South of Marion, Illinois to Chattanooga, Tennessee

Snapshot: Length: 312 miles | Length in MAFC: 131 miles | Intersecting Interstates: I-40, I-57, I-59, I-65, I-69, I-75

Interstate 24 is a significant east-west freight corridor stretching from just south of Marion, Illinois to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The route begins 10 miles south of Marion, Illinois as the I-24 corridor breaks from the north-south I-57 corridor. In addition to Illinois and Kentucky in the MAFC region, I-24 also traverses Georgia and Tennessee.

In Illinois, I-24 is mostly a rural, four-lane section that travels through the Shawnee National Forest. In Kentucky, I-24 runs from Paducah, southeasterly to the Kentucky border just north of Clarksville, Tennessee at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. From the Purchase Parkway east of Paducah, I-24 runs concurrently with I-69 for 17 miles and at Lake Barkley, I-24 heads southeasterly while I-69 continues northeasterly.

The I-24 corridor is considered an emerging corridor based on daily truck volumes. The I-24 corridor is an important connection for the central Midwest to the southeastern United States for manufacturing as well as distribution. It is also a significant connector to major freight corridors in the MAFC region with its proximity to I-57 in Missouri and external to the region as it provides connectivity to I-65, I-40, and I-75 in Tennessee.

For its entire length in the MAFC region, there are no parallel waterways to support alternative freight movement, though I-24 does cross the Mississippi River at the Illinois and Kentucky border. Rail service is available along the concurrent I-69/I-24 portion of the corridor but does not run parallel on other segments. There is very limited intermodal opportunities for I-24.

I-24 is on the Illinois designated truck route list,  and in Kentucky I-24 is on the National Truck Network and the Intermodal Freight Focus Network. I-24 in not tolled in Illinois or Kentucky. Importantly, I-24 serves Fort Campbell military installation at the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

This corridor connects the metro areas of Marion, Illinois, and Paducah, Kentucky, and on to Clarksville, Tennessee. Following the route south, I-24 serves the metro areas of Nashville and then skirts Chattanooga before heading into Georgia with I-75 towards Atlanta. I-24 is a core route connecting the southeastern United States to the Mid-America region.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas Economic Profile

MSA Population GDP (2011, in millions) Employment Freight-related Employment Metropolitan Planning Organizations
Clarksville (TN-KY) 260,265 $11,302 106,483 31,548 Clarksville Urbanized Area MPO

National Connectors

There are no national connectors on the I-24 corridor in the MAFC region.

Freight Projects Impacting Truck Traffic

I-24 is undergoing routine maintenance and resurfacing, but does not appear to have any major projects in progress that will affect the flow of freight in the corridor.

Truck Traffic

I-24 is a 131-mile corridor that crosses two states in the MAFC: Illinois and Kentucky.

  • VMT 2007: 2,763,121
  • Truck VMT 2007: 794,063
  • Percent Truck VMT: 28.74 percent

Note: Nokia-provided cell phone data for recent AASHTO-recommended performance measures (Annual Hours of Truck Delay and a Truck Reliability Index) is not yet available to the states. Once available, the MAFC will request use of the data from the states to provide performance measure analysis at the corridor level and update this section. For more information, see Freight Performance Management.

Operational Efficiency (ITS)

There are three message boards along the I-24 corridor, all of which are found in Kentucky, clustered around the Illinois border. Additionally, there are two cameras along this stretch of interstate highway; their distribution follows the same pattern as the message boards.

Illinois and Kentucky collaborate with Indiana and Ohio through ITS Midwest. Furthermore, the Illinois DOT participates in the ENTERPRISE Pooled Fund Study.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Yearly tons of CO2 assuming 4 mpg: 800,000
  • Yearly tons of CO2 assuming 7.5 mpg: 430,000


  • Data: Truck Counts (HPMS 2011)
  • Assume 4 and 7.5 miles per gallon
  • No control for level of service or elevation changes
  • 22.3 lbs. of CO2 per gallon of diesel

Fuel and Truck Parking

There are 10 fueling stations that also offer truck parking along I-24. Three fueling stations have less than 25 truck parking spaces, one has between 25 and 84 truck parking spaces, and six have more than 85 truck parking spaces. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) stations are listed to the right. I-24 CNG LNG
Public 0 0
Private 0 0
Planned 0 0
Total 0 0

Infrastructure Condition

The International Roughness Index (IRI) measures the cumulative amount of vertical deviation (the bumpiness or roughness) for each segment of road, and is reported as a ratio in inches per mile. IRI values less than 95 are generally considered good, while values between 95 and 170 are generally considered acceptable. Since only corridor segments with reported IRI values from the 2011 HPMS dataset were considered in this analysis, some states may be missing from certain corridors.

The IRI is used as a measurement to determine infrastructure conditions within the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) such as pavement deterioration, pavement condition trends, cost allocation studies, and other analytical purposes. It is reported, at a minimum, for all road segments that fall under the Full Extent classification which includes the National Highway System (NHS), all principal arterials (interstates, freeways, and expressways), and rural minor arterials within the Sample Panel dataset. The data is collected by the states and submitted to the FHWA. The FHWA verifies the data, and houses it within the HPMS. For more historical information, see MnDOT’s Introduction to the International Roughness Index.

Freight Facilities

Intermodal Terminals

  • Calvert City Terminal: Calvert City, KY
  • Kinder Morgan’s Grand Rivers Terminal: Jessup, KY

Major Rail Yards


Emerging Intermodal





  • Eddyville Riverport
  • Paducah-McCracken Riverport

Automotive Distribution Centers


Freight Rail

There are two Class I railroads that intersect this corridor:

Union Pacific (UP) operates the Marion Subdivision and the Canadian National (CN) operates the Bluford Subdivision. According to the National Transportation Atlas 2010 data, these lines carry between 10 and 50 million gross tons (MGT) a year. Paducah and Louisville (PAL), a shortline, has approximately 80 miles of trackage in the I-24 corridor. PAL services:

  • The Grand Rivers Terminal, a diversified coal transfer, storage, and blending facility on the Tennessee River, Mile Post 22.9R. The terminal is situated on the banks of Kentucky Lake near Kentucky Dam and owned by Kinder Morgan.
  • The Calvert City Terminal is located on the Tennessee River, Mile Marker 14. This terminal has a 15 million ton capacity annually to receive, blend, store and transload western coals and Illinois Basin coals through its two 150 car loops and 100 jumbo barge capacity. This terminal is owned by Southern Coal Holdings.

PAL also services Fort Campbell’s connection to CSX. The Paducah & Illinois (PI) is another Class III carrier. PI controls the Metropolis Bridge over the Ohio River and other trackage in the I-24 corridor. BNSF, CN, UP, and PAL hold trackage rights over PI in order to service the coal industry.

Passenger Rail

There is no passenger rail service along the I-24 corridor.


There are no air cargo airports that service the I-24 corridor.

Ports and Marine Highways

M-65 could serve as a Marine Highway reliever route for the I-24 corridor for freight shipped between Marion, IL and Chattanooga, TN. Major river ports near I-24 include Mt. Vernon, IN; Nashville, TN; and Chattanooga, TN. Several smaller river ports and terminals could also provide river access.

Freight Generators, Warehouses, and Distribution Centers

There are a total of 1,190 freight generators employing 15,694 people within three miles of the I-24 corridor, and a total of 3,706 freight generators employing 53,956 people within 10 miles of the corridor. If the extent of analysis focuses on the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) intersected by the I-24 corridor, there are a total of 2,502 freight generators employing 31,548 people. Within the MSAs, there are a total of 25 warehousing and distribution centers employing 1,269 people. Freight generators were determined by using the NAICS codes prescribed for freight-related sectors in NCFRP Report 19, and include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and eating and drinking places.


  1. Interstate 24. Wikipedia.
  2. Designated Truck Route List. Illinois Department of Transportation.
  3. Kentucky National Designated Truck Network. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
  4. Kentucky Intermodal Freight Network. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
  5. FHWA Interstate Brief (2011). US Department of Transportation. Washington, DC.
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