, while paved, are all recessed rumble strip with no breakdown area (at least on the 4-lane easternmost segment) and a simple cable barrier in the median.  While it does look like the inner shoulder meets the 4-foot-width Interstate criteria, it's likely that some improved median barrier (thrie beam/K-rail) would have to be installed to bring the facility "up to snuff", so to speak.

As long as TDOT doesn't add additional lanes and assuming the existing inside shoulders are indeed 4 feet paved, the cable barrier does meet standards.
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Henry

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #62 on: June 26, 2018, 09:26:13 AM »

Quote from: jamierazorback
This makes the most sense and should be done. I-22 was going to end up at I-240 anyway(based on the original plans of hwy 78 to connect in Memphis).

By the time I-22 talk came around, any plans that MIGHT have existed for a US 78 freeway between 240 and the state line were long gone.  And I'm not convinced such plans existed to begin with.  MikeTheActuary, who has family in Memphis and did extensive research years ago on the area's highway history, hadn't found any such plans either.

Quote from: sparker
TN 385 -- at least from the most recent GSV -- has Interstate-grade outer shoulders, but the inner shoulders, while paved, are all recessed rumble strip with no breakdown area (at least on the 4-lane easternmost segment) and a simple cable barrier in the median.  While it does look like the inner shoulder meets the 4-foot-width Interstate criteria, it's likely that some improved median barrier (thrie beam/K-rail) would have to be installed to bring the facility "up to snuff", so to speak.

As long as TDOT doesn't add additional lanes and assuming the existing inside shoulders are indeed 4 feet paved, the cable barrier does meet standards.

This is a bit surprising that US 78's freeway conversion had never been sought, and this would've been the ideal route for I-22 to continue on, but given that TDOT has no interest in I-22 either, I think that's the reason why it ends well short of the state line.

As for TN 385, I think it would work better as a Memphis-Atlanta Interstate (via Huntsville), but I don't see that happening either.
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #63 on: June 26, 2018, 11:05:05 AM »

By the time I-22 talk came around, any plans that MIGHT have existed for a US 78 freeway between 240 and the state line were long gone.  And I'm not convinced such plans existed to begin with.  MikeTheActuary, who has family in Memphis and did extensive research years ago on the area's highway history, hadn't found any such plans either.

Put another way:

My father worked most of his career with the Memphis/Shelby Count Office of Planning and Development.  I grew up with various iterations of long-range transportation plans for Memphis attached to by bedroom walls, and I salvaged a few items when I emptied my parents' house a year or two ago.

I know by first- and second-hand means that there were no plans to upgrade Lamar Avenue to a freeway in the mid-70's or thereafter.  I suspect, but don't actually know for certain, that there were no plans prior to that point either.

During the late 70's and 80's, all eyes were focused on the "parkway" system, some of which grew into 385, and other components of which were never built.  (E.g., the Mud Island freeway will never happen, and the plans for a freeway along the southern edge of the county seems to have been axed given DeSoto County's push to have I-269 a few miles to the south.  But the the "Great River Parkway" seems likely to eventually be built as I-69, albeit on a somewhat different alignment than I grew up dreaming of.)

Even with those ambitious plans, Lamar was just Lamar, although I cannot say whether the thinking was that land acquisition would be too expensive, or that Lamar's current configuration was appropriate given the trucking hubs and railroad yard in the area, or...  (I focused on the pretty maps, rather than the words.)
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #64 on: June 26, 2018, 11:13:42 AM »

The I-55 (aka US 61/64/70/79) bridge was inadequate 50 years ago, today it's a genuine relic!  AFAIK, there are no standing plans to replace it, although the plans for rebuilding the 55/Crump interchange to the east were published about 7-8 years ago but apparently the funding that was to be applied vanished shortly thereafter (except as a pathway to Graceland, I-55 is certainly TNDOT's most unwanted child!).

Just adding to my prior post:

It's my understanding that updates to the old bridge and/or a third crossing have been on Memphis' wish list since shortly after the Hernando DeSoto bridge was completed, with interest slightly elevated as more awareness of seismic issues was gained.

However, the third crossing never translated even into a dotted line on the maps that decorated my walls...at least not one put there by the makers of the maps.  :)

The local planning officials 30 years ago had a preference for a southern crossing that somehow feed directly the industrial areas of Presidents Island and southwest Memphis...but given lack of funding, etc., such was little more than a pipe dream.
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MikeTheActuary

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #65 on: August 06, 2018, 01:40:22 AM »

My father worked most of his career with the Memphis/Shelby Count Office of Planning and Development.  I grew up with various iterations of long-range transportation plans for Memphis attached to by bedroom walls, and I salvaged a few items when I emptied my parents' house a year or two ago.

I know by first- and second-hand means that there were no plans to upgrade Lamar Avenue to a freeway in the mid-70's or thereafter.  I suspect, but don't actually know for certain, that there were no plans prior to that point either.

During the late 70's and 80's, all eyes were focused on the "parkway" system, some of which grew into 385, and other components of which were never built.  (E.g., the Mud Island freeway will never happen, and the plans for a freeway along the southern edge of the county seems to have been axed given DeSoto County's push to have I-269 a few miles to the south.  But the the "Great River Parkway" seems likely to eventually be built as I-69, albeit on a somewhat different alignment than I grew up dreaming of.)

Even with those ambitious plans, Lamar was just Lamar, although I cannot say whether the thinking was that land acquisition would be too expensive, or that Lamar's current configuration was appropriate given the trucking hubs and railroad yard in the area, or...  (I focused on the pretty maps, rather than the words.)

Looks like I need to correct the above a little bit.

While looking for a reference to use in cleaning up a Wikipedia article, I came across a wonderful collection of planning documents from Memphis/Shelby County.

Of particular interest are the maps from 1968 describing plans for the transportation system in 1990.  The south half of the map shows an upgraded Lamar Avenue beginning at Winchester (or maybe "New Getwell"), running southeast into Desoto County.  I don't know whether it envisioned full freeway status, or perhaps the it's just the current alignment plus the additional interchanges now being planned.

Both halves of the map are interesting to look at in terms of parkways that were and weren't built.

Oh, and if you want to see my favorite map of those that hung on my bedroom wall growing up...it's available too.  It's just a generic, colorful urban planning map; not the one that had future parkways laid out.
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lordsutch

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Re: Lamar Avenue Improvements (Memphis)
« Reply #66 on: August 21, 2018, 11:52:49 PM »

Of particular interest are the maps from 1968 describing plans for the transportation system in 1990.  The south half of the map shows an upgraded Lamar Avenue beginning at Winchester (or maybe "New Getwell"), running southeast into Desoto County.  I don't know whether it envisioned full freeway status, or perhaps the it's just the current alignment plus the additional interchanges now being planned.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Perkins/Raines Road interchange was part of a much grander plan for a freeway upgrade south of Winchester to tie into Mississippi's plans for US 78; it's on the same scale as a TDOT interstate project of the 1970s rather than something like the first generation Briley Parkway or New Getwell. By the time upgrades were needed further south in the 80s, Memphis was in TDOT's naughty box for killing I-40, Sundquist (despite being from Memphis) dumped all the state's road cash into I-840 to avoid federal environmental reviews, and the last thing the powers that be in the city wanted to do was create yet another easy route out of the city into DeSoto County for the white middle class.
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