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Goodbye Interstate 495; Hello Interstate 87

If you live in or drive in Eastern Wake County - you'll be seeing a lot more of sign combinations like this one soon.
It seems like yesterday when I blogged about new Future Interstate 495 signs that were going to be installed along US 64 along the Knightdale Bypass and along the way to Rocky Mount.  Well after just three years, Interstate 495 is officially no more.  This week NCDOT crews began to install Interstate 87 shields along the Raleigh Beltline and Knightdale Bypass from Southeast Raleigh to Rolesville Road in Wendell.  The new interstate designation follows Interstate 440 west from I-40 near Garner leaving the Beltline at the Knightdale Bypass and following US 64/264 about another 12 or so miles until the six lane portion of the Knightdale Bypass ends just beyond Business US 64.

Eventually, Interstate 87 will continue east along US 64 past Zebulon, Rocky Mount and Tarboro to Williamston where it will head north and northeast along US 17 into Virginia and Norfolk.  The new signs reflect the first official section of Interstate 87 in North Carolina - as the Knightdale Bypass meets national Interstate standards.

This introduction and installation of Interstate 87 signs onto the Knightdale Bypass will be a multi-step process.  The first step is what you see on the highway now - new Interstate 87 shields on the ground along the main highway.  Surface streets, like New Hope Road, Hodge Road, Smithfield Road and Wendell Falls Parkway, that have interchanges with the new Interstate will also see I-87 signs pop up as they approach the highway.  The last step will be updating or replacing existing overhead signs along I-40, I-440 and I-540 with the new designation.  So for a few weeks, maybe months, you'll still see some Interstate 495 shields and signs in the area.

Speaking of the overall signage plans - there will also be another major change to the signage along the Knightdale Bypass (and eventually US 64).  The exit numbers will be changed to reflect Interstate 87's mileage.  There will be new exit numbers for the interchanges at I-440, New Hope Road, Hodge Road, I-540, Smithfield Road, Wendell Falls Parkway, Wendell Blvd./Business 64 and Rolesville Road.

Interchange Old Exit # New Exit #
Interstate 440 West 419 3
New Hope Road 420 4
Hodge Road 422 6
Interstate 540 423 7
Smithfield Road 425 9
Wendell Falls Parkway 427 11
US 64 Business / Wendell Blvd. 429 13
Rolesville Road 430 14

This may be slightly confusing as it appears that the next exit east - Lizard Lick Road/Wendell - will remain with its current number, Exit 432.  Though eventually those exit numbers will also change.

A contact of mine at NCDOT passed along to me the overall signage plans for Interstate 87 along the Knightdale Bypass.  A few samples are below.

New signage for I-87 at the I-40 Beltline Merge in Southeast Raleigh.  I-87 and I-440 will both end at I-40. (NCDOT)

Proposed signage for Interstate 87 at the junction of the Knightdale Bypass and the Raleigh Beltline (I-440). You can see how the exit numbers for US 64 (Exits 419, 420 etc.) are being changed to reflect Interstate 87 (3, 4, 6, etc.) (NCDOT)

Interstate 87 signs at Hodge Road and Interstate 540.  (NCDOT)

Signs along Business 64 at the Knightdale Bypass. There will only be updates to signs for US 64/264 West to include Interstate 87 - as I-87's temporary end is at this interchange. (NCDOT)

Proposed Interstate 87 signage plans along US 64/264 West approaching Rolesville Road.  This will be where Interstate 87 will begin.  I am unsure if exits east of here will be updated or remain with US 64's mileage (430 and higher) (NCDOT)

Comments

John Gaither said…
What in you opinion would I-87 in NC/VA connect to its older Northern neighbor I-87 in New York City? Does it take Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel or use I-64 to I-95 in Richmond?
Steve said…
@John

I would estimate that it would use US-13 across the CBBT (should it happen of course). They are already in the process of upgrading the Thimble Shoals Channel Tunnel to 4 lanes, and sometime within the next two decades, the Chesapeake Channel Tunnel will get upgraded as well.

Now my vision, I-87 would follow current I-464 in Chesapeake up to Norfolk, then I-264 after that into VA Beach. The problem from there is how would they handle converting that section of U.S. 13 in VA Beach leading to the CBBT into a freeway, plus the interchanges required to do so.

So that is probably why they won't bother... at least for a VERY LONG TIME.

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