Interstate 69 in Mississippi
The proposed Interstate 69 (I-69) extension from Indianapolis southwest to Texas currently has a short piece completed in the U.S. state of Mississippi, south of Memphis, Tennessee. The south end is an at-grade intersection with the former route of MS 304 near Tunica Resorts, where Mississippi Highway 713 continues west to U.S. Highway 61, and the route continues north to the Mississippi state line. Much of the route overlaps Mississippi Highway 304, which intersects US 61 farther north than MS 713. MS 304 continues east from I-55, connecting to State Route 385 in Tennessee, forming part of the Interstate 269 Memphis outer beltway.
I-69 highlighted in red
|Maintained by MDOT|
|Length||23.39 mi (37.64 km)|
|South end||MS 713 near Banks|
| I-55 / I-269 in Hernando|
MS 302 in Southaven
|North end||I-55 / I-69 at Tennessee state line in Southaven|
I-69 has been divided into a number of sections of independent utility (SIUs).
SIU 9 (Mississippi portion)Edit
At the Mississippi-Tennessee state line, I-69 enters Mississippi from the north concurrently with Interstate 55, and follows the previously-constructed route of I-55 south to Hernando, Mississippi for approximately 8 miles (13 km), where it meets Interstate 269.
On January 18, 2008, the Federal Highway Administration authorized the states of Mississippi and Tennessee to extend I-69 from the I-40/TN 300 interchange in north Memphis to the I-55/I-69 interchange in Hernando; in late May 2008, Mississippi began posting signs reflecting the extension of the route. Tennessee signed I-69 along I-55 north to I-240 for a few months and then removed the I-69 shields.
Segment 10 of the I-69 extension was originally planned and built as part of the MS-304 relocation project to link the Tunica County casinos to Interstate 55. Planning of the MS-304 Bypass predates I-69 planning in Mississippi, and federal and state officials opted to route I-69 over this segment in 2000, since it was nearing the start of construction. It also eliminated the need for constructing a new highway while still accomplishing the intended goals for the I-69 corridor.
In Hernando, I-69 diverges from I-55 at the interchange with Interstate 269 and turns west for approximately 16 miles (26 km) to the area around the Tunica County casinos. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at 2:00 p.m. CST on October 3, 2006, at which point the road was opened to traffic. This segment's opening also coincided with Mississippi's Statewide Transportation Conference, held in Tunica. The state's HELP program, with funding raised from Tunica County's casino gaming revenues, enabled this segment to be completed three years ahead of schedule.
This portion of I-69 mostly coincides with the relocated route of MS 304; both routes are co-signed between I-55 and the MS 713 spur, where the two routes split: MS 304 continues due west to U.S. 61, while I-69 (co-signed with MS 713) turns south to connect to the old routing of MS 304 near Banks, Mississippi. The MS 713 portion of the route opened to traffic December 18, 2006.
I-55 and I-69 meet at a cloverleaf interchange near Hernando; with I-269 and MS-304 continuing to the east. To accommodate the volume of traffic anticipated to pass through this interchange and meet current Federal Highway Administration standards for cloverleaf interchanges, collector/distributor roads were added to the I-55 mainline in the vicinity of the interchange.
As of December 18, 2006, all work on SIU 10 is complete and the entire segment is open to traffic. Because Interstate 69 is still incomplete through the remainder of Mississippi (SIUs 11 and 12), exits are unnumbered on the Hernando-Tunica segment. The two control cities used on the SIU 10 segment are Memphis and Tunica, although the route does not yet reach the Town of Tunica. The additional control city of Southaven is used at the interchange with I-55 and I-269 along the northern duplex.
Continuing south from its present (temporary) terminus at Mississippi Route 3 near Banks, I-69 will bypass the Town of Tunica to the east (serving Tunica Municipal Airport), then veer to the west and merge with U.S. 61 route to Clarksdale, also merging with U.S. Route 49 near Rich. In 2006 MDOT decided to incorporate the recently-completed Clarksdale Bypass into the future I-69 alignment through the Clarksdale vicinity, since the bypass is already at Interstate standards.
In Clarksdale, I-69 will merge with U.S. Route 278 and continue south, serving Shelby, following the existing U.S. 61 route. I-69 and U.S. 278 will diverge from U.S. 61 near Merigold, bypassing Cleveland to the west, and continue south to near Shaw, then west to Benoit where it will intersect Mississippi Highway 1. The Final Environmental Impact Statement for SIU 11 was approved in August 2010, and the Record of Decision was issued in September 2010. Due to funding issues, no major construction on this section of I-69 is expected through at least 2019, although some spot upgrades are planned on sections of US-61 that I-69 will eventually overlap. The 2016-2020 Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) published by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) anticipates construction to begin in 2020 to upgrade a 6-mile (10 km) section of US-61 to I-69 from the north end of the Clarksdale Bypass to near Swan Lake. The 2017-2020 STIP released by MDOT in December 2016 includes $3 million in FY-2017 for engineering and design work on the northernmost section of SIU-11 from the south end of the existing I-69 freeway at MS-3 and MS-713 to Arkabutla Dam Road.
SIU 12 (Mississippi portion)Edit
From Benoit, I-69 and U.S. 278 will cross the Charles W. Dean Bridge (sometimes referred to as the Great River Bridge) over the Mississippi River into Arkansas. Mississippi's portion of SIU 12 consists of the eastern end of the Dean Bridge; Arkansas' portion will continue from the Dean Bridge to U.S. 65 near McGehee, Arkansas. Environmental studies for this segment, including the Dean Bridge have been completed and the FHWA issued a Record of Decision approving the route through SIU 12 in 2004. SIU-12 and the Dean Bridge are considered "shovel ready," pending the availability of funding and completion of right-of-way acquisition for the Mississippi approach to the bridge.
|Gap in route|
|Tunica||||0.00||0.00||MS 713 south / Old MS 304||Temporary southern terminus; ends about a mile north of MS 713's junction with MS 304 Scenic|
|DeSoto||||3.73||6.00||—||MS 713 ends / MS 304 west||South end of MS 304 overlap; north end of MS 713 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Hernando||11.44||18.41||—||Tulane Road||Formerly signed as Odom Road|
|14.46||23.27||—||I-55 south / I-269 north / MS 304 east – Jackson||North end of MS 304 overlap, south end of I-55 overlap; western terminus of I-269, exits 0A-B westbound; cloverleaf interchange.|
|15.89||25.57||284||Nesbit Road||Exit numbers follow I-55|
|Southaven||19.28||31.03||287||Church Road –Southaven, Horn Lake|
|21.32||34.31||289||MS 302 (Goodman Road) – Southaven, Horn Lake, Olive Branch|
|I-55 / I-69 north – Memphis||Continuation into Tennessee|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Interstate 69 in Mississippi.|
- Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Public Roads Selected Statistics Extent, Travel, and Designation, accessed August 2007. The road is actually 23.39 miles; MDOT counts 14.46 miles because it excludes the portion co-signed with Interstate 55.
- Capka, J. Richard (FHWA Administrator), Letter to Harry Lee James[permanent dead link] (MDOT) dated January 18, 2008, retrieved May 28, 2008.
- Lawrence, Christopher N. Photograph taken May 27, 2008.
- "WMC-TV: News, Weather, Traffic, Radar, and Sports for Memphis, TN; WMCTV.com | First Mississippi stretch of I-69 opens to the public". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
- "GoMDOT.com". GoMDOT.com. September 15, 2011. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
- I-69 Project Page, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Accessed November 1, 2010 Archived December 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine