Interstate 55 in Tennessee

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Interstate 55

Bishop J.O. Patterson Sr. Memorial Parkway
W.B. Fowler Sr. Expressway
I-55 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by TDOT
Length12.6 mi[1] (20.3 km)
ExistedAugust 14, 1957[2]–present
HistoryCompleted April 20, 1967
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-55 / I-69 at the Mississippi state line
Major intersections US 51 in Memphis
I-240 in Memphis
US 61 / US 64 / US 70 / US 78 / US 79 in Memphis
North end I-55 at Arkansas state line
CountryUnited States
Highway system
SR 54 SR 55

Interstate 55 (I-55) in Tennessee lies entirely within the city of Memphis, located in Shelby County. The highway enters the city from Southaven in Desoto County, Mississippi, and passes through the Whitehaven area of the city, bypassing Memphis International Airport to the west.

Route description

I-55 northbound as it enters Tennessee in Memphis
I-55 northbound, at intersection with I-240 in Memphis. Note I-240 is signed as North as opposed to West.

I-55 enters Tennessee from Mississippi, heading north to an interchange with I-240. I-55 then turns westward for a brief period before turning northward again. Just before reaching downtown, the highway turns westward again at E.H. Crump Boulevard and crosses the Mississippi River via the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge into West Memphis, in Crittenden County, Arkansas.

I-55 provides an alternate route for motorists who do not want to take I-240 and I-40 through downtown to cross the Mississippi River.


The Memphis and Arkansas Bridge, the first link of what is now I-55, was integrated into the Interstate system. Construction began on September 12, 1945, and the bridge opened to traffic on December 17, 1949.[3][4] The first segment of I-55 to begin construction after the passage of the Interstate Highway Act of 1956 was the section between the Mississippi State Line and U.S. Route 51 (US 51)/Brooks Road in early 1959. This segment opened to traffic on December 2, 1961, and was the first completed freeway segment in Memphis.[5] On March 18, 1966, the section between I-240 and US 61 (Third Street) was opened.[6] The section between US 61 and South Parkway opened on October 14, 1966.[7] Work on the last section, located between South Parkway and the Memphis and Arkansas Bridge and which consisted of upgrading a stretch of Crump Boulevard between the bridge and the cloverleaf interchange to freeway standards, began on September 11, 1964, and was opened on April 20, 1967.[8]

I-55 was widened from four to eight lanes between the Mississippi state line and the I-240 interchange in two phases. The first phase, which took place between February 1999 and June 2001, widened the section between Winchester Road and I-240, and the second phase, which ran from early 2000 to July 2002, widened the highway between the state line and Winchester Road.[9]

On January 18, 2008, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) authorized the states of Mississippi and Tennessee to extend I-69 from the I-40/State Route 300 (SR 300) interchange in north Memphis to the I-55/I-69 interchange in Hernando; however, Tennessee has not yet signed the extension of the route, although Mississippi has already done so.[10] I-55 is one of Tennessee's Interstates where the speed limit is 65 mph (105 km/h) instead of 70 mph (110 km/h).


There are currently plans to revamp the I-55/Crump Boulevard Interchange. The current design (a cloverleaf interchange) causes northbound motorists, especially truck drivers, to slow down from 55 mph (89 km/h) to 25 mph (40 km/h) when going from the section they are on to the section passing over the Mississippi River. Prior to 2011, northbound traffic had to merge on a one-lane loop with a tight radius while traffic going from I-55 southbound to Riverside Drive merged into traffic on another loop ramp. This has caused several accidents over the years. A temporary solution has been put into effect by making the northbound loop into two lanes, eliminating I-55 southbound to Riverside Drive loop and creating a left turn lane for I-55 to Riverside Drive traffic. This eliminated having to make a lane change in order to stay on I-55 northbound. In 2021, a second lane was added for I-55 southbound in response to the Hernando de Soto Bridge closure.[11]

In 2012, the FHWA approved TDOT's permanent solution. The planned project eliminated the cloverleaf entirely and added two flyover ramps for Interstate traffic and a roundabout to accommodate Riverside Drive traffic, E.H. Crump Boulevard traffic, and the I-55 entrance/exit ramps.[12] The project, originally scheduled to begin in 2018, was on hold due to controversy over the nine-month closure of the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge during the project. On March 30, 2022, TDOT awarded a $141.2 million contract for the project; work is expected to be completed in early 2025.[13] The project shortens the closure time of the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge to two weeks.[14][15]

Exit list

The entire route is in Shelby County.

TennesseeMississippi line0.000.00

I-55 south / I-69 south continue into Mississippi
291SouthavenSouthbound exit and northbound entrance each extend into Tennessee; exit number is based on Mississippi mileage
Memphis1.52.42 SR 175 (Shelby Drive) – Whitehaven, CaplevilleSigned as exits 2A (east) and 2B (west) southbound
4.47.15 US 51 (Elvis Presley Boulevard, SR 3) / Brooks Road – GracelandSigned as exits 5A (Brooks Road) and 5B (US 51 south) southbound
5.58.96 I-240 – Nashville, Little Rock, Memphis International AirportSigned as exits 6A & 6B; I-240 North and West, exit 25; I-55 and I-240 change carriageways; future northern end of I-69 overlap
7.512.17 US 61 (3rd Street, SR 14) – Vicksburg, MississippiNo access from southbound US 61 to northbound I-55 or southbound I-55 to northbound US 61
8.213.28Horn Lake RoadSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
8.914.39Mallory Avenue
10.416.710South Parkway
11.017.711McLemore Avenue - President's Island
11.718.812ACrump Boulevard east ( US 61 south / US 64 east / US 70 east / US 78 east / US 79 north / SR 1 east)South end of US 61/US 64/US 70/US 78/US 79/SR 1 overlap; left exit southbound and left entrance northbound; 25 mph (40 km/h) advisory speed for ramps carrying I-55 in both directions
11.919.212BRiverside Drive - DowntownSouthbound left exit and left entrance
12.219.612CMetal Museum DriveServes the National Ornamental Metal Museum; right-in/right-out southbound
Mississippi River12.620.3Memphis & Arkansas Bridge; Tennessee–Arkansas state line; north end of SR 1 overlap

I-55 north (US 61 north / US 64 west / US 70 west / US 79 south) / US 78 west – West Memphis, St. Louis, Little Rock
Continuation into Arkansas
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Google (May 17, 2017). "Overview Map of I-55 in Tennessee" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Public Roads Administration (August 14, 1957). Official Route Numbering for the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as Adopted by the American Association of State Highway Officials (Map). Washington, DC: Public Roads Administration. Retrieved June 14, 2018 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  3. ^ Talley, Robert (December 18, 1949). "New Bridge Opens, Climaxing 11 Years Of Toil and Effort". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. p. 1, 5. Retrieved November 5, 2021 – via
  4. ^ "Five Major Contracts Tell New Bridge Story". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. December 18, 1949. p. 90. Retrieved November 5, 2021 – via
  5. ^ "Expressway Opens - Traffic Is Light". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. December 3, 1961. p. 21. Retrieved November 5, 2021 – via
  6. ^ "Road Chief Opens Section Of Expressway". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. March 19, 1966. p. 19. Retrieved November 5, 2021 – via
  7. ^ Goodman, Charles (October 14, 1966). "New X-Way Segment Opened Officially". Memphis Press-Scimitar. p. 1. Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via
  8. ^ Hancock, Orville (April 20, 1967). "For Faster Way Into Town New X-Way Segment Opens". Memphis Press-Scimitar. p. 21. Retrieved January 23, 2023 – via
  9. ^ Gaskill, John (June 28, 2002). "I-55 widening completion to Miss. line beats schedule". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. p. B6. Retrieved November 19, 2021 – via Newspapers com.
  10. ^ Capka, J. Richard (FHWA Administrator), Letter to Paul D. Degges[permanent dead link] (TDOT) dated January 18, 2008, retrieved May 28, 2008.
  11. ^ Arthur, Shay (2021-06-14). "Added second lane on I-55 South at Crump relieves traffic congestion on both sides of the river". Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  12. ^ "Interstate 55 Crump Boulevard Interchange". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  13. ^ "TDOT Awards Contract to Improve I-55 and Crump Interchange" (Press release). Nashville: Tennessee Department of Transportation. April 1, 2022. Retrieved 2022-04-02.
  14. ^ Sells, Toby (March 29, 2022). "Whatever Happened To: the I-55/Crump Blvd. Interchange". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  15. ^ Round, Ian (March 11, 2022). "Construction on I-55/Crump Blvd. interchange to begin this spring". Daily Memphian. Retrieved 2022-03-31.

Interstate 55
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