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

    The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

      Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

    Niagara Falls

      Arguably the world's most famous waterfall, or rather a set of waterfalls, Niagara Falls may not need much of an introduction, as it is a very popular tourist attraction in both New York State and the Province of Ontario, a destination of plenty of honeymooning couples, vacationing families and college students out for a good time for a weekend. Niagara Falls is also the site of many daredevil activities over the years, such as tightrope walking and going over the falls in a barrel. It is always nice to have a bit of a refresher, of course. Niagara Falls is made up of two main waterfalls, American Falls (also known as Rainbow Falls), which is on the American side of the border and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), where the border between the United States and Canada crosses. There is also a smaller waterfall on the New York side of the border, which is Bridal Veil Falls. The height of the waterfalls are impressive, with Horseshoe Falls measuring at

    Erie Canal: Little Falls and Moss Island

      Little Falls, New York is a small city in the Mohawk Valley that has been shaped by the forces of water throughout its history. Nowhere in Little Falls is that more evident than at Moss Island. Representing the Industrial Age, this is home of Lock 17 the tallest lock along the Erie Canal, but there is also evidence of the Ice Age in the form of 40 foot deep glacial potholes from when there was an ancient waterfall that was even larger than Niagara Falls at this spot, once draining Glacial Lake Iroquois when other outlets (such as the St. Lawrence River) were blocked by retreating glaciers. While Little Falls does not have the amount of industry around the river and canal than it once had, checking out what Moss Island has to offer is a great way to see what the city has to offer. Visiting Moss Island allows you to experience the engineering marvel that is the Erie Canal plus the wonders of nature by taking a hike around the island and seeing the glacial potholes. A