Thursday, January 25, 2007
Final Environmental Impact Statement approved for I-69 from Hernando to Millington, Tenn.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the “Systems Approach” Alternative Alignment for Interstate 69, Section 9.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration in cooperation with the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization are proposing to construct a segment of Interstate 69, (Segment of Independent Utility 9) that extends from Hernando to Millington, Tenn.
This project is part of a larger I-69 project initiated by the United States Congress that extends from Canada to Mexico.
The location studies for this segment of I-69 (SIU 9) began in December 2000 and were completed in November 2006. This study was conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 [42 U.S.C. 4332(2)].
During the course of this study, multiple alternative alignments were investigated. Eight early public involvement meetings, five Corridor Public Hearings and several other public meetings were conducted in order to keep the public informed of the project progress. In addition, seven previous newsletters were sent citizens who attended meetings and hearings.
The early phases of project development for SIU 9 considered two routes. Each had a common beginning point at the Interstate 55 Interchange in Hernando, and a common ending point at the intersection of U.S. Highway 51 and State Route 385 in Millington, Tenn. One corridor passed through Memphis along existing Interstates 55, 240, and 40 and the other bypassed Memphis to the south and east.
As the study progressed, and after evaluating traffic patterns and growth patterns in the surrounding area, it became apparent that neither a single route through Memphis, nor a single route bypassing Memphis to the south and east would accommodate projected traffic and meet the purpose and need for this segment of Interstate 69. As a result, a Systems Approach Alternative was developed.
The Systems Approach Alternative involves constructing two routes: one through Memphis and a bypass route to the east. Several alignments were studied for each route. As a result of those studies and comments from State and Federal agencies and the public, the location for SIU 9 was selected.
SYSTEM APPROACH (SELECTED ALTERNATIVE)
The primary route for proposed I-69 will begin at the I-55/MS 304 Interchange, recently constructed in Hernando, and follow existing Interstates I-55, I-240 and I-40 through central Memphis. The alignment will then follow Tennessee State Route 300 (101) to its junction with U.S. 51. At this point, it will follow Alternative Alignment A-1 west of U.S. 51 and extend north approximately 15.2 miles on new location. It will interchange with SR 385 in Millington. The I-69 System Approach Alternative also includes an outer loop, proposed to be designated as I-269.
It also begins at the I-55/MS 304 Interchange in Hernando and extends east approximately 28.6 miles on new location. It will follow Alternative Alignment B-1 and connect with State Route 385 south of Collierville. It will then follow the approved route for State Route 385 (currently in the development and construction phases) from Collierville to I-40 at Arlington, and will then follow existing State Route 385 into Millington. It will interchange with I-69 at the existing U.S. 51/SR 385 Interchange (see attached map).
The availability of the approved FEIS has been published in the Federal Register. After a 30-day review period, FHWA will publish a “Record of Decision” (ROD) in the Federal Register that will signify location approval of this segment of I-69. The target date for publication of the ROD is early 2007. Advancing this segment of I-69 beyond the location study is dependent upon future federal funding. At the present time, there is no funding available for construction of the project.
Copies of the FEIS are available for viewing at the libraries listed: Ruth B. French Library, P.O. Box 325, 2406 Church Street, Byhalia 38611, (662) 838-4024; Marshall County Library, 109 East Gholson Avenue, Holly Springs 38635, (662) 252-3823; Potts Camp Library, 20 South Center Street, Potts Camp 38659,(662) 333-7068. For more information, please visit the Tennessee Department of Transportation web site at www.tennessee.gov/tdot and click on “Project Information.”
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