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State Route 186 (US 45 Bypass) Southern Extension

Madison County

Overview

The City of Jackson, in coordination with TDOT, proposes to extend State Route 186 and the US 45 Bypass approximately 6.78 miles, from State Route 1/US 70/Airways Boulevard on the west side of Jackson to State Route 5/US 45/South Highland Avenue on the south side of Jackson in Madison County. This project is known as the Southern Extension.

Purpose and Need

US 45 is a major arterial highway extending from Mobile, Alabama, to Michigan. It is the only major, north-south route through Jackson and serves as a travel corridor and freight route for vehicles travelling to and from Mississippi. It is also a primary commuter route for residents of Chester, Hardeman, and McNairy Counties. Additionally, US 45 is also the only major crossing of the South Fork of the Forked Deer River, connecting downtown Jackson with southern portions of the city.

The existing US 45 Bypass, constructed in the late 1960s, was intended to alleviate congestion along US 45 by routing traffic around the downtown Jackson area. The bypass connects US 45, south of downtown Jackson, to Interstate 40, which lies north of the project area. (The section of the bypass between I-40 and Airways Boulevard is also designated as SR 186.)

The purpose of the proposed Southern Extension of the US 45 Bypass is to address geometric, operational, and safety deficiencies along the route, including inadequate crossings of the South Fork of the Forked Deer River, which pose concerns for emergency responses. The proposed project will also improve system linkages and increase capacity to accommodate current and future traffic volumes.

Proposed Design

The existing US 45 Bypass is a four-lane roadway, divided by a grass median or concrete barrier, depending on location. The proposed design would reconstruct the bypass, partially on new alignment, providing a controlled-access, four-lane facility with a median barrier.

Map of Project (pdf)

The redesigned route begins on the west side of US 45, north of Edwards Drive and the Bonwood Industrial Park, and extends north to Airways Boulevard (US 70/SR 1), southwest of downtown Jackson.

A new interchange would provide access to the new alignment from existing US 45 (South Highland Avenue). The extension would also include ramps over the West Tennessee Railroad (WTNRR), connecting the bypass to existing US 45, and a connector to SR 18 in the vicinity of Raines Springs Road. Preliminary designs include two optional alignments for connecting to existing Airways Boulevard on the north end of the project (Options C and C-1).

Access to the US 45 Bypass will be limited to the following locations, from south to north.

  • US 45/South Highland Avenue (interchange with ramps to US 45)
  • Raines Springs Road (signalized intersection)
  • D Street (signalized intersection)
  • Boone Lane (non-signalized intersection)
  • Riverside Drive north of the North Fork of the Forked Deer River (non-signalized intersection)
  • Existing US 45 Bypass (signalized intersection)

Additionally, cul-de-sacs are proposed at Cane Creek Road and Bemis Cemetery Road.

Project History

An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Southern Extension of the US 45 Bypass was approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in May 2013. Following the EA approval, the project was put on hold, pending available funding. In 2017, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads, and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy (IMPROVE) Act, which allowed the Southern Extension project to move forward.

Due to the amount of time the project was put on hold, a reevaluation of the EA was required.  The reevaluation was approved by FHWA in July 2019. Currently, right-of-way activities are forecasted for 2021. (To view project documents, visit the Library section of this website. To view project status, visit the Timeline section of this website.)