DECEMBER 5, 2006 - Posted at 3:27 p.m. CST
HERNANDO, MS - Transportation officials in Mississippi expect federal highway officials to give a green light for design work on I-69 between Hernando (MS) and Collierville (TN).
The design work would begin next spring on the 24-mile link, but it would take several years of design, buying right-of-way and construction before the road would be open.
The first Mississippi section of the new interstate opened in October. The 20-mile stretch runs between Tunica County and Hernando, where it connects with I-55.
Plans call for I-69 to turn north at Hernando, following I-55 and Interstate-240 through Memphis and running west of U.S. 51 until it reaches Tennessee 385 in Millington.
I-269, the interstate's suburban loop around Memphis, will go east from Hernando to U.S. 78 and through Marshall County before hooking up with Tennessee 385, east of Collierville.
A north-south leg of Tennessee 385 on the Shelby-Fayette county line would complete the loop from Hernando to Millington. The entire loop might not be finished for a decade.
Eventually, I-69 will extend from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.