Interstate 240 Tennessee
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 north-south leg of I-240 from Downtown to Southside, Memphis doubles as Interstate 69. The remainder of the route provides a bypass between I-55 & 69 through northern Mississippi and I-40 leading east toward Jackson while acting as a commuter route for residents of Germantown, Hickory Hill and Parkway Village.
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 bypass loop of the city.1 Litigation involving the construction of Interstate 40 across Overton city Park in 1971 resulted in the cancellation of I-40 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 AASHTO on June 28, 1982. The I-40/240 overlap is one of handful in the Interstate system where a 2-digit route overlapped with its branch route. Others included I-40/440 around Raleigh, North Carolina (dropped in by 2009), I-95/495 around Washington, D.C. and I-94/694 to the northwest of St. Paul, Minnesota.
The southwestern section of Interstate 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 western terminus included 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, 20033:
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.
The $53-million, three-year project to reconstruct the I-40/240 junction 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, with seven replaced.4
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 three-wye interchange (Exit 2A) with Tennessee 300 near Frayser. Signs erected within the Volunteer State only reference the route as a Future corridor.
East End – Memphis, TN
West End – Midtown Memphis, TN
Mileage – 19.27
Cities – Memphis
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2018Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-240 Tennessee Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: Traffic Flow Maps Tennessee Roads and Streets 2002 (TDOT)
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.
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).
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.
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
West End – Midtown Memphis, Tennessee
- I-40/I-240 Interchange Reconstruction East Memphis, Shelby County. Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) project web site.
- “Facts About Tennessee’s Interstate System
50th Anniversary, 1956-2006,” Tennessee Department of Transportation, 2006 web site.
- Lawrence, Chris. “Recent MS/TN construction notes.” Online posting, misc.transport.road, September 25, 2003.
- “Work on I-40-240 ahead of schedule.” Commercial Appeal, The (Memphis, TN) October 7, 2005.
Page updated February 10, 2016.