Interstate 55 in Tennessee
Interstate 55 (I-55) in Tennessee lies entirely within the city of Memphis, located in Shelby County. The highway enters the city from Southaven in Desoto County, Mississippi and passes through the Whitehaven area of the city, bypassing Memphis International Airport to the west.
|Bishop J.O. Patterson Sr. Memorial Parkway|
W.B. Fowler Sr. Expressway
I-55 highlighted in red
|Maintained by TDOT|
|Length||12.6 mi (20.3 km)|
I-55 enters Tennessee from Mississippi, heading north to an interchange with Interstate 240. I-55 then turns westward for a brief period before turning northward again. Just before reaching downtown, the highway turns westward again at E.H. Crump Boulevard and crosses the Mississippi River via the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge into West Memphis, in Crittenden County, Arkansas.
I-55 provides an alternate route for motorists who do not want to take Interstates 240 and 40 through downtown to cross the Mississippi River.
On January 18, 2008, the Federal Highway Administration authorized the states of Mississippi and Tennessee to extend I-69 from the I-40/TN 300 interchange in north Memphis to the I-55/I-69 interchange in Hernando; however, Tennessee has not yet signed the extension of the route, although Mississippi has already done so. Interstate 55 is one of Tennessee's interstates where the speed limit is 65 MPH instead of 70.
There are currently plans to revamp the I-55/Crump Boulevard Interchange. The current design (a cloverleaf interchange) causes northbound motorists, especially truck drivers, to slow down from 55 MPH to 25 MPH when going from the section they are on to the section passing over the Mississippi River. Prior to 2011, northbound traffic had to merge on a one-lane loop with a tight radius while traffic going from I-55 SB to Riverside Drive merged into traffic on another loop ramp. This has caused several accidents over the years. A temporary solution has been put into effect by making the NB loop into two lanes, eliminating the I-55 SB to Riverside Drive loop, and creating a left turn lane for the I-55 SB to Riverside Drive traffic. This eliminates having to make a lane change in order to stay on I-55 NB.
Starting in 2018, a project creating a permanent solution will be constructed. The cloverleaf will be eliminated entirely and two flyover ramps will be added, thus creating free-flow traffic for the mainline interstate. A roundabout will be created in place of the cloverleaf for Riverside Drive traffic, E.H. Crump Boulevard traffic, and the I-55 entrance/exit ramps.
The entire route is in Shelby County.
|291||Southaven||Southbound exit and northbound entrance each extend into Tennessee; exit number is based on Mississippi mileage|
|Memphis||1.5||2.4||2||Signed as exits 2A (east) and 2B (west) southbound|
|4.4||7.1||5||Signed as exits 5A (Brooks Road) and 5B (US 51 south) southbound|
|5.5||8.9||6||Signed as exits 6A & 6B; I-240 exit 25; I-55 and I-240 change carriageways; future northern end of I-69 overlap|
|7.5||12.1||7||No access from southbound US 61 to northbound I-55 or southbound I-55 to northbound US 61|
|8.2||13.2||8||Horn Lake Road||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|11.0||17.7||11||McLemore Avenue - President's Island|
|11.7||18.8||12A||Crump Boulevard east (US 61 south / US 64 / US 70 / US 79 / SR 1 east)||South end of US 61/US 64/US 70/US 79/SR 1 overlap; left exit southbound and left entrance northbound; 25 mph (40 km/h) advisory speed for ramps carrying I-55 in both directions|
|11.9||19.2||12B||Riverside Drive - Downtown||left exit and left entrance southbound|
|12.2||19.6||12C||Metal Museum Drive||Serves the National Ornamental Metal Museum; right-in/right-out southbound|
|Mississippi River||12.6||20.3||Memphis & Arkansas Bridge; Tennessee–Arkansas state line; north end of SR 1 overlap|
|Continuation into Arkansas|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|