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Interstate 240 Tennessee

 

Routing

Interstate 240 in Tennessee is the southern half of the Memphis beltway. The northern half is designated as Interstate 40.

History

When the eastern terminus interchange of Interstate 240 opened in 1964, Interstate 40 was to continue west along Sam Cooper Boulevard, while Interstate 240 was to serve as the loop of the city.1 Litigation curtailed the the western portion of Sam Cooper Boulevard, thus relegating Interstate 40 for a relocation on the northern half of the loop. For many years Interstate 40 and 240 shared an overlap on this stretch. However years later it was decided to remove Interstate 240 from the overlap, and thus the routing as it stands today was created. Two other examples where a 3-digit Interstate is cosigned with its parent are Interstate 95/495 around Washington, D.C. and Interstate 40/440 around Raleigh, North Carolina (the Interstate 40 and 440 overlap will be removed however).

Additionally the southwestern section of Interstate 240 between Interstate 40 and Interstate 55 was signed as Interstate 255 until the 1970s, possibly because of the way Interstate 55 and Interstate 240 intersect at their interchange. At this junction, northbound Interstate 55 traffic must exit from the freeway to remain on Interstate 55, and Interstate 240 traffic must do likewise. The 3-digit stem of Interstate 55 removal allowed for Interstate 240 to encompass a complete circle.

Construction at the western terminus sees the removal of ghost ramps intended for the abandoned Interstate 40 Sam Cooper Boulevard alignment. Chris Lawrence posted to misc.transport.road on September 25, 20032:

The ghost flyover ramp from WB planned I-40 to SB I-240 at the Midtown interchange has been removed, and the EB I-40 flyover is about to be removed. EB I-40 traffic is now diverted over the I-40 EB ghost ramp and then makes a sharp turn to the north (like a tight trumpet ramp would). Eventually those ramps will be removed, as well; the logistics of the construction staging for this interchange work must be convoluted, as I-40 will eventually be at grade level through the interchange.

Planned Improvements

A two-part project to improve the eastern junction of Interstate 40/240 is partially complete. Phase 1, begun January 2001, is set to finish October 2003. Included in the $25.7 million work is the widening of Interstate 240, White Station Road ramp relocation, a new two-lane ramp from Interstate 40 westbound to Interstate 240 southbound, and improvements made to the two-lane ramp from I-240 northbound to I-40 eastbound and reconstruction of a one-lane ramp from Sam Cooper Boulevard to I-240 southbound. This portion of the overall project completes three of the four levels of the planned symmetrical stack interchange. The final level will include a 70 foot tall structure over Sam Cooper Boulevard. Work should begin on phase 2 January of 2004 and complete by December 2006. It should be noted that earthquake forces were factored into the design of the new bridges.1

Shared Alignment with Interstate 69

As of May 6, 2008, Interstate 240 shares pavement with Interstate 69 between the Interstate 55-240 interchange and the Interstate 40 interchange in downtown Memphis. This connects Interstate 69 with the section from Interstate 55 to near Tunica in Mississippi. Interstate 69 continues north along with Intestate 40 from downtown Memphis; the two routes will divide at the Tennessee 300 interchange (Exit 2A). It is not clear if Interstate 240 will remain signed along with Interstate 69 on their shared alignment; stay tuned for more once new shields are placed.

Memphis map - Interstate-Guide

This map shows metropolitan Memphis and the route of Interstate 240 (not shown is newly commissioned Interstate 69 through Memphis). Interstate 255 once existed between Interstate 40 and 55 and Interstate 240 was originally a full loop. Sam Cooper Boulevard composes the completed "in-city" routing of Interstate 40. The freeway was to travel west through Overton Park to the current Interstate 40 & 240 western junction.

Western Terminus - Interstate 40 - Downtown Memphis, Tennessee
Looking at the ghost ramps at the Interstate 40/240 Midtown junction. View looks from what would have been the Interstate 40 mainline. In view is the I-240 westbound cloverleaf ramp to Interstate 40 west. Beyond is the Interstate 40 eastbound mainline ramp. The bridge to the left was to have carried Interstate 40 westbound traffic to Interstate 240 south. Photo taken by Zach (07/18/03).
Perspective from Interstate 240 north
Westbound (northbound) on Interstate 240 has its last mainline interchange at Exit 30/Union Avenue (U.S. 72). Although over a mile south of the merge onto Interstate 40 east, Interstate 240 pull-through panels give way to Interstate 40 east. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Traveling underneath U.S. 72/Union Avenue on Interstate 240 west is the one-mile overhead of Exit 31B/Interstate 40 west. The exit number for Interstate 40 is Exit 31 in 2007 as compared with Exit 31B the 2003 photo. Note that in the background of 2003 photo, the reassurance shield displays Interstate 240. Photos taken by Zachary Bugg (07/11/07) and Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Northbound Interstate 240 passes under Jefferson Avenue; the guide signs for Interstate 240 and the collector-distributer ramp from Madison Avenue have been replaced. Photo taken by Zachary Bugg (07/11/07).
After reconstruction of this interchange, the signage found on northbound Interstate 240 as the freeway passes under Poplar Avenue has changed significantly: The guide signs now show that northbound Interstate 240 continues until the eastbound Interstate 40 ramp merges. The freeway used to reduce to two lanes as it passed under Poplar Avenue, but that has changed. Interstate 40 westbound traffic departs ahead. To the right is a ghost ramp that would have taken motorists onto the center city routing of Interstate 40 east. Photos taken by Zachary Bugg (07/11/07) and Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Continuing north on Interstate 240 are these signs on the flyover ramp from northbound Interstate 240 to westbound Interstate 40. Half of the Madison Avenue collector-distributor ramp merges with the flyover. Notice the peach-tinted sound walls and underpasses--a long-overdue attempt to make Memphis's freeway system more attractive. Also, you can barely see a guide sign in the background for the Jackson Avenue exit, which has been renumbered as Exit 32. This implies that northbound Interstate 240 continues to Jackson Avenue (the ramp from eastbound Interstate 40 does not merge until after the Jackson Avenue exit). The corresponding Jackson Avenue exit number for westbound Interstate 40 is Exit 1F. Photo taken by Zachary Bugg (07/11/07).
Back in 2003, the Interstate 40 eastbound mainline soars above on a flyover as Interstate 240 prepares to transition to it. A cloverleaf ramp used to carry traffic onto Interstate 40 west for its final two miles in the state of Tennessee. The flyover ramp shown above replaced this arrangement. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Also back in 2003, Interstate 240 used to conclude at the ramp to Interstate 40 west to West Memphis and Little Rock, Arkansas. The next eastbound interchange is Exit 1F with Tennessee 14 just ahead. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 40 east
Interstate 40 crosses the Mississippi River, passes by downtown Memphis, then encounters Interstate 240 and the Memphis Beltway. This photograph looks at the pending Interstate 40/240 eastbound split signage at Exit 1B/U.S. 51/Danny Thomas Boulevard. U.S. 51 cuts through downtown, encountering Interstate 240 at Exit 29. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman (05/29/95).
Interstate 40 eastbound at Exit 1B/U.S. 51 - Danny Thomas Boulevard. This sign bridge is the same as that in the above vidcap. The guide signs themselves however, are replacements. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (08/18/05).
Interstate 40/240 diagrammatical guide signage approaching the entrance of Interstate 40 to the Memphis Beltway. Initially, this interchange represented the northern terminus of Interstate 255, as it traveled between Exit 25 and 31 of the Memphis Beltway (between here and Interstate 55). Later in history, Interstate 240 overtook Interstate 255, and was signed on the full 31 mile routing of the Memphis Beltway. When Interstate 40 was cancelled through the city, Interstate 240 became cosigned with Interstate 40 on the northern half of the beltway. This was eventually deemed to be redundant and hence Interstate 240 was removed from the Interstate 40 co-signing. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (05/29/95).
The replacement of the diagrammatical overhead Pictured in the above vidcap. The upcoming junction may soon see the addition of Interstate 69 shields. Currently Interstate 69 is in the planning stages through the Memphis metropolitan area. One scheme is to take Interstate 69 down Interstates 40 and 240 through downtown. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
The official Tennessee state map shows the Interstate 240 eastbound ramp as Exit 1E. Guide signs in actually however, omit an exit number. This photo shows the pending split of Interstate 40 with Interstate 240. Note to the left a ghost roadway from the planned central city routing of Interstate 40 to Sam Cooper Boulevard. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Interstate 40 eastbound splits with the Interstate 240 eastbound ramp. The first six miles of Interstate 240 travel south to Interstate 55. Because of this orientation and connection with Interstate 55, Jackson, Mississippi is shown as the control city. Photo taken by Adam Froehlig (10/00).
A revisit to the Interstate 40/240 eastbound ramp split. Note that the Interstate 40 mainline is relegated to a one lane substandard ramp. There is a similar occurrence on Interstate 10 through downtown San Antonio, Texas. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Before Interstate 40 traffic merges onto the Interstate 240 eastbound mainline, an exit ramp to nearby Madison Avenue is encountered. This is the first southbound interchange of Interstate 240 outside the terminus interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
ITS signage on the Interstate 40 eastbound to Interstate 240 eastbound ramp. These types of signs can be found throughout the Indiana Interstate system as well. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 40 west
Traveling southbound on Interstate 40, one mile north of the Exit 1G/F cloverleaf interchange with Tennessee 14/Jackson Avenue and 1.50 miles from the departure from the Memphis Beltline. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).
Interstate 40 westbound at Exit 1G/Tennessee 14 west. This state route travels to U.S. 51 where it concludes. Otherwise Interstate 40 continues for another half mile before turning west through the central business district of Memphis. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).
The Interstate 40 departure from the Memphis belt line is signed as Exit 1F. Interstate 240 will take over at this junction and continue southward with three through lanes. To the west Interstate 40 will encounter four off-ramps to serve the downtown Memphis area. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).
Interstate 40 westbound departs via Exit 1F as Interstate 240 eastbound begins. Ahead is the first mainline interchange of I-240, Exit 30 with Madison Avenue. The ramp of Exit 30 departs before traffic from Interstate 40 eastbound merges onto Interstate 240. This eliminates weaving traffic concerns between the two directions of travel. A slip ramp to Madison Avenue is situated further south for Interstate 40 entering traffic. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 40 west
Interstate 55
overlap begin
7 miles at West Memphis, AR
Interstate 55
overlap end
11 miles at West Memphis, AR
Interstate 440 127 miles near Galloway, AR
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 40 - east of Memphis, Tennessee
Perspective from Interstate 240 east
Exit numbers count downward on Interstate 240 from 31 to 12 as it travels eastward. This photo shows Exit 12C guide signage for Interstate 40. Construction is present in the area as the Interstate 40/240/Sam Cooper Boulevard interchange is undergoing a rebuild. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
New diagrammatical sign on Interstate 240 eastbound for Exit 12C. The Memphis Beltway maintains two lanes through the terminus interchange as it does on the west side. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Replaced directional overhead on Interstate 240 northbound as it returns to Interstate 40 on the eastern side of the city. Interstate 240 is orientated in a northwest-southeast orientation at this point, wrapping back around to the north side of the city. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman (05/29/95).
Interstate 240 comes to an end as traffic for Interstate 40 eastbound departs via a sharp ramp. The interchange is undergoing reconstruction to improve this ramp among others (see below photographs). Interstate 40 sees its next Interstate junction in Nashville at Interstate 440, 195 miles to the east. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman (05/29/95).
A daytime look at the Interstate 40 east/sharp ramp overhead of Interstate 240 east. Note the roadway expansion project that is underway. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Exit 12C departs to Interstate 40 via the aforementioned sharp ramp. Interstate 40 sees another three Memphis city interchanges before encountering rural environs en route to Jackson, Tennessee. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Interstate 40 east
With construction in progress, Interstate 40 exits onto itself from the Memphis Beltway. Traffic continuing south will enter the westbound beginning of Interstate 240. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 40 east
Interstate 440 194 miles at Nashville, TN
Interstate 65
overlap begin
196 miles at downtown Nashville, TN
Interstate 65
overlap end
198 miles at downtown Nashville, TN
Perspective from Interstate 40 west
Five lanes of Interstate 40 westbound as the freeway leaves Exit 12/Macon Road. Again Interstate 40 is shown as exiting from itself, with Exit 10A/B guide signage 1.50 miles east of the Memphis Beltway. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Some lane shifting due to construction, Interstate 40 prepares to enter the Memphis Beltway. Westbound traffic not opting for the beltway will transition onto Sam Cooper Boulevard into central Memphis. This freeway spur is a remnant of the planned Interstate 40 routing. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
One half mile from the Interstate 40 entrance onto the Memphis Beltway. Interstate 240 travels southeast briefly before curving back to the west to the Nonconnah Parkway and Interstate 55. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Interstate 240 begins from Interstate 40 west via this Exit 10A cloverleaf ramp. Interstate 240 returns to Interstate 40 in 19 miles and interchanges with Interstate 55 in 14 miles. Sam Cooper Boulevard presses westward for several miles to Broad Avenue. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Sam Cooper Boulevard east
1.50 miles west of the Memphis Beltway on Sam Cooper Boulevard eastbound. Exit 9 departs for Perkins Road in this photograph. The exit numbering scheme of Sam Cooper Boulevard is also a remnant from the Interstate 40 planned mileage. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Naturally, the Sam Cooper Boulevard eastbound mainline defaults onto Interstate 40 eastbound. An original sign still is posted for Exit 10B/Interstate 40 west on this sign bridge. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Near the Meadenhall Road overpass, Sam Cooper Boulevard enters its final half mile before merging onto Interstate 40 east. An exit-only lane is in place for Exit 10A/Interstate 240 westbound. As is the case from Interstate 40, Jackson, Mississippi is the control city of Interstate 240. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Eastbound Sam Cooper Boulevard at the eastern terminus of Interstate 240, where Interstate 40 heads east to Jackson and Nashville. Sam Cooper Boulevard was to have been part of Interstate 40 had it been constructed through Memphis. However, local opposition curtailed this from coming to fruition. The roadway currently carries no route designation and is locally maintained. Top photo taken by Adam Froehlig (10/00); bottom photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspective from Sam Cooper Boulevard west
Thru trucks advisory sign on Sam Cooper Boulevard westbound. This sign indicates for trucks to u-turn at Exit 9/Perkins Road to return to Interstates 40 and 240. This sign is for those who wander onto Sam Cooper Boulevard by mistake. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).
Perspectives from area side roads
Presently the Interstate 40/240 interchange is underground redesign. This photo looks from White Station Road (on the west side of the Interstate 40/240 interchange) and shows the frame for the eastbound Interstate 40 to southbound Interstate 240 ramp being constructed. For a map showing the project, see StarOwl's Highway Heaven site here. Photo taken by Don Johnson (06/02).
The new Interstate 240 southbound overpass over Summer Avenue (just north of the Interstate 240/40 junction) in the foreground and the old northbound Interstate 240 overpass in the background. Photo taken by Don Johnson (06/02).

Sources:

  1. I-40/I-240 Interchange Reconstruction East Memphis, Shelby County. Tennessee Department of Transportation.
  2. Lawrence, Chris. "Recent MS/TN construction notes." Online posting, misc.transport.road, September 25, 2003.

Page Updated July 29, 2008.

 
Mileage

State Tennessee
Mileage 19.27
Cities Memphis
Junctions Interstate 40/ Future Interstate 69, Interstate 55/Future Interstate 69, Future Interstate 22, Interstate 40
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-240 Tennessee Annual Average Daily Traffic

County From To AADT Composite
Shelby Exit 29/ E.H. Crump Boulevard Exit 28/ South Parkway East 99,830
Shelby Exit 28/ South Parkway East Exit 26/ Norris Road 99,780
Shelby Exit 26/ Norris Road Exit 25/ Interstate 55 89,190
Shelby Exit 25/ Interstate 55 Exit 24/ Mill Branch Road 137,100
Shelby Exit 24/ Mill Branch Road Exit 23/ Airways Boulevard 141,850
Shelby Exit 23/ Airways Boulevard Exit 21/ U.S. 78/ Lamar Ave. 161,960
Shelby Exit 21/ U.S. 78/ Lamar Ave. Exit 20/ Getwell Street 148,670
Shelby Exit 20/ Getwell Street Exit 18/ Perkins Road 153,090
Shelby Exit 18/ Perkins Road Exit 17/ Mt. Noriah Road 160,540
Shelby Exit 16/ TN 385/Nonconnah Pkwy Exit 15/ U.S. 72/Poplar Ave. 147,360
Shelby Exit 15/ U.S. 72/Poplar Ave. Exit 13/ SSR 23 144,640
Shelby Exit 13/ SSR 23 Exit 12/ Interstate 40 142,600
Source: Traffic Flow Maps Tennessee Roads and Streets 2002 (TDOT)

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