The Memphis area is a vital gateway for regional and national commerce. The area is home to five Class I railroads, the world’s busiest cargo airport, the nation’s fourth largest inland port and interstate routes that carry some of the highest truck volumes in the nation. As the population grows and traffic congestion builds, our aging bridges and roadways are showing strain.

The economic vitality of Memphis and the surrounding area is dependent, in part, on the safe and efficient flow of passenger traffic and freight. That is why state and local transportation officials are planning now for future connections across the Mississippi River.

What is the Southern Gateway?

The Southern Gateway is more than a bridge. The term refers to an overall plan for improving cross-river travel for people and freight, and for better connections through Memphis to the tri-state region (TN, AR and MS) and the nation at large.

The plan is being developed through a collaborative effort of multiple agencies, including

  • Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)
  • Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD)
  • Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT)
  • Memphis and West Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs)
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

The Southern Gateway project will consider how to address cross-river transportation needs for various modes of transportation (highway, freight railroad, passenger railroad, bicycle/pedestrian) in the Memphis metropolitan area now and in the future. The plan will analyze the costs, benefits and impacts of various transportation improvement options. It will also outline how improvements could be implemented in a way that is sensitive to the environment and the needs of local communities.

There are no public meetings currently scheduled.
Purpose and Need and Study Area Package Available
December 22, 2011

The final document for the Purpose and Need and Study Area Package (Concurrence Point 1) has been completed and is available in the project library here. (27.3 MB PDF File)


Notice of Public Meetings
March 9, 2011

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), in cooperation with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) and the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization will conduct a series of public meetings in late March and early April 2011 to discuss the Southern Gateway transportation project.


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