Some interesting developments could be in store for Lakeland drivers at a frequently accident-prone stretch of I-40. Initial plans are underway to transform the Highway 64 and I-40 interchange into a “diverging diamond” interchange. The innovative design will elevate Highway 64 above I-40 with a bridge, aiming to enhance safety and efficiency. The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is actively involved in planning but are still waiting on funding before moving forward.
That interchange is important not only for Lakeland, but also for Memphis according to Lakeland Vice Mayor Wesley Wright. A major new development called The Legacy at Colonial is taking shape already on the Memphis side of the interchange and traffic will only increase according to officials. The development, a sprawling 170-acre mixed-used project is situated on the former site of the north course of the Colonial Country Club. The development will feature a residential neighborhood boasting 541 single-family lots and 302 senior living units. In Bartlett, to the west at Brunswick, there’s buzz about a potential Hy-Vee grocery store just north of 64 which will also increase traffic in the area. More about that possibility can be read here. Adding further to the need is the Blue Oval Ford Plant currently under construction in Haywood County, Tennessee, just 35 minutes from Lakeland. All of these ongoing and proposed projects emphasize the urgency of the interchange improvement, considering their proximity and impact on Highway 64 infrastructure.
According to plans, the TDOT project would encompass two crucial components. First, the widening of I-40 into the median from Germantown Rd to east of Canada Rd, and secondly, the reconstruction of the partial cloverleaf interchange at SR 15 (US 64 and Stage Rd) into a diverging diamond interchange.
While growth accommodation is important, safety is even more important according to Mr. Wright. “Just yesterday, there was a horrible wreck on I-40 East, which was just another reminder of the dangerous nature of the intersection between these two heavily traveled thoroughfares in northeast Shelby County. Hopefully TDOT will respond soon with construction,” he said.
Once started the construction timeline for the massive project will spans years, not months, says officials close to the project.