East End Connector / Durham Northeastern Bypass

Project First Proposed: 1960s   Interstate First Proposed: 2014
Construction Started: February 2015  Completion Date: July 2019?


    The Route: From I-85/US 70 interchange east of Durham to current I-40/NC 147 - Durham Freeway interchange

    in Research Triangle Park, 8 miles


This proposed interstate, not officially submitted for approval, was first shown in signage plans for the Durham East End Connector Project, placed online on August 19, 20141, would run from the current I-85/US 70 interchange in Durham to I-40 in Research Triangle Park and use the Connector built to provide a direct connection between the Durham Freeway (NC 147) and US 70 (Miami Boulevard), as well as improvements to upgrade US 70 to a limited access freeway from Pleasant Drive to north of Holloway Street (NC 98).

East End Connector Project Construction Progress

Construction of the Connector started almost 3 1/2 years ago on February 26, 2015 after NCDOT awarded the $142 contract to Dragados USA of New York City on January 7. The project has a tentative completion date of January 2020 (NCDOT has said the road could open as early as July 2019).2 Although the Durham Freeway and US 70 are just a mile apart, the project involves constructing 3.9 miles of roadway, including car and railroad bridges, and long loop ramps at both ends. The new freeway will have two lanes each way with room to add a third lane in the future.3 As of July 22, 2018, the project was 68.6% complete, still slightly ahead of schedule, which was to be 67.6%.4

Photos taken in late August 2018 at the NC 147 interchange by Adam Prince:

Image of traffic being taken from current NC 147 North lanes to temporary lanes shared with southbound traffic approaching East End Connector interchange, by Adam Prince

Traffic on NC 147 North using temporary cross over to southbound lanes prior to future East End Connector interchange.

Image of NC 147 Durham Freeway traffic using temporary lanes while future lanes are being reconstructed prior to future East End Connector interchange, by Adam Prince

Future I-885/NC 147 lanes currently share northbound traffic while future northbound lanes are widened and reconstructed ahead of Future I-885 interchange.

Image of graded future I-885 North lanes approaching East End Connector project interchange in Durham, by Adam Prince

View approaching future I-885 and NC 147/Durham Freeway split shows future north lanes still only graded. NCDOT's official timeline has the NC 147 modifications completed by June 2018.

Image of progress building new NC 147/Durham Freeway North lanes at East End Connector interchange, by Adam Prince

Graded future NC 147/Durham Freeway and I-885 North lanes continue as ramp for I-885 can be seen heading right in the distance.

Image of future NC 147 South to I-885 North flyover ramp in Durham East End Connector Project work zone. by Adam Prince

Traveling under the future NC 147 South to I-885 North flyover ramp with view of future Durham Freeway north lanes and ramp curving off to left in the distance.

Image of future ramp from I-885 South to NC 147 North under construction in East End Connector Project work zone in Durham, by Adam Prince

View of the future ramp from I-885 South to NC 147/Durham Freeway North still only graded, along with future NC 147 North lanes.

Photos taken in late July 2018 at the US 70 interchange by David Johnson:

Image of new roadway for US 70 traffic that will be on-ramp to US 70 East from I-885 North/East End Connector under construction in Durham, by David Johnson

US 70 traffic has been diverted onto an new roadway to the left of the future lanes at the East End Connector interchange, part will be used for future US 70 East ramp traffic (Variable message sign is indicating NC 98 exit is temporarily closed).

Image of US 70 heading west along new roadway to left of future I-885 interchange with US 70 at East End Connector project in Durham, by David Johnson

Work to build the flyover ramp from US 70 West to I-885 South can be completed now that US 70 traffic has been shifted to the left.

Image of progress in creating future ramp from I-885 North to US 70 East in East End Connector project work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Looking to the west of the US 70 roadway one can see the building of the future ramp to US 70 East from I-885 North.

Image showing incomplete flyover ramp with gap over future I-885 roadway looking toward the NC 98 interchange in East End Connector project work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Closeup view of the US 70 West flyover ramp gap over the incomplete I-885/US 70 freeway.

Image of US 70 traffic heading under flyover ramp for future US 70 West/I-885 South East End Connector interchange in Durham, by David Johnson

US 70 traffic on temporary alignment heading under completed part of future flyover ramp to I-885 South.

Image of US 70 West traffic paralleling future I-885 freeway roadway north of East End Connector interchange in Durham, by David Johnson

Completed Carr Road bridge can be seen to the right as US 70 transitions back to its existing lanes after the East End Connector interchange.

Image of completed bridge over future I-885/US 70 lanes north of East End Connector interchange in Durham, by David Johnson

Closer view of completed Carr Road bridge over future I-885/US 70 lanes.

 Image of workers laying down pavement along split of current US 70 with future East End Connector alignment in Durham, by David Johnson

Workers place asphalt along the closed right lane of US 70 West heading toward the NC 98 exit.

Image of construction along US 70 West in vicinity of future I-885 roadway in East End Connector work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Workers prepare new alignment for US 70 West lanes diverging from current roadway approaching railroad bridge.

Image of lanes split between current and future US 70 West lanes prior to railroad bridge in East End Connector project work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

New lane being built on the right appears will take US 70 West traffic to right side of railroad bridge in the distance.

Image of current US 70 West roadway approaching temporary and future railroad bridge over future I-885 roadway in Durham, by David Johnson

US 70 lanes using future I-885 South roadway approaching railroad bridges (current temporary and future).

Image of US 70 West approaching temporary and future railroad bridge over Future I-885 South lanes in East End Connector Project work zone in Durham, by David Johnsonc

New but temporary bridge in front of permanent bridge under construction approaching NC 98 interchange.

Image of temporary railroad piers being excavated next to US 70 West lanes in East End Connector project work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Piers of temporary bridge being dug out as part of construction process for permanent railroad bridge.

Image of construction of new US 70 West lanes in East End Connector Project work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Work is proceeding on new lanes to connect to future NC 98 bridge.

Image of traffic using newly repaved lanes of US 70 West near NC 98 interchange in East End Connector Project work zone, by David Johnson

End of new pavement ahead along current alignment of US 70 approaching the closed NC 98 exit.

Image of raised lanes for future I-885 roadway from current US 70 West in East End Connector Project work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Future bridge over NC 98 can be seen on the right, the closed NC 98 exit was at the other side of the bridge.

Image of new NC 98 bridge being constructed for I-885 freeway as part of East End Connector project in Durham, by David Johnson

Closer view of he bridge and work behind it to connect to future I-885 lanes.

Image of construction of new lanes for Future I-885 along US 70 West in Durham as part of East End Connector project, by David Johnson

Presumably when future I-885 North bridge over NC 98 is complete, traffic will be shifted over so that southbound bridge can be constructed along what is currently US 70 East and West lanes.

Image of future I-885 lanes under construction to the right of current US 70 as part of East End Connector project in Durham, by David Johnson

Pavement is being placed to the right for future I-885 North lanes between NC 98 and Cheek Road.

Earlier photos taken by the Durham Herald Sun at the Future US 70 interchange in July 2018:

Image of under construction interchange between Future I-885/East End Connector and NC 147/Durham Freeway, by Durham Herald-Sun

Construction of flyover ramps still in progress. US 70 traffic using future eastbound lanes.

Image of grading around future I-885 interchange with NC 147/Durham Freeway, by Durham Herald-Sun

Looking along future path of incomplete flyover ramp over Future I-885 North lanes looking east.

Image showing contruction trucks at site of future interchange between I-885/East End Connector and NC 147/Durham Freeway, by Durham Herald-Sun

Different view showing construction progress at future interchange with US 70.

Image taken from future flyover ramp of I-885/East End Connector in Durham at US 70, by Durham Herald-Sun

View taken from future flyover ramp structure for future US 70 interchange.

Latest traffic camera view looking south from the NC 55 exit (northbound camera has been off-line since May 2018) showing progress adding future I-885 on-ramp to NC 147 North:

NCDOT traffic camera image of NC 147 north of East End Connector project

Earlier Views from NCDOT Traffic Cameras in March 2018 and December 2017 showing Durham Freeway near EEC interchange, as of March northbound traffic has been shifted temporarily to completed southbound lanes so northbound lanes can be rebuilt:

Northbound:                                                Southbound:

                                            Image from NCDOT traffic camera in March 2018 of progress building East End Connector from NC 147/Durham Freeway looking north                 Image taken from NCDOT traffic camera in Dec. 2017 looking south showing progress reconstructing road for East End Connector interchange                                           

Latest Photos - Taken on May 5, 2018 by Adam Prince along US 70:

Image of US 70 West traffic approaching future East End Connector/I-885 interchange in Durham, by Adam Prince

US 70 West approaching future off-ramp to I-885 South, future on-ramp from the Connector to US 70 East can be seen on the left.

Image of US 70 West traffic approaching incomplete flyover ramp to Future I-885 South in East End Connector project work zone in Durham, by Adam Prince

There has been little progress in extending the flyover ramp across the current US 70 lanes, perhaps they are waiting for traffic to be shifted to the US 70 freeway lanes.

Image of new ramp bridges for East End Connector/Future I-885 interchange with US 70, by Adam Prince

Future interchange ramp bridges can be seen across US 70 from the current westbound lanes.

Image of future US 70 freeway lanes from current US 70 roadway, lanes being used as storage area for construction equipment for East End Connector/I-885 project in Durham, by Adam Prince

The paved future US 70 freeway lanes are being used as a storage area for construction materials.

Image of traffic on US 70 West beyond NC 98 interchange showing progress building new freeway as part of East End Connector/Future I-885 project in Durham, by Adam Prince

Beyond the NC 98 exit, work continues to upgrade US 70 to become the future northern end of the I-885 freeway.


Earlier Photos-Taken on March 20, 2018 by David Johnson from temporary NC 147 northbound lanes:

Image of NC 147 North traffic using crossover to temporary lanes approaching East End Connector project in Durham, by David Johnson

NC 147 North traffic using crossover to access completed southbound lanes to be shared by Durham Freeway traffic while new northbound lands approaching the Future I-885 North interchange is completed.

Image of NC 147 North traffic using southbound lanes temporarily approaching Glover Rd bridge, by David Johnson

NC 147 traffic in future southbound lanes approaching Glover Road bridge prior to East End Connector construction.

Image of NC 147 traffic using temporary lanes approaching East End Connector project in Durham, by David Johnson

Contractors have already ripped out old northbound lane surface approaching future I-885 North exit ramp.

Image of new bridge construction for NC 147 North in East End Connector work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

View under completed NC 147 South to I-885 North flyover ramp of paved Future I-885 ramps and new bridge construction.

Image of Future I-885 ramp construction from temporary lanes of NC 147 at East End Connector work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Closer look at new bridge construction and removal of former northbound lanes beyond concrete barriers.

Image of bridge construction in East End Connector work zone from NC 147 North temporary lanes in Durham, by David Johnson

Closer view of completed flyover ramp for NC 147 traffic to access the East Connector roadway.

Image of flyover ramp for future NC 147 South to I-885 North traffic in East End Connector work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Another view of new bridge construction from temporary Durham Freeway north lanes.

Image of new bridge construction from temporary NC 147 North lanes in East End Connector work zone in Durham, by David Johnson

Closer look at new bridge construction heading under the flyover ramp bridge.

Earlier Photos - Taken on July 23 and 28, 2017 by David Johnson:

Traveling southbound showing progress in building ramp structures over the Durham Freeway:

Image showing traffic shift at start of East End Connector construction zone on NC 147 South in Durham, by David Johnson

Traffic being shifted heading toward future I-885 North off-ramp.

Image of southbound Durham freeway approaching Future I-885 North off-ramp, by David Johnson

The future I-885 North off-ramp is being graded.

Image approaching newly placed steel supports for future ramp from NC 147 South to I-885 North, by David Johnson

The girders for the future I-885 North off-ramp were placed during the weekend of July 14-16.

Image taken of beams in place for future flyover ramp from NC 147 South to I-885 North in Durham, by David Johnson

While the beams are new the grading of the surrounding roadway has been completed for a while, based on the grass growth.

Image taken of newly placed support beams for future ramp from NC 147 South to I-885 North in Durham, by David Johnson

A closeup of the bottom of the new ramp structure already having bridge deck materials being placed between the girders.

Image taken looking back at Future I-885 North ramp from NC 147 South in Durham, by David Johnson

The previously placed part of the ramp over the northbound lanes have been mostly completed.

Image of traffic on new NC 147 Southbound lanes near future interchange with I-885, East End Connector in Durham, by David Johnson

Traffic south of the interchange is now using the new southbound lanes heading toward Ellis Road.

Along US 70 at the other end of Connector construction:

Image of US 70 traffic at northern end of East End Connector construction zone, by David Johnson

View from US 70 East heading toward East End Connector construction zone.


Image of distance sign on US 70 East in Durham approaching East End Connector work zone, by David Johnson

Long standing destination mileage sign on US 70 East approaching future flyover ramp for East End Connector.


Image taken of incomplete flyover ramp over US 70 at East End Ave intersection in Durham, by David Johnson

Incomplete flyover ramp for future I-885 South traffic as seen from US 70 East at East End Avenue.

Image showing partially complete flyover ramp by US 70 near East End Ave. in Durham, photo by David Johnson

A closer view of he flyover ramp with completed steel work above future I-885/US 70 lanes.

Image of completed support structures for future ramps of I-885 East End Connector at US 70 in Durham, by David Johnson

Some of the support structures for other ramps seen from US 70 awaiting their steel their completion.

Image of construction crane in front of Future I-885 ramp to US 70 East, by David Johnson

Idle crane waits in front of bridge under construction over Future I-885 lanes being graded leading away from US 70 East.

Image of future I-885/East End Connector lanes heading west from US 70 interchange in Durham, by David Johnson

 Looking under the bridge reveals future I-885 roadway toward the Durham Freeway receiving final grading.

Image of southern end of future ramp bridge over I-885 lanes in Durham, by David Johnson

Closer view of southern end of bridge showing work proceeding on creating barrier walls above Future I-885 lanes.


Earlier Photos from March 31 and April 2, 2017:

First the western section, NC 147, between Briggs Avenue and Ellis Road, heading South then turning around:

Image of view from Briggs Ave. on-ramp onto NC 147 South approaching East End Connector work zone
Entering NC 147 South from the Briggs Ave. on-ramp showing traffic being shifted to a temporary bridge while the future southbound lanes and ramps are being constructed.

Image taken of NC 147 South approaching temporary bridge in East End Connector work zone
About to head over the temporary bridge on NC 147 South showing concrete has been poured for future Southbound lanes and bridge approaching the Future I-885 North off-ramp.

Image taken on NC 147 South of East End Connector construction zone
A little further south, concrete barriers separate NC 157 South traffic from future southbound lanes approaching interchange fly-over ramps.

Image showing progress in completing support structure for Future I-885 North on-ramp from NC 147 in Durham
Approaching the flyover ramp that will take NC 147 South traffic to I-885 North showing not all the overhead beams have been installed yet. To the right, not all of the concrete roadway has been placed for the future South lanes.

Image taken south of I-885 flyover ramps along NC 147 South in Durham
Traveling further south after the flyover ramps with the future NC 147 South lanes now elevated to the right.

Image taken of Future NC 147 South lanes being built as part of East End Connector project in Durham
Work is ongoing in building the future I-885/NC 147 South lanes south of the interchange with both lanes of current traffic in the future North lanes.

Image taken of southbound lane construction for Future I-885/NC 147 South in Durham
Construction of new I-885/NC 147 South lanes continues south from the East End Connector toward Ellis Road, with Glover Road bridge in distance.

Image taken of southern end of East End Connector work zone from NC 147 South in Durham
Power line warning signs and the start of concrete placement on the future Southbound lanes highlight the southern part of the East End Connector work zone.

Image taken of view along NC 147 North approaching East End Connector work zone in Durham
Turning around at Ellis Road and heading north, the East End Connector work zone is first viewed prior to passing under the Glover Road bridge.

Image taken traveling NC 147 North toward future I-885 interchange in Durham
Work on the Future Southbound lanes can be barely seen above the median barriers as seen from North NC 147.

Image taken of East End Connector construction from NC 147 North in Durham
Approaching the future split of NC 147 with I-885 North, work on the future southbound lanes can be seen to the left.

Image showing construction of Future I-885 North Ramp from NC 147 North in Durham
Heading further toward the flyover ramps, the future North I-885 ramp can be seen to the right, only recently begun grading work.

Image showing construction of future I-885 ramps and northbound lanes from NC 147 North in Durham
A closer view of the Future I-885 ramp heading off from NC 147 lanes about to go under the future flyover ramp and bridge.

Image taken of traveling through future flyover ramp construction zone for East End Connector on NC 147 in Durham
A close view of the flyover and other ramp bridges being built over NC 147 North.

Image taken of East End Connector construction from NC 147 North at Future I-885 interchange
View after traveling under the future ramps of construction area heading towards the Briggs Avenue exit.

Image taken of construction on Future I-885 South ramp to NC 147 North in Durham
At the northern end of the construction zone, work has started on the right in building the Future I-885 South ramp to NC 147 North.

Next, the Middle Section-Angier Avenue:

Image taken of bridge construction for East End Connector over Angier Ave. in Durham
Heading north on Angier Avenue through the East End Connector work zone shows progress in building supports and grading the future I-885 lanes to the east to carry traffic over the road and the railroad tracks to the left.

Image taken of future bridge construction for East End Connector over Angier Ave. in Durham
A closer view of construction while traveling between the bridge pier construction and the elevated land for the I-885 roadway.

Finally, the Eastern Section - US 70 from East End Avenue to NC 98 (and back beyond):

Image of view from US 70 West prior to East End Ave at start of East End Connector project work zone
View from US 70 West at East End Avenue intersection with East End Connector work zone coming into view.

Image of view from East End Avenue on US 70 West in Durham of East End Connector work zone
View from US 70 west just passed the East End Avenue intersection, showing Current and Future US 70 lanes.

Image taken of new US 70 lanes being constructed as part of East End Connector project in Durham
Approaching the future ramp from US 70 to I-885 South on the right, where some paving has started heading up toward the ramp overpass.

Image taken looking at East End Connector related construction to the west of current US 70 in Durham
Looking to the west of US 70, a paved on-ramp from Future I-885 North and bridge construction can be spotted.

Image taken of East End Connector construction from US 70 West in Durham
Approaching the future site of the I-885 South off-ramp from US 70 West with a closer look at the paved lanes.

Image of view looking at East End Connector construction west of US 70 in Durham
Another look to the west of US 70 opposite the future I-885 South Off-Ramp showing grading and paving of future ramp to US 70 East.

Image of flyover ramp construction for I-885 over US 70 in Durham
Approaching the flyover ramp for I-885 South partially completed over current US 70 lanes with bridge being constructed to the left.

Image taken of ramp bridge being constructed west of US 70 as part of East End Connector project in Durham
Closer look of ramp bridge being constructed that will take traffic under the flyover ramp for US 70 West traffic heading onto I-885 South.

Image taken showing future I-885/US 70 lanes north of East End Connector interchange in Durham
A view to the right from US 70 West shows future I-885/US 70 lanes heading under completed bridge currently not connected to any street.

Image taken of East End Connector work zone north of future I-885/US 70 interchange in Durham
A closer look at the future I-885/US 70 lanes shows paving has not begun along graded roadway underneath the completed bridge.

Image taken of current signage at US 70 Business exit from US 70 West in East End Connector work zone in Durham
Signage for the pre-existing US 70 Business exit from US 70 West in the middle of the East End Connector work zone. When I-885 is completed US 70 Business traffic will use the revised NC 98 exit.

Image taken of US 70 West traveling through East End Connector work zone in Durham
US 70 lanes travel toward future I-885/US 70 lanes to travel under bridge prior to NC 98 exit.

Image taken of nearly completed bridge over Future I-885/US 70 lanes in East End Connector work zone in Durham
About to travel over new bridge over Future I-885/US 70 lanes, current US 70 traveling in future southbound lanes will work is still ongoing to excavate future northbound lanes.

Image taken of construction of future Interstate 885 North lanes prior to NC 98 in Durham
Future I-885 North lanes continue to the right paralleling US 70 headed toward the NC 98 Exit.

Image taken of bridge construction for future Interstate 885 North lanes over NC 98 in Durham
Prior to the NC 98 exit, work is continuing of the bridge that will take I-885 North/US 70 West over NC 98.

Image taken of NC 98 Exit gore sign on US 70 in Durham
A closer look at the NC 98 Exit Gore Sign. This will be Exit 7 when I-885 is completed, see sign plans below.

Image taken of Future Interstate 885 North bridge being constructed over NC 98 in Durham
View at the bottom of the US 70 West off-ramp to NC 98 showing the construction is proceeding that will take I-885 North traffic over the intersection.

Image of view on East US 70 of construction of new lanes for Future I-885 in Durham
Returning east on US 70 showing work is half finished in demolishing old railroad bridge in front of new one being completed over Future I-885 South lanes.

Image taken of view south over Future I-885/US 70 alignment north of East End Connector interchange in Durham
Looking South beyond the bridge, over approaching project work zone as US 70 curves to meet US 70 Business.

Image taken along US 70 East in Durham showing construction of lanes for Future Interstate 885 as part of East End Connector project
Further along approaching East End Avenue intersection with Future I-885/US 70 lanes to left and flyover ramp in distance.

Image taken of construction along US 70 East in Durham for East End Connector project
Approaching East End Avenue and future interchange area, another look at US 70 West to I-885 South flyover ramp construction.

Image of view along US 70 East south of Future East End Connector interchange showing construction progress
View on US 70 East beyond East End Avenue showing future US 70 lanes slowly making their way back to the alignment of the current lanes at the bottom of the hill.

Image taken of new US 70 lanes merging with existing alignment as part of East End Connector project in Durham
At the bottom of the hill and the southern end of the East End Connector project work zone, showing the last part of the new road alignment merging with the old prior to the Living Waters Community Church.

Earlier Photos - February 19, 2017

A few photos from Adam Prince showing the progress building the interchange with NC 147, the Durham Freeway approaching the interchange on NC 147 North:

Image showing view from NC 147 North of bridge prior to East End Connector construction area, from Adam Prince

Image of view from NC 147 approaching ramps being constructed for East End Connector interchange, from Adam Prince

Image of view on NC 147 approaching recently placed overhead beams for East End Connector ramp from  NC 147 South, from Adam Prince

Image of closeup view of future ramp under construction for NC 147/East End Connector Interchange, from Adam Prince


Previous - October 23, 2016

These photos, from LC, show progress on the eastern side of the project along US 70 West, traveling through the future I-885/US 70 interchange and further north to the existing freeway north of NC 98:

Image showing construction work for future US 70/East End Connector interchange in Durham, by LC

Image of construction at future US 70 - East End Connector interchange in Durham, by LC

Image from US 70 West prior to future interchange with East End Connector, under construction in Durham, from LC

Image of new interchange for future East End Connector under construction from US 70 West in Durham, from LC

Image approaching new bridge being constructed over US 70 as part of East End Connector project in Durham, from LC

Image approaching new ramp for East End Connector interchange with US 70 in Durham, by LC

Image of new flyover bridge being built over US 70 for East End Connector Project in Durham, by LC

Image of construction of future US 70 freeway for East End Connector project in Durham, by LC

Image of new US 70 freeway being constructed next to current roadway for East End Connector project, from LC

Image of future US 70 freeway under construction, part of East End Connector project in Durham, from LC

Image of future US 70 freeway under construction as part of East End Connector project in Durham, from LC

Image of future US 70 freeway under construction as part of East End Connector Project in Durham, from LC

Image of new bridge being built over future US 70 freeway, part of East End Connector project in Durham, by LC

Image of new bridge being built over US 70 as part of East End Connector project in Durham, by LC

Image of construction along US 70 West in Durham for East End Connector project, by LC

Image of construction for East End Connector project along US 70 West in Durham, from LC

Image of construction for East End Connector project on US 70 West at NC 98 exit, from LC

Image of construction for East End Connector on US 70 West beyond NC 98 exit, by LC

Here's a view of progress on the NC 147 side from the NCDOT Traffic Camera in the area, taken 10/15/16:
Image from NCDOT Traffic Camera of construction at future NC 147/East End Connector interchange

Previous Photos - April 17, 2016

These photos, from Adam Prince, show progress on the eastern side of the project along US 70 West traveling through the future I-885/US 70 interchange and then further north toward the current Business 70 off-ramp:

Image of construction along US 70 prior to future connection with the East End Connector

Image of future US 70/East End Connector area under construction, by Adam Prince

Image of US 70 construction near future interchange with East End Connector, from Adam Prince

Image of future railroad bridge being constructed in front of existing bridge over US 70 as part of East End Connector project, by Adam Prince




Previous Photos - November 14, 2015


These photos, from Adam Prince, show the progress on the eastern side of the project along US 70 toward the current Business 70 off-ramp last fall:

Image of clearing completed for future East End Connector/US 70 interchange in Durham, by Adam Prince

Image of clearing for future East End Connector interchange with US 70 in Durham, by Adam Prince

Image of construction for future I-885 along west US 70 in Durham, by Adam Prince






Image of progress widening US 70 for future East End Connector near Business 70 in Durham, by Adam Prince





Image of widening US 70 and clearing for new bridge near Business 70 in Durham, by Adam 
Prince

Previous Photos - October 30, 2015



These photos, courtesy of Adam Prince, show progress at the future I-885/NC 147 interchange, compare with previous photos regarding work in median and in constructing the future I-885 North Off-Ramp:

Image of progress in creating Future East End Connector interchange with Durham Freeway. Photo by Adam Prince




Image of progress constructing future I-885 off-ramp from Durham Freeway. Photo by Adam Prince

Image of construction equipment at future I-885/NC 147 interchange. Photo by Adam Prince
Image of support posts being constructed at future I-885/NC 147 interchange. Photo by Adam Prince

Previous Photos - June 22, 2015


The contractors have begun clearing the project area, starting first on the eastern side along US 70, and now along the western side on NC 147 starting in late May. Here are some photos of the clearing along the Durham Freeway on June 20:

Image of clearing along median of Durham Freeway for East End Connector Project. Photo by Adam Prince

Image of clearing along median of Durham Freeway for East End Connector Project. Photo by Adam Prince

Image of clearing along side of Durham Freeway for East End Connector Project. Photo by Adam Prince

And of the clearing and other construction along US 70  courtesy of Adam Prince from May 20:

Image of clearing along US 70 in Durham for East End Connector project, photo by Adam Prince

Image of clearing along US 70 in Durham for East End Connector project. Photo by Adam Prince

Image of broken rock being placed in East End Connector project area in Durham, photo by Adam Prince

Image of clearing along US 70 in Durham for East End Connector Project, photo by Adam Prince

Image of clearing at future site of East End Connector/US 70 interchange in Durham, photo by Adam Prince

Image of concrete barriers placed in East End Connector work zone on US 70 in Durham, photo by Adam Prince

Image of land clearing in vicinity of NC 98 exit on US 70 in Durham, photo by Adam Prince

Image of land clearing at future interchange between East End Connector and US 70 in Durham, photo by Adam Prince



Proposed Route of I-885



This future interstate highway would use an upgraded US 70 freeway East (South) from I-85 Exit 178 two miles to the planned East End Connector which would then run about a mile from US 70 to the Durham Freeway (NC 147). The route would then run south with NC 147 for about 5 more miles to I-40 Exit 270 along the Durham Freeway (planned to be widened to 6 lanes). The benefit of the I-885 proposal would be to provide a single numerical designation for drivers from I-85 to RTP and, since the East End Connector is funded as Durham's Urban Loop project, like other NC cities' urban loops, an interstate designation is appropriate. An even number is to be used since it would connect two interstates.

NCDOT officials have discussed an I-885 designation for about 10 years, but the sign plans were the first public notice of the interstate proposal. An NCDOT official says it may be necessary to upgrade parts of the Durham Freeway and US 70 (widen some of the existing shoulders outside of the Project area or request an exemption for a bridge that might not quite meet the specifications) to get federal approval. NCDOT doesn't plan to submit applications to either the FHWA or AASHTO until closer to the East End Connector project's completion.2 Here's a map of the corridor from the News & Observer:


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/08/4134356_road-worrier-durhams-east-end.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

adHere's a map of the proposed route, courtesy of the Raleigh News & Observer (2)
Map of proposed I-885 route in Durham, NC courtesy of Raleigh News & Observer








Project History




The East End Connector has been an official NCDOT project since the 1970s. Traffic planners in Durham had a connecting route from the Durham Freeway to US 70 in mind earlier in the 1960s when they mapped out the Durham Freeway and left space for an interchange with the Connector between Exits 8 and 11. Since there is no direct connection between the two major east-west highways in the City of Durham (Durham Freeway and US 70), motorists and truckers often use other streets to access the highway system. NCDOT estimated over the next 25 years, traffic volumes would increase significantly and without the Connector additional cut-through traffic would affect local streets and communities. The East End Connector, NCDOT argued, would provide a link among four major transportation routes (I-85, US 70, NC 147, and I-40) and facilitate better traffic flow.

The project has been shelved several times due to wrangling over competing Durham road priorities and debates over a state spending formula that always seemed to find other cities more deserving of big-project dollars.5 During the 1990s NCDOT, the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Durham and Durham County all identified the East End Connector project as a priority and pressed for funding. The project was made eligible for funding under the Urban Loop construction fund in the late 1990s after the preferred NCDOT Loop project, a northern bypass which would have cut through the Eno River State Park, was opposed by city officials. The neighborhoods to be affected, largely African-American, were wary of the project, remembering how the building of the Durham Freeway through the heart of downtown during the 1960s bulldozed much of the vibrant 'Black Wall Street' area (opposition which prevented the Freeway from being completed until the late 1990s). NCDOT's preferred alternative to construct the Connector, ended up with 22 residences and 33 businesses being condemned. The final hurdle, concerns of residents of the Hayestown neighborhood, located mostly between Angier Avenue and U.S. 70, was alleviated in 2010 when NCDOT made changes in project plans to provide an improved interchange at Carr Road to preserve the neighborhood’s access to U.S. 70.6


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/01/07/4456684_ncdot-awards-142-million-contract.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/08/4134356_road-worrier-durhams-east-end.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Sign Plans


Here's a plan for one of the signs at the future intersection between I-885/US70 and West Business 70/NC 98:

This will be Exits 6 Northbound and 6A and 6B Southbound, the current Cheek Road exit would be renumbered Exit 7 (with the I-85 exit renumbered Exit 8), as seen in the plan below:

Here's the plan for the overhead signs at the future southbound split of I-885 and US 70:

Signage at the west end of the Connector is planned to appear as:

The Split of I-885 (to the Connector) and NC 147 northbound is to be Exit 4:

Ellis Road will become Exit 3, Alexander Drive Exit 2 and Cornwallis Road Exit 1. 

Here's signage on the Durham Freeway (NC 147) South approaching the Connector:

Finally, here's the proposed signage on the US 70 West:









Photos Along I-885's Route




From the Durham Freeway (2017): Image of overhead exit signage at Ellis Road exit on NC 147 (Future I-885) South in Durham

Signage at the Ellis Road exit heading south after the East End Connector work zone.

Image of overhead exit signage at the Alexander Dr exit on NC 147 (Future I-885) South in Research Triangle Park
Signage at the Alexander Drive exit where NC 147 enters Research Triangle Park.

Image of overhead exit signage for I-40 exit on NC 147 (Future I-885) South in Research Triangle Park
Signage at the Cornwallis Road exit and the approaching I-40 exit prior to NC 147 South becoming a toll road.

 Image of overhead exits signs on the Durham Freeway North for Alexander Drive and Cornwallis 
Road, taken Oct. 2011

Approaching exit ramp to Cornwallis Road northbound. This section of the Freeway had been recently widened to 3 lanes in anticipation of the completion of the Triangle Parkway toll road, 10/14/2011.

Image of overhead exit signage approaching Alexander
Drive on the Durham Freeway, Oct. 2011
The 3 lane section ends just beyond the Alexander Drive interchange. NCDOT now has plans to widen the rest of the freeway to 3 lanes between here and the Connector and southbound from the Connector to Cornwallis Road. (10/14/2011)

Image taken of overhead exit signage on I-85/US 15 North at US 70 West (Future Interstate 885 South) interchange in Durham
Signage on I-85 North at Split with US 70 East, this will be the future northern end of I-885 when the East End Connector project is completed.

For more information visit the official NCDOT East End Connector project website.