Tennessee Roads - I-40


Looking west at the Hernando de Soto Bridge across the Mississippi River from Memphis.

This egg greets people at the welcome center off Exit 1. Okay, an egg is one symbol of birth if you want to emphasize "birthplace," but what does an egg have to do with Memphis or Tennessee?

Looking north and south from the Welcome Center at I-40 and I-55 (the different truss behind a pair of similar railroad trusses).

Not the only highway in the nation to have multiples of the same milepost in the same state, but the only highway to have them consecutively in the same city. I-40 was intended to run straight through Memphis, and for awhile was signed that way despite the incompletion of the western half of the freeway inside I-240. Community opposition to save Overton Park was what killed the project - actually not neighborhood opposition from the other side of the park - and by the 1970's, TDOT realized it needed a new solution. I-40 was thus routed along the north side of I-240 (which eventually was truncated to the southern half of the beltway) and ended up about three miles longer, while the stub freeway is now just Sam Cooper Blvd. (see big link below). Rather than renumber and repost the entire Interstate in Tennessee after decades of existence, TDOT got cute and designated a couple of A and B mileposts to equalize things. So I'd say this is the only highway in the nation to have Mile 1 followed by Mile 1A.

Secret TN 300, a stub from I-40 Exit 3 to US 51, WB at its stub end. But this says Interstate Ends, and that's a clue to a bigger secret - this is future I-69. It will be a long time before anything is built north of here, so Freeway Ends would be plenty sufficient.

Entering TN 300 EB from US 51, which is the merge in the second photo (I'm sitting on an unused highway stub).

There was never a planned I-440 West. Why not have designed to the "East" message from the start?

Original overpass, 28th Ave. NB at I-40 Exit 207.

Another old bridge WB and the I-40/65 split EB, both right around the ramps for Exit 209B.

EB and WB at a pedestrian bridge just west of I-24, then continuing west to the same split as the prior caption. Even more amusing than all the messages being all caps is that larger first letters were given to the destinations, but not the cardinal directions that should have them.

Older EB and WB signs, respectively.

Between those two points, I-40 was being widened from about Exit 226 through Exit 232 to add a third lane in each direction. These photos head east past Exit 229 (photos 4-5) and Exit 232 (photos 8-9).

The westbound, daylit equivalent starting at Exit 232, with Exit 229 coincidentally again in photos 4-5 and a temporarily closed rest area in photos 7-8.

Approaching Knoxville.

I-24 and I-40/24
Sam Cooper Blvd., former I-40

Into Arkansas on I-40
Into North Carolina on I-40
Onto US 51
Exit 206 to I-440
Exit 210 to I-65
Exit 232 to TN 109
Exit 238 to US 231
Onto I-75
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