Interstate 840 Tennessee

Tennessee 840 map - Interstate-Guide

The projected path of SR 840 north as envisioned by the Tennessee Department of Transportation in 2003 included an overlap with I-40 in the vicinity of Lebanon. The southern half of the beltway was fully completed in 2012 while the northern half was canceled.

Routing

Originally tapped to be a full 187-mile beltway of the metropolitan Nashville area, Tennessee 840 connects Interstate 40 near Pomona to Interstate 40 near Lebanon. The beltway was touted as an answer to regional traffic needs so that the existing Nashville freeways could better support local traffic. Similar to the outer beltway (Grand Parkway / SH 99) of Houston, Tennessee 840 comprises a complete bypass of the metropolitan area, providing a through route for the movement of goods and services. Critics of the beltway however worry that the new freeway will open up lands for unprecedented commercial and residential development.

Interstate designation was planned originally for SR 840, but later withdrawn because funding was derived from Tennessee state sources such as gas and diesel taxes, license plate renewal fees and other highway user fees.1 Additionally the route fell under then-governor Lamar Alexander's 1968 "Bicentennial Parkway" road program.4

An application to AASHTO by TDOT to upgrade the state route to Interstate 840 however was approved on May 15, 2015. No further actions have followed as of February 2016.

The northern half of the beltway is still on paper only, as no construction ever took place. It was announced by the Tennessee Department of Transportation on October 31, 2003, that Tennessee 840 north of Interstate 40 was indefinitely placed on hold. Lawsuits and complaints from homeowners and environmental groups along the planned corridor and the overall need for this element of the beltway were cited as reasons for the cancellation of the project.2

History

The origins of Tennessee 840 began in 1975 with the recommendation for a beltway of Nashville included in the 1975-79 Tennessee Highway System Plan.2 By 1986, the concept became official upon the proposal of Governor Lamar Alexander for the route and the subsequent approval by the state legislature. The route was included in the Tennessee Better Roads Program. From there planning commenced in 1988 culminating to actual construction by 1991. Newspaper reports referred to the beltway as Interstate 840 rather than Tennessee 840.

In November 1991, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) requested that the proposed Interstate 840 be added to the Interstate Highway System. This request was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in accordance with the provisions of 23 USC 139(b). In January 1992, however, TDOT withdrew this request, and FHWA returned the Agreement for Interstate Highway Construction in the State of Tennessee without signing it. Interstate 840 then became "SR 840S."3

Construction progressed on the south and eastern thirds of the beltway in four stages:

  • From Stewart's Ferry Pike near Gladeville to Interstate 40 - open August 1995
  • From Interstate 24 in Murfreesboro northeast to Stewart's Ferry Pike - open November 1996
  • From U.S. 31A and U.S. 41A near Triune in Williamson County to Interstate 24 - open November 2000
  • From Interstate 65 south of Franklin to U.S. 31A/41A - open October 2001

The total length of Tennessee 840 expanded to 47 miles at that point.1,3

In 1993, the General Assembly indicated that TDOT may consider the northern component of the beltway. The department of transportation followed with the release of an environmental impact statement in 1995. By 2003, due to the overall anticipated high costs both economically and socially with the corridor, it was recommended that TDOT withdraw plans to begin work on the northern half of Tennessee 840. Instead attention should be redirected to the expansion of the existing roadway network north of the city. Thus further study of the northern half of the route was discontinued.2

The westernmost portion of Tennessee 840, between I-40 near Burns and SR 100 near Fairview, opened to traffic December 5, 2002.1 This left the section between Tennessee 100 and Interstate 65. Work on this portion began with a 6.1-mile, $44.2-million project between Tennessee 100 and Bending Chestnut Road, just south of Tennessee 46 (Pinewood Road) in July 2007.5 The Williamson County stretch opened following a ribbon cutting ceremony held on October 27, 2010.

Separate projects focused on completing the 11.94 mile link between Bending Chestnut Road and U.S. 31 (Columbia Pike). $87.3-million in construction from Leipers Creek Road east to U.S. 31 (Columbia Pike) started in January 2009. Work on the freeway west from Leipers Creek Road to Bending Chestnut Road followed in March 2010.5 Governor Bill Haslam led a ribbon cutting ceremony at Burwood by the SR 246 interchange to formally open the road on November 2, 2012. The beltway cost $753 million to build,6 up from the $351 million projected in 1986.2

Western Terminus - Interstate 40 - east of Pomona, Tennessee
The west end of Tennessee 840 consists of a parclo interchange with Interstate 40 (Exit 176) in a rural area to the southeast of Dickson. Provisions were built at the exchange for a northern extension.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 40 - west of Lebanon, Tennessee
Perspective from Tennessee 840 east
This sign bridge separates traffic beyond the stub end of Tennessee 840 east for I-40 west back to Nashville and east to nearby Lebanon. Photo taken by Dan Garnell (05/02/02).
Perspective from Interstate 40 west
Approaching the trumpet interchange (Exit 235) with Tennessee 840 along Interstate 40 west. TN 840 angles southwest 23 miles to cross paths with I-24 near Murfreesboro. I-40 enters the city limits of Nashville in 12 miles. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (03/18/01).

Sources:

  1. State Route 840 http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/
    information-office/HotProjects/SR840/
    . Tennessee Department of Transportation project web site.
  2. "TDOT Announces Decision on State Route 840 North." Tennessee Department of Transportation, October 31, 2003.
  3. Tennessee Department of Transportation 15 Project Case Study: Project Assessment Final Report State Route 840 South, by the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee (Dr. Stephen Richards, Team Leader; Dr. David Middendorf; Dr. Fred Wegmann; Dr. Gregory Reed; Dr. Tom Urbanik; Dr. Mary English; Dr. Arun Chatterjee; Dr. John Tidwell) in August 2003 - page 11.
  4. "New Nashville bypass to help Memphis drivers" The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) October 31, 2012.
  5. "840 complete 26 years after project began." Franklin Home Page, November 2, 2012.

Page Updated February 12, 2016.

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Mileage

State Tennessee
Mileage 77.28
Cities Murfreesboro
Junctions Interstate 40, Interstate 65, Interstate 24, Interstate 40
Source: SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON U.S. ROUTE NUMBERING SPRING 2015 REPORT TO THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON HIGHWAYS May 14, 2015.
Tennessee 840 Annual Average Daily Traffic

County From: To: AADT Composite
Dickson/ Hickman/
Williamson
Exit 1/ Interstate 40 Exit 7/ TN 100/ Fairview 1,420
Williamson Exit 30/ Tennessee 106 Exit 31/ Interstate 65 6,510
Williamson Exit 31/ Interstate 65 Exit 34/ Peytonsville Road 16,150
Williamson Exit 34/ Peytonsville Road Exit 37/ Arno Road 15,450
Williamson Exit 37/ Arno Road Exit 42/ U.S. 31A/41A 14,810
Williamson/ Rutherford Exit 42/ U.S. 31A/41A Exit 47/ Tennessee 96 16,770
Rutherford Exit 47/ Tennessee 96 Exit 53/ Interstate 24 12,320
Rutherford Exit 53/ Interstate 24 Exit 55/ U.S. 41/70S 28,930
Rutherford Exit 55/ U.S. 41/70S Exit 57/ Sulphur Springs Rd. 15,600
Rutherford Exit 57/ Sulphur Springs Rd. Exit 61/ SSR 266 14,080
Rutherford Exit 61/ SSR 266 Exit 64/ Tennessee 452 16,560
Rutherford/ Wilson Exit 64/ Tennessee 452 Exit 67/ Couchville Pike 16,610
Wilson Exit 67/ Couchville Pike Exit 70/ Stewarts Ferry Pk. 15,950
Wilson Exit 70/ Stewarts Ferry Pk. Exit 72/ SSR 265 16,580
Wilson Exit 72/ SSR 265 Exit 76/ Interstate 40 10,070
Source: Traffic Flow Maps - Tennessee Roads and Streets 2002

Aerial image of the west end of Tennessee 840.
Although funding may never materialize, a freeway stub built north of Interstate 40 alludes to the envisioned northern loop of Tennessee 840.