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Interstate 275 (Tennessee)

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Interstate 275 marker

Interstate 275

I-275 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-75
Maintained by TDOT
Length2.98 mi[1] (4.80 km)
ExistedJune 22, 1980[2]–present
History1957-1980 (as a part of I-75)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-40 in Knoxville
North end I-75 / I-640 / US 25W in Knoxville
CountryUnited States
Highway system
SR 274 SR 275

Interstate 275 (I-275) is an Interstate Highway in Tennessee that serves Knoxville by connecting the downtown with I-75/I-640/US Route 25W (US 25W). Measuring 2.98 miles (4.80 km) in length,[1][a] it runs from a northern terminus at the junction with I-75/I-640/US 25W to a southern terminus at I-40. I-275 was formerly a section of I-75, which was rerouted onto I-640 in 1980 after a section of that route was completed.

Route description[edit]

I-275 nortbbound at the Central Street/Heiskell Avenue exit

I-275 begins at a complicated interchange with I-40 in Downtown Knoxville. US 441 southbound (Henley Street), State Route 62 (SR 62, Western Avenue), and 11th Street are also directly accessible from I-275 southbound at this interchange, and northbound I-275 is directly accessible from US 441 northbound and SR 62 here. About 0.6 miles (0.97 km) north of this point, I-275 has an interchange with Baxter Avenue and then Woodland Avenue about 0.35 miles (0.56 km) later. The route then curves sharply to the northwest and then sharply to the northeast about 0.4 miles (0.64 km) later and crosses a railroad before reaching an interchange with Heiskell Avenue about 0.6 miles (0.97 km) later. Passing through Sharp's Gap, a low point in Sharp's Ridge, I-275 reaches its northern terminus with I-75, I-640, and US 25W about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) later. At this interchange, the route crosses I-640, and continues north as I-75. US 25W northbound is accessible from a flyover ramp that splits off from I-275 northbound about 0.1 miles (0.16 km) south of I-640.[3]


The freeway that is now I-275 was first planned in the 1940s as part of a series of freeways for the city of Knoxville and was known initially as the North–South Expressway. The route was integrated into the Interstate System as part of I-75, and the southern terminus was the end of a concurrency with I-40 and I-75. Work on most of the route began in March 1958, and the first section, located between I-40 and Baxter Avenue, opened on October 28, 1960, after several delays.[4][5] The final section, located between Oldham Avenue and Heiskell Avenue, opened on January 24, 1962.[6][7] A dedication ceremony for this section took place on February 9, 1962.[8][9]

On December 6, 1979, TDOT submitted an application to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), requesting relocation of I-75 onto the then-underconstruction western leg of I-640 and renumbering of the route between I-40 and I-640/I-75 as I-275. The application cited the shorter distance and fewer number of interchanges that through traffic on I-75 would be required to traverse.[10] The change was also intended to divert through traffic away from traffic generated by the 1982 World's Fair.[11] AASHTO approved this redesignation on June 22, 1980.[2] Signs for I-275 were posted on December 17, 1980,[12] and the western leg of I-640 was opened to traffic six days later.[13][14]

Between December 1, 2006, and January 26, 2008, the existing cloverleaf exits (1A–B, 1C–D, 2A–B) were replaced with traditional diamond interchanges to add a continuous third lane in each direction. This was done to handle increased traffic flow for the shutdown of I-40 in Downtown Knoxville that took place on May 1, 2008.[15] I-275 was the designated detour route for I-75 northbound traffic during the I-40 shutdown to avoid traffic congestion at the I-75/I-640/I-275/US 25W junction as the ramp for I-75 northbound from I-640 eastbound is only one lane.[16]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Knoxville, Knox County.


I-40 west to I-75 south – Nashville, Chattanooga
Southbound beyond the 275/40 interchange exit ramps are for Henley St. (US 441) & Western Ave./Summit Hill Dr. (TN 62); I-40 exit 387A

I-40 east / US 441 south – Asheville
Continues as Henley St. (US 441) southbound beyond this exit and the following exit to TN 62 (Western Ave./Summit Hill Dr.); I-40 exit 388 eastbound; southern terminus
0.681.091ABaxter AvenueFormerly exits 1A-B
1.041.671BWest Woodland Avenue, West Oldham AvenueFormerly exits 1C-D
2.233.592Central Street, Heiskell AvenueFormerly exits 2A-B
I-75 south / I-640 / US 25W – Clinton, Asheville
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
I-75 north – Lexington
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; northern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ While the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) considers the length of I-275 to be 2.98 miles (4.80 km), the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) posts the final milepost at mile 3.00.


  1. ^ a b Price, Jeff (May 6, 2019). "Table 2: Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of December 31, 2018". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (June 22, 1980). "Route Numbering Committee Agenda Showing Action Taken by the Executive Committee" (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 2. Retrieved January 23, 2024 – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ Long Range Planning Division Office of Data Visualization (2018). Knox County (PDF) (Map). Tennessee Department of Transportation.
  4. ^ "First X way Link To Open Friday". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. October 26, 1960. p. 32. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "X-way Link Open". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. October 29, 1960. p. 6. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "North X-way Now Open to City Limits". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. January 24, 1962. p. 1. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "Traffic Starts on New Viaduct". The Knoxville Journal. January 25, 1962. p. 3. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "North Expressway Open To Traffic". The Knoxville Journal. February 10, 1962. p. 11. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "N. X-way Dedicated in Brief Ceremony". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. February 10, 1962. p. 9. Retrieved November 28, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Sansom, William B. (December 6, 1979). "An Application from the State Highway or Transportation Department of Tennessee for the Relocation of a U.S. (I) and the establishment of a U.S. (I) route". VisualVault. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  11. ^ "Governor To Open West Leg of I-640/75". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. Knoxville, Tennessee. December 21, 1980. p. B-10. Retrieved June 21, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Patrick, Michael (December 18, 1980). "Ramp Festival, Interstate Style (photo)". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. p. A-1. Retrieved January 24, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Alexander Opens Stretch of Interstate Allowing Downtown Knoxville Bypass". The Tennessean. Nashville. Associated Press. December 24, 1980. p. 3. Retrieved September 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Brewer, Carson (December 23, 1980). "Governor Lifts Curse on Junction; Opens I-640". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. p. A3. Retrieved November 19, 2021 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ I-275/I-640 Improvements (TDOT)
  16. ^ Jacobs, Don (November 28, 2006). "Work begins today on $20M update for Interstate 275". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. p. 7B.

External links[edit]

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