Improve Act bill gives $733M to Shelby County for road improvements

Improve Act bill gives $733M to Shelby County for road improvements

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - The State of Tennessee is expected to spend $733 million over the next 15 years to improve Shelby County roads.

People who drive on Lamar Avenue on the south side of Memphis know the road is in pretty bad shape and traffic can back up easily. However, that may be changing in the future.

"They need to do something to it quickly," driver Sean Gibson said.

Gibson is one of many Shelby County drivers who is not too fond of Lamar Avenue in its current condition. But, here is some good news:

"Lamar is among the top priority projects that will be started right away," Kasey Anderson, Transportation Coalition of Tennessee, said.

Widening Lamar Avenue is on the road improvement list. That list is a big one, full of Shelby County Road improvements that will be paid for with state funds.

Governor Bill Haslam and lawmakers signed the Improve Act, which cuts taxes on groceries and raises gas and diesel taxes to fund projects across the state.

That means those who use the roads will pay for them.

"We are really a mobile state. There are a lot of people in and out of our state that don't necessarily live here," Anderson said. "This is something that doesn't put the whole of our roads on Tennesseans."

Other projects on the list include the following:

  • Austin Peay Highway will continue its expansion to four lanes from 385 near Rosemark to the Tipton County Line.
  • I-40 improvements are planned from Germantown Road to Canada Road
  • Lamar Avenue will get wider from the I-240 interchange to the Mississippi state line.

The work on Lamar is expected to start by this fall.

That's good news for people like Sean Gibson.

"Be on time for work, less traffic, widen the lanes out be better for everybody," Gibson said.

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