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Tennessee DOT, University of Memphis Partner to Support River Communities

MEMPHIS, TN — The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the University of Memphis (UofM) have partnered to establish the Tennessee Delta Alliance, a new organization supporting the communities of Lake, Dyer, Lauderdale, Tipton, and Shelby Counties. The organization will be housed in the university’s Center for Regional Economic Enrichment and will comprise a Director and an Advisory Council of residents from the five counties.

“This partnership is TDOT’s latest investment in West Tennessee and one which will benefit generations to come,” said TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley. “We’re proud to support economic and tourism development along the Great River Road while helping keep Tennessee beautiful.”

The Tennessee Delta Alliance will serve as a dual-purposed organization. Its mission is to manage the roadway and improve the corridor of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, and to establish a water-based Keep America Beautiful affiliate for the communities adjacent to the corridor. The group will beautify, promote, and enhance the area along the Great River Road.

The Great River Road is a National Scenic Byway that runs both sides of the Mississippi River through 10 states. In 2021, Tennessee’s portion of the route earned the All-American Road designation from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation for its historic and cultural intrinsic qualities. The Great River Road is one of three National Scenic Byways in Tennessee to be designated as an All-American Road, and one of 35 to earn the rare designation nationally.

“This collaboration, as well as adding a new Keep America Beautiful affiliate, will provide for a better visitor experience and further connect these communities to the river,” said Keep Tennessee Beautiful Executive Director Missy Marshall.

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The Great River Road dates to the 1950s. In 1958, the Tennessee General Assembly asked the U.S. Department of Commerce for a study that helped to create the National Scenic Byway. In 1965, Governor Clement’s Executive Order 23 established a commission to oversee the Great River Road. The next course of action includes hiring a permanent Director and appointing Advisory Council members from the five counties.

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