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TDOT Announces the Southern Gateway Project

MEMPHIS -- The Tennessee Department of Transportation is beginning the initial planning and environmental studies for the Southern Gateway project to study a possible future connection across the Mississippi River in the Memphis area. The Southern Gateway project purpose is to improve cross-river travel for both people and freight and to improve transportation connections through Memphis to the tri-state region and the nation. The Southern Gateway is a project with national significance.

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 of the region increases, freight and passenger traffic volumes are expected to grow, adding to increased congestion in the area and demand on the existing infrastructure.

The project website is now available (, and an online public meeting has been posted. The meeting consists of a PowerPoint presentation that provides an introduction to the project and a description of the project goals and timeline. TDOT asks the public to view the online meeting and participate in the online survey; both can be accessed through the main project webpage. Public participation will be an important part of the process for the Southern Gateway. Public meetings, workshops, small group meetings, and other forms of public outreach will take place over the course of the project.

The Southern Gateway project will be developed through a partnership that includes TDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Mississippi Department of Transportation, and Memphis and West Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organizations. The planning and environmental studies will follow the federal National Environmental Policy Act procedures, considering cross-river transportation needs for various modes of travel in the Memphis area (highway, freight railroad, bicycle/pedestrian, and passenger rail). Project costs, benefits, and potential impacts of various alternatives will be analyzed during the planning process. Currently, no funding has been allocated for design, right-of-way, or construction of this project.

Published January 13, 2011

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