Officials to hear from community about long-awaited Lamar Avenue widening

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Major roadway changes are coming after millions of dollars were awarded to fund the widening of Lamar Avenue.

State, city and even federal leaders have been talking for years about needed changes to the roadway. Now the Tennessee Department of Transportation said they want to hear from the community, as they're holding a public meeting Thursday.

Tens of thousands of tractor-trailers, cars and trucks travel Lamar Avenue every day.

"Lamar is a major artery for our regional and national transportation system," said Bobby White, chief public policy officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber.

The corridor serves more than 96 million square feet of industrial space with more than 20 Fortune 500 companies.

Lamar links to major ports for exporting to Europe, South America and air freight hub.

"Well we're the third-largest trucking corridor in the nation, and the idea that with Lamar playing such a critical role, we just gotta keep in mind that we want to keep our business community happy," White said. "We wanna keep the trucks moving and the cars going where people are able to get to work."

Last year, more than $70 million was awarded to TDOT as part of the Improve Act to go toward upgrading Lamar. The overall change is a city, state and federal partnership. The three-part project for different parts of the major road is estimated to cost upwards of $250 million.

The design phase of nearly two miles near the Raines/Perkins interchange to Getwell is set to be discussed by TDOT officials Thursday.

A spokesperson with TDOT said they anticipate the right of way phase for this project will begin this fall.

TDOT will have a public input meeting at the Crown Plaza Memphis East from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday because they want to know what the community thinks about the Lamar Avenue widening project.

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