TDOT delaying Memphis projects due to funding

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I-55 would veer to the left to cross the river

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Decreases in federal funding for transportation projects mean several will be delayed. The delays impact the I-55/Crump interchange project, as well as work from the Mississippi state line to Shelby Boulevard. Both will be delayed until 2016. The delays will not affect the I-40/240 flyover project. According to a letter sent to members of the Tennessee General Assembly, TDOT’s top priority is “maintaining our investment in our infrastructure…Safety improvements, bridge rehabilitation & replacement, and pavement preservation projects will receive priority over capacity expansion projects.” Twelve of the delayed projects (totaling $177 million) are ready for construction, and another 21 (totaling $217 million) are ready for Right of Way acquisition. The I-55/Crump interchange project could include closing the I-55 bridge, with traffic detouring onto the now two-lane Riverside Drive. The interstate would curve toward the river instead of the big loop drivers do now. It also would no longer just turn into a city street; instead, it would lead you to the roundabout. The old bridge could be closed for as many as two years so all of this can be built. “That’s my major transportation to work from Memphis to West Memphis,” one woman said. “I’ll have to take the new bridge, and that’s several miles away.” Having just one bridge also means ambulances would have to go west if the new bridge shutdown for some reason. People WREG spoke with say they see the need, but wish there was another way. “It’ll be better in the long run, but for a while it will be a big headache,” one woman said. TDOT engineers have asked for the bridge to be closed, but that’s just their recommendation. Officials say they understand the need to keep both bridges open and are still looking into it.

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