VOL. 113 | NO. 70 | Thursday, April 8, 1999
By LAURIE JOHNSON
Depot wants increased priority on I-240/Airways interchange
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
Several amendments to the roadway program of the citys Long Range Transportation Plan will be considered today by the Memphis/Shelby County Office of Planning and Developments engineering and technical committee.
The committee, which meets at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, will consider making changes to existing roadway construction and improvement plans for Reese Road, Fite Road and the Interstate 240 interchange at Airways Boulevard.
Defense Depot redevelopers would like to see improvements to the I-240/Airways interchange increased in priority status in the road plan, said Eugene S. Bryan, the OPDs Metropolitan Planning Organization coordinator.
Located less than a mile away, the interchange is the major feeder into the Depot, which is being redeveloped into commercial distribution warehouses.
"The Defense Depot has estimated that its redevelopment into a distribution center will make a significant impact on truck traffic at that interchange," Bryan said.
"Even though the Army used it for warehouse space, they didnt produce the kind of truck traffic that a general commercial warehouse does."
Redevelopers are requesting that the interchanges priority status on the road plan be raised from "none" to "one," Bryan said.
Increasing its status will secure federal funding for roadway studies to determine the best way to redevelop the interchange, Bryan said.
Improvement options include adding additional right-of-way or keeping the existing right-of-way and reconfiguring the ramps, he said.
At todays meeting, the engineering and technical committee also will consider the request of a property developer to eliminate construction of a half-mile portion of Reese Road from the citys major road plan.
The plan currently calls for continuing the Elmore Road/Reese Road corridor, which extends from Sycamore View Road to Appling Road.
The developers request calls for extending a portion of Reese Road to Summer Avenue, then picking it up again at Whitten Road.
While the committee has completed its analysis of the request, Bryan said it could not reveal the results of the analysis before it was presented to Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout.
The committee may delay discussions regarding changes to Fite Road until later this summer.
"The county has proposed that its already on the major road plan," he said. "They are looking at possibly realigning it outside of our currently designated corridor, but we have not had the time to discuss that with all the property owners involved."
Adopted by the MPO in January, the major road element of the citys Long Range Transportation Plan identifies the major roads in Shelby County and Memphis that need to be improved or built during the next 20 years to handle the areas projected traffic volume.
The plan will provide for about $2.5 billion for new construction, roadway widening and interstate maintenance and development projects during the next 20 years.
The plan will receive about a $500,000 a year in funding from federal, state and local sources.
The OPD expects final federal approval of the citys Long Range Transportation Plan in June.
Additional elements to the Long Range Transportation Plan include plans for bicycle and pedestrian routes; intersection and traffic signal improvements; traffic demand management, which includes the citys RideShare program; advancements in transportation system technology; and improvements to the citys transit system, including the Memphis Area Transit Authority and the proposed light rail system.