Interstate 55 or I -55 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Mississippi. It is the state’s main north-south route, although it serves only one major city, the capital Jackson. US 51 runs parallel to I-55. The terminus at Southaven is a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. The stretch in Mississippi is 467 kilometers long.
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I-55 at Jackson.
I-55 at Jackson.
I-55 at Ridgeland, just north of Jackson, off the Natchez Trace Parkway.
I-55 in Northern Mississippi
Interstate 55 in Louisiana crosses the Mississippi border at Osyka, and begins a 150-mile road to the state capital Jackson. The highway leads through forests, which are occasionally interrupted by open fields. Also in this state, US 51 runs parallel to I-55. At McComb, US 98 from Hattiesburg joins I-55 a few miles away, where US 98 continues west to Natchez. The I-55 has a fairly wide median strip, overgrown with trees. At Brookhaven you cross the US 84, which runs from Laurel in the east, to Natchez in the west. The landscape remains monotonous, with forests and fields. After about 150 kilometers you reach the capital Jackson, a city with 177,000 inhabitants, and 530,000 in the metropolitan area.
One crosses here first Interstate 20, which comes from Shreveport, Louisiana and Vicksburg. After this, both highways briefly double-numbered, then I-55 exits north, and I-20 continues east, to Meridian, and Birmingham, Alabama. The highway runs east of the center and has 2×3 lanes. This route has quite a few exits, and also has 2×4 lanes through the suburbs. On the north side of Jackson, Interstate 220 . joinsin, which forms the western perimeter of the city. The highway here has a number of kilometers of 2×4 lanes. After this one leaves the agglomeration and the road narrows to 2×2 lanes. One comes close to Barnett Reservoir, a large reservoir east of the highway.
North of Jackson, the area is less heavily wooded and has more open fields. One still encounters an exit fairly often, but there are no villages directly along the highway, they are all located on the parallel US 51. At Winona one crosses the US 82, a four-lane main road between Greenville and Columbus, and therefore a major east-west route in this part of Mississippi. After this, another densely wooded area begins. At Grenada you pass Grenada Lake, a reservoir. At Batesville one crosses US 278, a main road between Clarksville and Tupelo. There are 2 more reservoirs here. However, these reservoirs are not very deep due to the lack of height differences. At Coldwater you cross a side arm of the reservoir Arkabutla Lake. At Hernando, Interstate turns 69part of a future highway between Indianapolis and Texas. However, only small parts of this were built, including this part after Banks. This leads to Southaven, a suburb of Memphis, where Interstate 55 continues into Tennessee.
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Interstate 55 is built parallel to US 51 for its entire length, which previously handled through traffic from New Orleans to Memphis. The exact opening dates of I-55 are unknown, but the first sections opened in the late 1950s or 1960s, south and north of Jackson. During the 1960s, most of it opened up, first in northern Mississippi, later in the south. The last link opened about 1974 north of Jackson between Richland and Durant.
The dates below are indicative and based on historical maps.
|Exit 78||Exit 92||23 km||~1960|
|Exit 98||Exit 103||8 km||~1960|
|exit 8||Exit 20||19 km||~1962|
|Exit 72||Exit 78||10 km||~1962|
|Exit 243||Exit 291||77 km||~1962|
|Exit 103||Exit 119||26 km||~1964|
|Exit 227||Exit 243||26 km||~1964|
|Exit 211||Exit 227||26 km||~1965|
|exit 0||exit 8||13 km||~1967|
|exit 61||Exit 72||18 km||~1967|
|Exit 119||Exit 124||8 km||~1967|
|Exit 206||Exit 211||8 km||~1967|
|Exit 20||exit 61||66 km||~1968|
|Exit 174||Exit 206||51 km||~1968|
|Exit 92||Exit 98||10 km||~1970|
|Exit 124||Exit 144||32 km||~1973|
|Exit 156||Exit 174||29 km||~1973|
|Exit 144||Exit 156||19 km||~1974|
Near the border with Tennessee, I-55 has been widened in the southern suburbs of Memphis. The northernmost 4 kilometers was drastically widened from 2×2 to 2×5 lanes between 2004 and 2007.
North of Jackson, I-55 runs through Ridgeland, a fast-growing employment-rich suburb along I-55. In 2002-2003, a small section of 2.5 kilometers north of I-220 was widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes for this purpose. Around 2007, a 4-kilometre section was widened to 2×3 lanes to Madison, but this was further widened to 2×4 lanes with frontage roads shortly afterwards, which was formally opened on April 24, 2015.
South of Jackson, a seven-mile section of I-55 between Byram and I-20 was widened to 2×3 lanes between 2013 and 2018. The extra lanes opened on August 15, 2018.
17,000 vehicles drive daily on the Louisiana border, after which the intensities towards Jackson gradually increase from 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles per day, rising to 52,000 vehicles in southern Jackson. The dual-numbering I-20 counts 119,000 vehicles per day and 137,000 vehicles near downtown Jackson, Mississippi’s busiest stretch of road. Through the north of Jackson, traffic volumes are around 100,000 vehicles per day for a long time, north of Madison the volumes quickly drop to 50,000 vehicles and 15,000 to 20,000 vehicles on the long rural stretch through northern Mississippi. Only close to the Memphis region do the intensities rise again, to 34,000 vehicles at Hernando and 60,000 to 73,000 vehicles in the southern suburbs of Memphis.
|exit 0||exit 85||2×2|
|exit 85||Exit 104||2×3||Jackson|
|Exit 104||Exit 108||2×4||Jackson|
|Exit 108||Exit 289||2×2|
|Exit 289||Exit 291||2×5||South Avenue (Memphis)|