Skip to main content

Outer Banks Road Trip (3/24)

Last Saturday, I took a road trip out to the Outer Banks. I wanted to get the last three counties in Northeastern NC I need along with picking up some missing highway ends. The main reason for the trip was to go hiking at Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head.

The Route: NC 50, I-85, US 158, US 158 Bypass, I-85, US 158, US 301, NC 186, NC 305, NC 561, NC 45, NC 461, local secondaries, NC 45, US 158, NC 137, NC 37, US 17, NC 344, US 17, US 158, NC 136, US 158, US 64, I-540, local roads to home.

Accomplishments: Added Hertford, Gates, and Currituck Counties. Clinched NC 136 and 137 in addition to new mileage on numerous highways: US 158, NC 305, NC 561, NC 45, NC 461, NC 37, NC 344, and US 64.

Notes:

Between Oxford and Henderson US 158 splits to a by-pass (two lanes) and business route. I took the Bypass route which weaves around I-85 briefly before a brief multiplex in Henderson. There is one instance where US 158 crosses I-85 without an interchange. However, the bridge that carries I-85 over the 158 By-pass was built to cross over four lanes and in fact grading four an additional two lanes of US 158 is there. This is the only hint that US 158 could be four lanes through here or was there an interchange here years ago? This is at about mile 208 on I-85.

There is still an I-85 North Carolina shield on US 1 North/158 East at Exit 220 in Middleburg.


Plenty of old advertisements and buildings exist on US 158 in Macon, Vaughn and Littleton. There is also an abandoned railroad right of way.

NC 35's Southern end sits literally on the Northhampton and Hertford County Lines.


NC 461 East end is at a Nucor Steel Plant near Cofield. This is the second instance - that I know of - where a NC state highway either exists or has been extended to end at an industrial plant entrance. The other is NC 149 ending at the Weyerhaeuser mill in Plymouth.


NC 344 is now signed and exists in Elizabeth City. It begins at the US 17 Bypass at Halstead Blvd. Extension. It follows Halstead Blvd. into Elizabeth City where it eventually picks up the former routing of NC 34 south through Weeksville to end at the Pasquotank River. NC 34 now ends at US 158 in Belcross. Unfortunately, there is not an 'END' NC 344 shield at the US 17 Bypass. The NC 344 signs were erected on April 19, 2006.


US 17 through Elizabeth City has another bannered route. There is US 17 By-Pass (which is a freeway east of the city), what I call 'Vanilla' US 17 (the old 'by-pass'), US 17 Business, and now US 17 Truck Business (a truck bypass for the business route). Elizabeth City now has tied Smithfield-Selma for the most bannered routes of a US highway in the state. US 70 has US 70 By-Pass, 'Vanilla' US 70, US 70A, and US 70 Business. I'll give Elizabeth City the nod as I have never seen a Truck Business route before.


I did take a brief drive to clinch NC 136, former NC 3, in Popular Branch. Not an end sign present, but the highway does end at a boat launch along the Currituck Sound/Intracoastal Waterway.


Once on the Outer Banks, I headed to Jockeys Ridge State Park and hiked the numerous sand dunes. Jockeys Ridge has the highest sand dunes on the east coast ranging from 80 to 100 feet. I was amazed to see so much sand and hiked at least two and a half to three miles. In some instances where I was surrounded by sand dunes, it made me feel like I was in the desert. Kite flying and hang gliding are very popular at the park. Plus, you are allowed to 'sled ride' down some of the dunes.





After my time at the park, I headed around the Outer Banks a little bit before heading home on US 64.

A few things, the US 64 "bypass" (actual realignment) of Newfoundland in Tyrell County is actually graded for four lanes. Four laning the remainder of US 64 to the coast (Columbia to Manns Harbor) may be accomplished in the next 10 years.

The highest exit number in North Carolina is now Exit 562 which is along the new US 64 freeway between Columbia and Plymouth.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I went to Jockey's Ridge S.P. several times when I lived on the Outer Banx. The right person took efforts to preserve them that led to the formation of the state park. The sands shift naturally over time, but with development along most of Bodie Island, the dunes are pretty much confined to where they are now.

Popular posts from this blog

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Old River Lock & Control Structure (Lettsworth, LA)

  The Old River Control Structure (ORCS) and its connecting satellite facilities combine to form one of the most impressive flood control complexes in North America. Located along the west bank of the Mississippi River near the confluence with the Red River and Atchafalaya River nearby, this structure system was fundamentally made possible by the Flood Control Act of 1928 that was passed by the United States Congress in the aftermath of the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 however a second, less obvious motivation influenced the construction here. The Mississippi River’s channel has gradually elongated and meandered in the area over the centuries, creating new oxbows and sandbars that made navigation of the river challenging and time-consuming through the steamboat era of the 1800s. This treacherous area of the river known as “Turnbull’s Bend” was where the mouth of the Red River was located that the upriver end of the bend and the Atchafalaya River, then effectively an outflow

Huey P. Long Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

The decade of the 1930s brought unprecedented growth and development to Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure as the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge cemented their place as leading urban centers on the Gulf Coast. In the immediate aftermath of the success garnered by the construction of the massive bridge on the Mississippi River near New Orleans in 1935, planning and construction commenced on the state’s second bridge over the great river. This new bridge, located on the north side of Baton Rouge, was to be similar in design and form to its downriver predecessor. Completed in 1940 as the second bridge across the Mississippi River in Louisiana and the first to be built in the Baton Rouge area, this bridge is one of two bridges on the Mississippi named for Huey P. Long, a Louisiana politician who served as the 40th Governor of the State from 1928 to 1932, then as U.S. Senator from 1932 until his death by assassination at the state capitol in Baton Rouge on September 10, 1935