Press release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation; June 11, 2012:
MEMPHIS, TENN – The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will close the I-55 Welcome Center in Shelby County located at mile marker 3 near the Mississippi State line. The center is being closed in preparation for demolition, ground work, and construction of a new state of the art Welcome Center. TDOT will be constructing the state’s first Net Zero energy building. Net Zero energy buildings are designed to produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a single calendar year.
The I-55 Welcome Center is one of the oldest in the state. It was built in the 1960’s when Interstate 55 was constructed through Memphis. The Welcome Center employees are being transferred to the I-40 at Riverside Welcome Center during construction.
The sculpture or “pyradoptics” which was built and placed at the I-55 Welcome Center in 1987 will not be demolished. The sculpture, a scale model of the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt created by Tom Wuchina, will remain at the Welcome Center.
The new Net Zero Shelby County Welcome Center on I-55 is expected to open by the end of 2013.
The Department of Transportation maintains 19 Rest Areas and 14 Welcome Centers across the state. These facilities provide a comfort stop for the weary motorist, as well as tourist information.
For motorists looking for an alternate location to stop, there are options. Please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/maintenance/restareas.htm for a list of Welcome Centers and Rest Areas throughout Tennessee.
For more information on TDOT construction project activity visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information or can follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel information or www.twitter.com/Nashville511 for traffic information in the Nashville area. Motorists are reminded to use all motorist information tools responsibly. Drivers should refrain from texting, tweeting or using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle. TDOT advises drivers to “Know before you go!” by checking traffic conditions before leaving for their destination.