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North Second Street Corridor Improvement Project - Memphis

From from I-40 to US 51 (approximately 4.5 miles) in Memphis, Shelby County, TN

The City of Memphis and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) held a public meeting on August 7, 2014 at the Bickford Community Center in Memphis. The purpose of the meeting was to update the public on the revised project concept and to solicit comments. Comments can be submitted until August 28th. The meeting materials, including the comment form, can be accessed here.

Project Description

The North Second Street corridor improvement project is a joint effort between the City of Memphis, TDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The purpose of the proposed project is to 1) provide a viable secondary access route into the Memphis Central Business District (CBD) from communities north of downtown, while improving traffic circulation within the study corridor; and 2) to stimulate economic development by providing infrastructure that will maintain the existing momentum for reinvestment and create new investment in residential and commercial ventures along the corridor. Overall, the proposed project is intended to serve as an improved gateway into downtown Memphis through the Uptown Community.

The FHWA approved a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in 2011 pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  That document is available for review in the project library.

Following the DEIS approval and consideration of comments received, a Build Alternative was selected as the Preferred Alternative. The Preferred Alternative begins at the I-40 and North Second Street interchange, extends north and crosses the Wolf River floodplain, ending at the U.S. 51/SR-3 intersection.  This is the same corridor alignment as presented for the DEIS Build Alternative.  Improvements actually begin at Jackson Avenue just north of I-40 with only lane transitions as necessary between I-40 and Jackson Avenue.

The primary difference between the Preferred Alternative that will be carried forward in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the DEIS Build Alternative, is that the Preferred Alternative maintains North Second and North Third Streets between Jackson Avenue and Chelsea Avenue as two-way streets, as opposed to a one-way pair. South of Chelsea Avenue, the Preferred Alternative also retains on-street parking for North Second and North Third streets, another difference from the DEIS Build Alternative.  The two-way streets will merge and connect to the proposed four-lane parkway north of Chelsea Avenue via a proposed roundabout at Henry Avenue.  North of T.M. Henderson Avenue, there is no difference between the Preferred Alternative and the DEIS Build Alternative.

The Preferred Alternative crosses the Wolf River and involves constructing a new two-lane bridge for southbound traffic parallel to the existing two-lane bridge, which will be retained for northbound traffic. The proposed alignment extends north on new location across the Wolf River floodplain and ties into the existing Whitney Avenue just east of the old International Harvester Building.

Improvements for the Preferred Alternative include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. A roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of North Second Street, North Third Street and Henry Avenue. A four-lane roadway will be constructed from Henry Avenue to the U.S. 51/SR-3 intersection in the Frayser community. The Preferred Alternative reduces the number of travel lanes along North Third Street in the urbanized area of the study corridor south of the proposed roundabout. This will allow improvements to provide a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly urban neighborhood environment.

Seven different roadway cross-sections are being proposed for this project in order to meet the Purpose and Need of the project and to accommodate new development and on-going redevelopment initiatives while minimizing the adverse social, economic and environmental impacts of the improvements.

Turn lanes will also be provided, where appropriate, for safety and operational benefits, and medians will be provided in many areas to control access for driveways and to improve safety.  Several side roads and intersections with North Second Street will be modified as part of the proposed improvements. These modifications will improve access control along North Second Street and improve safety at the intersections. In order to control access in the vicinity of the proposed roundabout and at other locations, the following modifications are proposed:

  • Henry Avenue on the east side of North Second Street will no longer connect to North Second Street;
  • North Third Street will be closed between Henry Avenue and Bickford Avenue; 
  • Cul-de-sacs will be formed at the terminus of North Second Street at Hickory Avenue and Reno Avenue.  These two streets previously intersected with North Second Street; and
  • Close Leo Avenue and Fred Street across from Mud Island Road; access to properties along these short roads will be provided via Mahannah Avenue.


These are local roads that will not adversely impact access to properties or traffic operations by creating cul-de-sacs.  These roads are located between Chelsea Avenue and Cedar Avenue.

Because of the changes to the proposed project design as well as the time that has passed since the approval and circulation of the DEIS, a reevaluation was prepared in 2014.  The findings of the reevaluation concluded that there are no major changes to the project as compared to the findings presented in the DEIS.

Project General Location Map
Click on map for larger view - pdf