Work starts on long-term I-55 project near key Memphis span

June 17, 2022 GMT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Work has started in Tennessee on a $141 million project to build travel lanes and a roundabout intersection on the Interstate 55 interchange near a heavily traveled bridge connecting Memphis to Arkansas.

Lane closures began Monday at the I-55 and Crump interchange close to downtown Memphis and near one of two bridges that cross the Mississippi River from the city, said Mike Welch, a regional director of operations for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

I-55 runs north-south, from Chicago to Louisiana, and it is one of two major U.S. interstates that travel through Memphis — the east-west Interstate 40 is the other. Motorists have been warned of lane closures during the project, which officials said is estimated to be completed in 2025.

Improvements to the interchange at I-55 and Crump Boulevard — also known as U.S. Highway 78 — include new travel lanes for main interstate traffic, TDOT said. That will eliminate the use of “single-lane, low-speed ramps” to continue on I-55, the department said.

A roundabout intersection will replace the existing cloverleaf interchange and the I-55 river bridge deck will undergo repairs, the department said.

Nashville-based Bell & Associates Construction won the contract with the lowest bid at about $141.2 million, TDOT said.