Tennessee town hoping new interstate will bring new business


Reporter - Jason Hibbs

UNION CITY, TN - Maybe you've seen the signs that say "Future I-69 Corridor," but that is probably all you've seen of the interstate in Northwest Tennessee.

Lots of communities and businesses are banking on an interstate that's far from finished. One town is hoping to be transformed by the interstate, even after this long period of construction is over.

People in Union City, Tennessee are hoping that I-69 provides an economic shot in the arm. The superhighway connecting the Canadian border to the Mexican border that will run right through Northwest Tennessee.

New construction starts off of Highway 51 in Troy and runs twenty miles until it connects to Highway 45 near the state line. The Obion County portion will cost approximately 200-million dollars. The state will pay for 20 percent and the feds will pick up the rest.

No one is certain when the Interstate will be ready for drivers.

Officials from the Discovery Park of America say they had hoped the Interstate would have be finished by now, including CEO Jim Rippy.

"We thought they'd have it done by the time we opened, but that didn't happen," said Rippy. He said they chose the location for the park because of the interstate access.

But they aren't the only place that is hoping to profit off of the interstate. Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire says the nearby industrial park has plenty of room to grow.

"It will attract new businesses, it will attract new industry, it's just a plus for any city that has an interstate," McGuire said.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation estimates it could be ten years before the highway is completed because the road isn't being built all at once.

"We try to do it in phases. It's a little more affordable when we do it in phases," TDOT spokesperson Nichole Lawrence said. TDOT also said that the state has spent about 68-million on the Obion County part of I-69 so far.