State Route 194 Extension / Exit 39

(Blue Oval City)

Overview

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), proposes to construct a new interchange along Interstate 40 (I-40), roadway extension improvements to State Route (SR) 194, and a new connector road (Proposed SR-468) between existing SR-222 and the proposed SR-194 extension to serve the imminent industrial development at the Ford Motor Company Campus, located at the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County, Tennessee.  The proposed improvements total approximately 11.6 miles in length. 

The proposed interchange along I-40 is in northern Fayette County, immediately south of the Haywood and Tipton County lines. The location is situated approximately four miles east of Exit 35 (SR-59) and three miles west of Exit 42 (SR-222). 

In addition, the proposed project also includes a roadway extension of SR-194 northward, from its current terminus at SR-59 in Fayette County to a new terminus at SR-1 (US-70) in Tipton County.

Because the proposed project involves a new connection to an interstate facility, the project is subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  TDOT and FHWA are preparing an Environmental Assessment in accordance with NEPA to identify and evaluate the environmental effects of the proposed project and to identify measures to minimize harm.

Background

The 4,100-acre Memphis Regional Megasite was developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 2006 and was ultimately purchased by the State of Tennessee in 2009.  The Memphis Regional Megasite is one of the largest available Megasite properties in the southeast[1].  Currently, one existing interstate interchange serves the Memphis Regional Megasite, I-40 at SR-222 (Exit 42).  In addition, north-south connectivity from the existing roadway network is limited in this portion of northwest Fayette County with SR-222 being the only north-south route with a direct connection in and around the Memphis Regional Megasite. 

On September 27, 2021, Governor Bill Lee announced that the Ford Motor Company had selected the Memphis Regional Megasite for a vehicle and battery manufacturing campus.  The Ford Motor Company Campus is expected to occupy approximately 3,600 acres of the total Memphis Regional Megasite acreage.  In total, approximately 5,800 jobs are anticipated to be created at the Ford Motor Company Campus, which is anticipated to increase travel demand for commuter traffic once site operations are underway.  In addition, the amount of freight traffic both entering and exiting the Memphis Regional Megasite is anticipated to increase when the Memphis Regional Megasite is fully developed and operational.

While the Ford Motor Company Campus would be entirely confined to the existing Memphis Regional Megasite, additional industrial, commercial, or residential development is anticipated to be developed at or near the Memphis Regional Megasite in the future. This projected increase in both commuter and freight traffic is anticipated to further increase the travel demand within the existing roadway network.

[1] Memphis Regional Megasite Site Assessment Study, Gresham Smith, 2021.

Purpose and Need

The needs for the proposed Interstate 40/State Route 194 (Project Blue Oval) have been identified as the following:
·       Support Ongoing Development in the Region
·       Existing Operational Deficiencies
·       Insufficient Connectivity to the Memphis Regional Megasite and the Surrounding Area

The purpose of the proposed Interstate 40/State Route 194 (Project Blue Oval) has been identified as the following:
·       Accommodate Ongoing Development in the Region
·       Improve Traffic Operational Efficiency
·       Improved Connections to the Memphis Regional Megasite and the Surrounding Area

Alternatives Under Consideration

As part of the Interstate 40/State Route 194 (Project Blue Oval), TDOT is currently evaluating the No-Build Alternative and one Build Alternative. 

·       No-Build Alternative - The No-Build Alternative is required by federal regulations to be evaluated in the NEPA document. The No-Build Alternative provides a baseline for comparing against the other project alternative(s). The No-Build Alternative would leave the project area surrounding the Memphis Regional Megasite as it currently exists, other than routine maintenance of the existing roadway system as needed.

·       Build Alternative - The Build Alternative includes the construction of a new interchange along I-40, roadway extension improvements to SR-194, and a new connector road (Proposed SR-468) between existing SR-222 and the proposed SR-194 extension. The proposed interchange is located along I-40 in northern Fayette County, immediately south of the Haywood and Tipton County lines. The location is situated approximately four miles east of Exit 35 (SR-59) and three miles west of Exit 42 (SR-222). In addition, the proposed project also includes a roadway extension of SR-194 northward, from its current terminus at SR-59 in Fayette County to a new terminus at SR-1 (US-70) in Tipton County, and a new connector road (Proposed SR-468) between existing SR-222 and the proposed SR-194 extension.

In order to provide better clarity, the Build Alternative has been broken down into six design elements, which are outlined in further detail below and are shown graphically on the Project Location Map.

1.       Design Element #1: Proposed extension of SR-194 from the intersection with SR-59 and existing SR-194 in Fayette County to the proposed SR-194/I-40 Interchange (Exit 39)

2.       Design Element #2: Proposed SR-194/I-40 Interchange (Exit 39)

3.       Design Element #3: Proposed SR-194 extension between the proposed SR-194/I-40 Interchange (Exit 39) and the proposed SR-194/Blue Oval City Connector (Proposed SR-468) Interchange

4.       Design Element #4: SR-194/Blue Oval City Connector (Proposed SR-468) Interchange

5.       Design Element #5: Proposed Blue Oval City Connector (Proposed SR-468) between SR-194/Blue Oval City Connector (Proposed SR-468) Interchange and existing SR-222

6.       Design Element #6: Proposed SR-194 extension between the SR-194/Blue Oval City Connector Interchange and existing SR-1 (US-70)

Preliminary Environmental Impacts

TDOT is currently evaluating the environmental impacts related to the Build Alternative.  The No-Build Alternative will also be carried forward, primarily as a baseline against which to compare the Build Alternative.

In order to complete the environmental technical studies for the proposed project, an Environmental Technical Study Area (ETSA) was developed by TDOT.  An ETSA is developed for a project in order to document natural, cultural, and community resources within a broader study area than the immediate project footprint. That way, if the Build Alternative’s alignment shifts during the development of the proposed project, TDOT staff are aware of any resources that are present in that larger study area.

The ETSA for the project is based on conceptual level design plans and extends beyond the immediate footprint of the proposed improvements described under the Build Alternative.   The ETSA boundaries for the proposed project encompass an area that is generally 150-500 feet on either side of the proposed centerline. The ETSA for the Build Alternative encompasses approximately 1,504 acres.

Several environmental technical studies are still under development, the results of which will be formally published in the Environmental Assessment that TDOT is currently preparing.  The public will be asked to provide comments on the anticipated environmental impacts during the Public Hearing which is tentatively scheduled for Quarter 4 of 2022 or early Quarter 1 of 2023.

UPDATED Project Location Map 5 26 2022
UPDATED Design May 5 26 2022

Right of Way Acquisition and Relocation Process

A relocation study is being prepared as part of the Environmental Assessment to estimate the number of persons who may be displaced by the project. This data will be correlated with an inventory of available rental and sales housing locations. This information will be included as part of the approved Environmental Assessment expected to be released for public review in Quarter 4 of 2022.

If you have a question regarding the TDOT Right of Way Acquisition or Relocation Process, please call 1(800) 558-6564 and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number, and question/comment. Questions will be responded to within 7 business days by a TDOT representative.  For more information about the TDOT Right of Way Acquisition and Relocation processes, see the TDOT Right of Way webpage.