Skip to main content

The Four US 70's of Selma & Smithfield

One of the more unique set-ups for US 70 within North Carolina, and the entire country, is the four different versions of US 70 that serve the Johnston County towns of Selma and Smithfield.  Although at times very confusing to even the local driver, US 70, US 70A, US 70 Business, and US 70 By-Pass each have a specific link to the evolution of US 70 through this area.

Timeline:

 

Original Routing: When US 70 was established in 1926, the highway designation followed the original route of the Central Highway through the area.  It would pass to the south of Pine Level and into Smithfield.  (Map source: 1927 Clason's. Courtesy: Mike Roberson)



1928 - Mid 1950s:  For nearly three decades, US 70 traversed west from Princeton, then along today's US 70A through Pine Level, to Selma, before heading south on US 301 towards Smithfield.  In Smithfield, US 70 then left US 301 to head towards Clayton and Raleigh along what is now US 70 Business.  (Map source: 1939 NC Official).
Mid 1950s - 1972:  A new alignment for US 70 opened to the south from Princeton to Smithfield.  The original US 70 through Pine Level to Selma was renamed US 70A, which it is still called today.  It is not known it US 70A West would be signed along US 301 South to US 70 in Smithfield.  The dashed line in the 1958 General Drafting Map is for a then under construction Interstate 95.  Both US 70 and US 70A would have interchanges with the new highway.


1973-1991:  US 70A would be extended westwards over secondary roads to meet US 70 just beyond Wilson's Mills.  As traffic increased on both routes within Smithfield and near the I-95 interchanges, the state would begin to widen US 70A from Wilson's Mills to I-95 and US 70 from Smithfield towards Princeton.  At the same time, a new four lane highway was being built from US 70A's interchange with I-95 to US 70 a few miles east of I-95.  (Map Source: 1973-74 NC Official).


1991-1998: With the completion of a new four lane highway from US 70A at I-95 to US 70 four miles east of I-95, US 70 was realigned and split into three different routes.  US 70 now was moved onto what was the 1973 extension of US 70A from Wilson's Mills to I-95.  It then followed the new alignment to a widened US 70 seven miles west of Princeton.  The US 70 that traveled from Wilson's Mills through Smithfield was redesignated US 70 Business.  US 70A was truncated from Wilson's Mills to US 70 just east of its interchange with I-95.  US 70 was widened in Wilson's Mills in 1993.  (Map source: 1992-93 NC Official)


1998 - Today: Heavy traffic was still an issue with US 70 specifically at US 301 and its interchange with I-95 (Exit 97).  As a result, the state built a freeway bypass of the congested area in 1998.  The freeway begins one mile west of US 301 and rejoins US 70 one mile east of I-95.  This new freeway was deemed US 70.  After the new highway's opening, US 70 through Selma was renamed US 70 Business; but because of confusion with US 70 Business through Smithfield two miles to the south, it was quickly renamed back to US 70 with the new highway gaining the By-pass banner.  By-Pass US 70 does not have an interchange with Interstate 95.  Access to the interstate is possible from US 70 by either exits 336 or 334.  (Map Source: 2004 NC Official).

Coming Soon: With the approval of an Interstate from Clayton to Morehead City, Interstate 42 will be routed along what is currently US 70 By-Pass through the area.  It will also run along regular US 70 to the immediate east and west.  Interestingly, there are no current plans to connect Interstate 42 to its north-south counterpart - Interstate 95. Traffic will continue to use the current US 70 connection through Selma to connect between the two interstate.  So soon a new chapter in the area's colorful highway history is set to begin.






Photos:



US 70 By-Pass splits from US 70 East (Exit 334) just outside of Selma.  Although a freeway, US 70 By-Pass does not have any direct access to Interstate 95.  Access to the Interstate is available via US 70.  Interstate 42 will follow US 70 By-Pass.  (Photo Taken by Brian LeBlanc)


The split of US 70 West (Exit 336) and By-Pass US 70 just east of Interstate 95 near Selma.  Interstate 42 will follow US 70 By-Pass.  (Photo Taken by Brian LeBlanc)


A look at the US 70/US 301 intersection from US 301 North.  This heavily congested intersection was one of the reasons the US 70 By-Pass was built in the late 90s.  This also is the southern terminus of NC 39, for a brief time in the 1990s, NC 39 South would continue on US 70 East to end at I-95.  (Photo taken by Brian LeBlanc)





  • US 70 @ NCRoads.com Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • US 70A @ NCRoads.com Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • US 70 Business @ NCRoads.com Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • Brian LeBlanc
  • Mike Roberson
  • Comments

    Popular posts from this blog

    Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

    In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1

    US Route 299 and modern California State Route 299

    US Route 299 connected US Route 101 near Arcata of Humboldt County east across the northern mountain ranges of California to US Route 395 in Alturas of Modoc County.  US Route 299 was the longest child route of US Route 99 and is the only major east/west highway across the northern counties of California.  US Route 299 was conceptualized as the earliest iteration of what is known as the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway.  The legacy of US Route 299 lives on today in the form of the 307 mile long California State Route 299.   Featured as the cover of this blog is the interchange of US Route 101 and US Route 299 north of Arcata which was completed as a segment of the Burns Freeway during 1956.   Part 1; the history of US Route 299 and California State Route 299 The development of the State Highways which comprised US Route 299 ("US 299") and later California State Route 299 ("CA 299") began with 1903 Legislative Chapter 366 which defined the general corridor of the Trinit

    Former California State Route 190 at the bottom of Lake Success

    East of the City of Porterville the alignment of California State Route 190 follows the Tule River watershed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  In modern times California State Route 190 east of Porterville climbs south of the Lake Success Reservoir towards Springville.  Much of the original alignment of California State Route 190 within the Lake Success Reservoir can still be hiked, especially in drier years.  Pictured above is the original alignment of California State Route 190 facing northward along the western shore of Lake Success.  Part 1; the history of California State Route 190 through Lake Success The corridor of California State Route 190 ("CA 190") east of Porterville to Springville follows the watershed of the Tule River.  The Tule River watershed between Porterville and Springville would emerge as a source of magnesite ore near the turn of the 20th Century.  The magnesite ore boom would lead to the development of a modern highway in the Porterville-Springville