Interstate 240 Tennessee

Interstate 240 Tennessee
History
East End
West End
I-240 at Crump Boulevard - Memphis, TN

Interstate 240 south of the U.S. 51-64-70-72-79 (Crump Boulevard) overpass at Midtown Memphis. 06/01/10

Overview

Interstate 240 in Tennessee runs along the southern two thirds of the 31.9-mile long Memphis beltway. The northern third is designated as Interstate 40. The western leg of I-240 from Downtown to Southside, Memphis doubles as Interstate 69, through the route is not marked. The remainder of the urban loop provides a bypass between I-55/69 near Whitehaven and I-40 between East Memphis and Bartlett. I-240 in conjunction with SR 385 (Bill Morris Parkway), is also a commuter route for residents of Germantown, Hickory Hill and Parkway Village.

History

When the eastern terminus interchange of Interstate 240 opened in 1964, I-40 was to continue west along Sam Cooper Boulevard, while I-240 was to serve as the bypass loop of the city.1 Litigation involving the construction of Interstate 40 across Overton City Park in 1971 resulted in the cancellation of the route across the Med District, Evergreen and Midtown. The freeway east from Highland Heights to Berclair and I-40 was completed prior to the Supreme Court decision in favor of the Citizens to Preserve Overton Park law suit.2

Interstate 40 was subsequently rerouted to overlap with I-240 along the northern Memphis beltline between Uptown and Raleigh. I-240 was eventually dropped from the concurrency as approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on June 28, 1982. The former I-40/240 overlap was one of handful in the Interstate Highway System where a 2-digit route overlapped with its branch route. Others included I-40/440 around Raleigh, North Carolina (dropped by 2009), I-95/495 around Washington, D.C. and I-94/694 to the northwest of St. Paul, Minnesota.

The southwestern section of I-240 between I-40 near Downtown and I-55 by Alcy-Dunn was previously designated as Interstate 255. This changed on November 10, 1973, when AASHTO approved the renumbering of I-255 as a northwestern extension of I-240.

Construction at the west end of I-240 included the removal of unused ramps intended for the Interstate 40 alignment to Sam Cooper Boulevard. The $53-million, three-year project rebuilding the I-40/240 exchange at Midtown, Memphis wrapped up by mid December 2006. Work added a lane in each direction to both I-40 and I-240 and doubled capacity of the ramp connections. 19 bridges were removed in the project and seven were replaced.4

I-40/240 interchange - Memphis, TN

Looking at the former unopened ramps at the exchange joining I-40/240 near Midtown, Memphis. This view looked southwest from the ramp built for unconstructed I-40 west to I-240 south. The loop ramp below carried motorists from I-240 north to I-40 west while the adjacent overpass represented the eastbound mainline of Interstate 40.
This exchange was rebuilt between 2003 and 2006 into a high-speed directional T interchange. Photo by Zach (07/18/03).

I-40/240 interchange reconstruction - Memphis, TN

Looking east from White Station Road at the steel frame work for the flyover carrying I-40 west to I-240 during Phase I construction. Photo by Don Johnson (06/02).

The I-40/I-240 Phase II Interchange Project was previously scheduled between January 2004 and December 2006. Funding delays pushed work back to 2013, when construction of the east and westbound flyover bridges commenced. The new ramps, which carry the Interstate 40 mainline above I-240 and Sam Cooper Boulevard, were completed by Fall 2015. Replacement of the I-40 bridges across the Wolf River and associated widening rounded out project work by Summer 2017.

Interstate 69 was extended northward from Hernando, Mississippi to Midtown, Memphis on May 6, 2008. The route overlaps with I-55 north to Interstate 240, along side I-240 north to Interstate 40, and on I-40 to a three-wye interchange (Exit 2A) with SR 300 near Frayser. Signs erected within the Volunteer State only reference the route as a Future corridor.

Route Information

  • East End – Memphis, TN

  • West End – Midtown Memphis, TN

  • Mileage – 19.27

  • Cities – Memphis

  • Junctions

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-240 Tennessee Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Memphis, TN - 1964
Interstate 240 was completed from I-55/255 east to I-40/240 by Brennan in east Memphis by 1964. The Interstate 255 leg of the Memphis beltway was opened north to the cloverleaf interchange with South Parkway East.

I-255 is one of three Tennessee Interstates renumbered as part of another route. The others are I-265 in Nashville, which became a part of an I-65 realignment in 2000 and I-181 at the Tri-Cities, which became part of a two-stage northern extension of I-26 in 2003 and 2005.

I-40/240 Memphis, TN - 1972
This 1972 map shows the interchange built for I-40/240/255 near Midtown, Memphis. The freeway east of Claybrook Street was never built, leaving ramps at the nearby exchange unused until their demolition in 2003.

All ramps at this exchange were removed as part of a $53-million project between June 2003 and December 2006.4 The I-40 mainline now curves northeast through the junction with four overall lanes while I-240 shifted to outside roadways to the parclo interchange at SR 14 (Jackson Avenue).

Memphis, TN - 1976
Memphis Inset – 1976 Tennessee Official Highway Map

Construction continued through 1976 on the northern arc of the Memphis beltway between Chelsea Avenue at Vollintine and U.S. 64-70-79 (Summer Avenue) at Raleigh.

Summer Avenue at I-40/240 - Memphis, TN
This view looks at Phase I construction of I-40/240 above Summer Avenue (U.S. 64-70-79). A new overpass was constructed for I-40 eastbound in the foreground. Westbound travelers remained on the 1964-overpass in the background. Photo by Don Johnson (06/02).

The roadways of I-40 above U.S. 64-70-79 were shifted outward to accommodate the new mainline flyovers taking I-40 to and from the Memphis beltway.

East End  / Sam Cooper Boulevard – Memphis, Tennessee

I-240 East at I-40 / Sam Cooper Boulevard

I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

I-240 curves northwest from Walnut Grove Road (SR 23) between East Memphis and Shelby Farms Park to Interstate 40. 01/13/19

I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

Exit numbers decrease along Interstate 240 from 31 to 12 as it travels eastward from Downtown to East Memphis. 01/13/19

I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN
I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN
I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

Interstate 240 north splits with two lanes joining I-40 east toward Jackson and Nashville, two lanes continuing into I-40 west toward Beclair and Raleigh in Memphis and a left exit ramp for Sam Cooper Boulevard west to Overton Park. 01/13/19

I-40 East at I-240 / Sam Cooper Boulevard

I-40 east at I-240/Sam Cooper Blvd - Memphis, TN

Paralleling the Wolf River, I-40 angles southeast to SR 204 (Covington Pike) at Berclair and I-240 at East Memphis. 01/14/19

I-40 east at I-240/Sam Cooper Blvd - Memphis, TN

U.S. 64-70-70 parallel I-40 east and Sam Cooper Boulevard west across the north side of the exchange with Interstate 240. 01/14/19

I-40 east at I-240/Sam Cooper Blvd - Memphis, TN

Traffic partitions simultaneously for U.S. 64-70-79 (Summer Avenue) and the two lane flyover (Left Exit 12C) leading Interstate 40 away from the Memphis Beltway (I-240). 01/14/19

I-40 West at I-240 / Sam Cooper Boulevard

I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

Westbound I-40 expands to five lanes from Sycamore View Road (Exit 12) to the exchange with Interstate 240. 09/10/20

I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

A four lane flyover separates at Exit 10 for I-240 west to Parkway Village and Whitehaven and the continuation of I-40 east toward Midtown. 09/10/20

I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

Three lanes extend west from the I-40 mainline at I-240 to Sam Cooper Boulevard, a locally maintained freeway spur west to Binghampton and Overton Park by Midtown Memphis. 09/10/20

I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

The systems interchange (Exit 10) joining I-40/240 with Sam Cooper Boulevard replaced a low-speed exchange where I-40 made a TOTSO (turn off to stay on) ramp. 09/10/20

I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - Memphis, TN

Interstate 240 heads south from Left Exit 10A to SR 385 (Bill Morris Parkway) and west to Memphis International Airport (MEM). I-40 loops north to the Raleigh and Frayser neighborhoods in Memphis. 09/10/20

Sam Cooper Boulevard East at I-40 I-240

Sam Cooper Bl east at I-40/240 - Memphis, TN

Sam Cooper Boulevard heads 1.25 miles east from Perkins Road to Interstate 240. The exit numbering convention along the freeway spur is a remnant from the cancelled route of I-40 through Midtown Memphis. 09/10/20

Sam Cooper Bl east at I-40/240 - Memphis, TN

Construction upgrading the exchange at I-40/240 added a third through lane from Sam Cooper Boulevard onto Interstate 40 eastbound. 09/10/20

Sam Cooper Bl east at I-40/240 - Memphis, TN

Ramps from Sam Cooper Boulevard east to I-240 west and I-40 west remain in their original configuration. 09/10/20

Sam Cooper Bl east at I-40/240 - Memphis, TN

A loop ramp joins Sam Cooper Boulevard east with Interstate 40 west toward Little Rock, Arkansas. 01/14/19

I-240 East End Throwback

I-240 East at I-40 / Sam Cooper Boulevard

I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003

Initial construction to upgrade the exchange joining I-240 with I-40 and Sam Cooper Boulevard. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003

Interstate 240 concluded beyond what was a sharp ramp for I-40 east to Jackson and Nashville. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-240 east at I-40/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003

Entering the directional cloverleaf interchange that previously connected I-240 east with I-40 and Sam Cooper Boulevard. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-40 West at I-240 / Sam Cooper Boulevard

I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003
I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003
I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003

Interstate 40 west at I-240 and Sam Cooper Boulevard during construction of the I-40/I-240 Phase I Interchange Project. Photos by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-40 west at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003

A loop ramp previously linked I-40 west with Interstate 240 west at Exit 10A. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-40 East at I-240 / Sam Cooper Boulevard

I-40 east at I-240/Sam Cooper Bl - 2003

Interstate 40 eastbound previously navigated through a TOTSO connection from the Memphis Beltway at I-240 and Sam Cooper Boulevard. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

West End  – Midtown Memphis, Tennessee

I-240 North at I-40

I-240 north at I-40 - Memphis, TN

2003-06 reconstruction of the I-40/240 exchange near Downtown Memphis included renumbering Exit 31B as Exit 31. U.S 72 (Union Avenue) meets I-240 one half mile to the south. 01/14/19

I-240 north at I-40 - Memphis, TN

A distributor roadway connects ramps from Madison Avenue at the Medical District with both I-40 west to the Hernando de Soto Bridge and the north end of I-240 linking with I-40 east. 01/14/19

I-240 north at I-40 - Memphis, TN

A directional T interchange (Exit 31) connects I-240 north and Madison Avenue with Interstate 40 west to West Memphis and Little Rock, Arkansas. 01/14/19

I-240 north at I-40/SR 14 - Memphis, TN

I-240 north runs alongside I-40 east for 0.75 miles through the parclo interchange (Exit 32) with SR 14 (Jackson Avenue). 01/14/19

I-240 north at I-40/SR 14 - Memphis, TN

The I-40/240 roadways converge north of SR 14 by the North Memphis district. 01/14/19

I-40 East at I-240

I-40 east at I-240 - Memphis, TN

I-40 meets U.S. 51 (Danny Thomas Boulevard) at Uptown Memphis one mile west of Interstate 240. 09/10/20

I-40 east at I-240 - Memphis, TN

The forthcoming exchange represented the north end of I-255, which was the original designation for I-240 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway) south from I-40 to I-55. 09/10/20

I-40 east at I-240 - Memphis, TN

Interstate 40 overtakes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway north from I-240 to SR 300 (Future I-69) at Frayser. Exit 1E joins I-240 south between the Medical District and Midtown. 09/10/20

I-40 West at I-240

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - Memphis, TN

I-40 travels south by the North Memphis district to SR 14 (Jackson Avenue) and Interstate 240 at Midtown. 01/13/19

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - Memphis, TN

Interstate 40 partitions at Exit 1E with two lanes west to the Hernando de Soto Bridge into West Memphis, Arkansas and two lanes for the continuation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Expressway south onto I-240. 01/13/19

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - Memphis, TN

Exit 1F departs for SR 14 (Jackson Avenue) simultaneously with Exit 1E for Interstate 240 south. SR 14 runs west to U.S. 51 (Thomas Street) at Uptown and east to I-40 at Raleigh. 01/14/19

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - Memphis, TN

I-40/240 form a dual freeway south from SR 14 to the directional T interchange at Midtown. Interstate 40 heads west to Little Rock, Arkansas while I-240 leads south to I-55 at Whitehaven for Jackson, Mississippi. 01/13/19

I-240 West End Throwback

I-240 North at I-40

I-240 north at I-40 - 2003

Prior to reconstruction of the interchange with I-40, I-240 north reduced to two through lanes below Poplar Avenue. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-240 north at I-40 - 2003

Part of the original cloverstack interchange joining I-40/240, this flyover was intended to join I-40 west with I-255/240 south. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-240 north at I-40 - 2003

Prior to the upgrade, a loop ramp (Exit 31B) connected I-240 west with I-40 to West Memphis, Arkansas. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-40 East at I-240

I-40 east at I-240 - 2003

A section of unused roadway was constructed for the planned continuation of Interstate 40 east from I-240 across Midtown Memphis. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-40 east at I-240 - 2003

I-40 previously turned north onto the Memphis beltway (I-240) along a single lane ramp. Photo by Chris Patriarca (05/03/03).

I-40 West at I-240

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - 2003

Exit 1E previously was assigned for the continuation of Interstate 40 west from the Memphis beltway (I-240). Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - 2003

The four loop cloverleaf interchange (Exits 1G/F) joining Interstate 40 with SR 14 was rebuilt into a parclo. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - 2003

Four roadways were built in place of the eight lane freeway leading south from SR 14 and Faxon Avenue to I-240 at Exit 1E. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

I-40 west at I-240/SR 14 - 2003

Entering the former cloverstack interchange joining I-40/240 at Midtown Memphis. Photo by Chris Patriarca (07/18/03).

Sources:

  1. I-40/I-240 Interchange Reconstruction East Memphis, Shelby County. http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/information-office/HotProjects/Ramp/default.html Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), project web site.
  2. Facts About Tennessee’s Interstate System
    50th Anniversary, 1956-2006. http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/interstateinfo/Tnfacts.htm Tennessee Department of Transportation, webpage.
  3. Lawrence, Chris. “Recent MS/TN construction notes.” Online posting, misc.transport.road, September 25, 2003.
  4. “Work on I-40-240 ahead of schedule.” Commercial Appeal, The (Memphis, TN) October 7, 2005.

Page updated September 21, 2020.