"Irate neighbors of the 7.7-mile, $122 million stretch of road said they had been surprised by the volume of truck traffic on what they understood would be a bypass more on the order of Bryan Boulevard."
NCDOT hopes the redesignation will mean most of the truck traffic will return to I-40’s initial route as soon as the state can prepare and install new signs. [Comment: Where did the old I-40 signs they just took down go? Couldn't they use them?] They feel that since I-73 is a fledgling route that currently does not go north beyond Greensboro, the Loop will have less traffic on it.
What this all will mean:
1. Changing the green I-40 Business signs back to the blue I-40 signs.
2. Re-labeling the exits along I-40 as Exit 212 (I-40/73) to Exit 227 (I-40/85).
3. Re-labeling the exits along I-73 as Exit 103 (I-73/40 interchange) to Exit 95 (I-73/U.S. 220 interchange) [Comment: Since I-73 shouldn't exit itself, Exit 95 should be for I-85 North].
4. Rerouting U.S. 421 to run concurrently with I-73 and parts of I-85.
5. Signs for the I-85 Business route and the I-85 exits will remain the same.
I have always argued that the western part of the past and future I-40 should never have been given a business interstate designation since it's up to modern interstate standards. Given that the FHWA allowed the route east including Death Valley to be re-designated an interstate calls into question NCDOT's explanation of changing former interstates to business routes because they are not up to current interstate standards. If I-40 is to run on its old routing does it make sense to still sign that part also as Business 85? A better idea would be to remove that designation from the I-40 part and make the rest just US 29/70, or if you wanted an interstate, an I-x85 spur route.
This latest piece of news from NCDOT sounds familiar. NCDOT makes decision without apparently communicating clearly to people of importance (in this case very vocal citizens), NCDOT then has to re-do at least part of the project and who pays the extra cost? NC taxpayers, of course.
This decision also calls into question the reason behind building a Loop entirely around Greensboro. The point was constantly made during the southern part's construction that it had to be done to remove as much traffic as possible from the Death Valley traffic choke point. Now that doesn't seem as important as satisfying a few loud and critical citizens. Hopefully, smart travelers going west will still use the I-85 Loop then go north on US 220 to get around Death Valley and return to I-40. All the signs are to be changed by December.