The First Section of Tennessee’s Share of the Interstate Highway System is Officially Opened

On November 15, 1958, a dedication ceremony was held for a 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometer) portion of Interstate 65 (I-65) in the south-central region of Tennessee. This segment of I-65 was the first part of the Interstate Highway System in Tennessee to be completed. The Tennessee State Department of Highways and Public Works (the predecessor of the present-day Tennessee Department of Transportation) had contracted with the Nashville-based firm McDowell & McDowell to build that stretch of highway.

The November 15 ceremony specifically took place at a figure-eight interchange in the city of Ardmore. W.M. Leech, the state highways and public works commissioner, cut a ribbon to officially open that completed section of I-65 to traffic. “This is a very important day,” Leech said as he performed that duty. Those also on hand for the ceremony included numerous other state officials as well as representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads.

More than six decades later, Tennessee’s share of I-65 is 121.7 miles (195.9 kilometers) altogether. All 16 of the Interstate routes in the Volunteer State encompass a total of 1,073 miles (1,727 kilometers).

Photo Credit: formulaone (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license at

For more information on Interstate 65 in Tennessee, please check out

Additional information on Tennessee’s transportation history is available at

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