Memphis gets $71M federal grant to expand Lamar Avenue

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Driving down Lamar Avenue should get a little easier thanks to millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Transportation to fix the road and add lanes.

A 5.5 mile stretch of Lamar Avenue is expanding thanks in part to a new $71 million federal grant that was announced this week.

Crews will start this fall on the $291 million project that includes local, state, and now federal funds.

Anthony Giordano has lived and worked on Lamar Avenue for years. He said rush hour traffic on the two-lane portion of Lamar Avenue is awful every day.

"It's going to be better for these trucks and these drivers. It's going to make deliveries faster, people's commutes faster," he said.

Crews will begin expanding Lamar from the Mississippi state line to Shelby Drive in fall 2018. The next section--Shelby Drive to Raines Road--starts work fall 2020, and the final section to be expanded is between Raines Road and Getwell in 2021.

Trucks on Lamar service 20 Fortune 500 companies, like FedEx and Nike.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Tuesday that this expansion will boost the local economy.

"If you expand that, they can do more business at the rail yard, which means more jobs, and FedEx has said the same thing, that these businesses up and down Lamar are not operating at full capacity," he said.

The Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce said 1,500 permanent jobs will be created by the Lamar Avenue expansion and will make the road safer.

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