Over the past several years, TDOT has conducted broad studies to determine if a new Mississippi River bridge would be feasible in the metropolitan Memphis area. These studies collected preliminary data on the existing highway transportation system, natural environment and socio-economic characteristics of the area.
Highway corridors and several bridge locations were screened based on their potential environmental and community impacts, engineering issues and estimated cost. These studies determined that a new bridge is feasible and recommended how to move forward to the next level of detail.
Project Area Map (Click to enlarge)
Moving Forward – Thinking Ahead
The Southern Gateway project team will take a rigorous and detailed look at how to improve cross-river travel for multiple modes of transportation in and around Memphis, including a detailed analysis of freight movement by highway and railroad. The multi-year environmental and planning process will:
- collect data and information on existing transportation modes (bicycle/pedestrian, highway, rail, transit) and environmental conditions (wetlands, endangered species, etc.);
- consider future transportation needs and conditions;
- develop alternative approaches for improving cross-river travel;
- evaluate reasonable alternatives according to engineering, environmental, social and economic factors;
- consider community needs and public input;
- identify a preferred alternative for improving cross-river travel; and
- study construction funding options including tolling and private partnerships.
These efforts will be presented in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – a document that will outline the anticipated costs, benefits and impacts of the improvement alternatives that were considered. An environmental study is required for projects that use federal funding or require federal permits. It will serve as the basis for future design and construction efforts, and ensure compliance with environmental laws.