Interstate, TDOT Projects Will Impact Area Drivers

Big changes are coming to the Lakeland and Arlington areas as several major Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) road construction projects result in major impacts to residents and commuters in 38002.

Update:  Recently, the mayor-elect of Lakeland, Wyatt Bunker, has suggested reverting to a traditional diamond interchange at Interstate 40 and Canada Road in order to save the city approximately $3 million, which he would then use for schools.

I-40 and Canada Road Interchange

View from east to west of I-40 Canada Road Intersection with overlay of SPUI interchange design.

View from east to west of I-40 Canada Road Intersection with overlay of SPUI interchange design. Image courtesy of TDOT.

With an estimated bill of 24 million dollars and 24-36 month timeline, the rebuilding of the Interstate 40 and Canada Road interchange is anticipated to be a game-changer for the development of the area.  While the past three years has already seen improvements to the interchange when the stop signs at the top of the ramps were replaced with traffic signals, the new Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) design has an increased capability to handle traffic flow.

This type of interchange is already familiar to some Shelby County Drivers, most notably on the Bill Morris Parkway and at the intersection of Germantown Road and Walnut Grove.  The Canada Road design differs from these examples in that the free-flowing road (I-40) is underneath the arterial road (Canada Road).

What drivers will notice is that there will only be one traffic signal, located in the center of a six-lane wide bridge.  Two lanes of opposing traffic will be able to turn left simultaneously without crossing the path of other cars, which clears the intersection faster.

The smaller footprint of the SPUI in comparison to a cloverleaf interchange requires less land and disruption to existing property.  The Canada Road SPUI design includes a modification to allow for east –bound exiting traffic from I-40 to easily make a left turn into the planned Lakeland Grand Outlets (at the current location of the Factory Outlet Mall).

According to Nichole Lawrence, TDOT Community Relations Officer, the timeline for this project is not yet set.

Governor Winfield Dunn Parkway (TN-385)

Officially set to open on November 30, 2013, the final 8-mile, 60 million dollar segment of Tennessee State Route 385 will complete a second limited access bypass of Memphis.  Identified as “Future I-269,” this road will eventually be part of a 2,680 mile Canada-to-Mexico interstate system.

Originally known as the Collierville Arlington Parkway, the section between US Highways 70 and 72 was renamed for former Tennessee Governor and Shelby County resident Winfield Dunn upon the enacting of House Bill 3373 in May 2012.

Construction on the Lakeland and Arlington portions of 385 started in the late 1990s with the section between TN 204 and Highway 70 opening in September 1998, which was extended to I-40 by the end of the next year.  2007 and 2009 saw construction completed to US Highway 64 and Macon Road, respectively.

Other Interstate 40 Projects

Road Widening –$32 million proposed widening of Interstate 40 to four lanes from Germantown Parkway (exit 16) to SR 385 (exit 24/25) will be scheduled once the I40/240 project has reached a phase that traffic management would not be an issue.

New Interchange at State Route196 (Hickory Withe Road) – A new interchange at SR-196 has been approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and is currently in the Right of Way phase, says Lawrence.  Letting for the project has been tentatively set for Spring 2014, but the construction phase has not been included in the TDOT Three Year Plan, which will be updated next April.  The first exit in Fayette County for eastbound traffic on I-40, this interchange would also provide additional access to Arlington via Forrest St., which changes names to Hickory Withe Road at the Fayette County line just east of the Windsor Place development.

 

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