A western bypass of Fayetteville has been in the planning stages for decades. The 36-mile Outer Loop route was planned both as a vehicle bypass of Fayetteville and as a direct interstate link to Fort Bragg for military and civilian transportation.1 The completed freeway would run from I-95 at its current intersection with US 13 to the west and south of Fayetteville reconnecting with I-95 north of St. Pauls in Robeson County. The route was officially designated as Interstate 295 in 2019.
Construction on the Loop began in 2001. Currently, in December 2020, almost 24 miles are open to traffic. The latest section to open is from Cliffdale Road to Raeford Road (US 401) on August 19, 20202 less than a year from the section from the All-American Freeway to Cliffdale Road on November 26, 2019. NCDOT announced funding of $105 million for the project in September 2012 and the contract was put out to bid in August 2014. Work started on October 24, 2014. The segment has two interchanges with Reilly Road near a Fort Bragg gate at Canopy Lane in addition to that at Cliffdale Road and was originally to be completed in October 2018, then March 2019.3 The opening of the segment from US 401 to NC 211/ Murchison Road on August 16, 2016 closed what was two disconnected segments. The older eastern, and longest, segment, signed until 2014 as Future Interstate 295, consists of the first section of the Loop completed in June 2003, which ran three miles from US 401 (Ramsay Street) across the Cape Fear River to River Road4 and a second section, about 4 miles, connecting I-95 to River Road that was completed in July 2005. A western segment, 1 1/2 mile route designated NC 24/27, taking those routes from Bragg Blvd (where NC 24/27 intersects the Loop from the south) to Murchison Road (NC 210), opened in the summer of 2014. A 1/2 mile segment to continue the highway west to the All-American Freeway was finished on December 2, 2016. In late 2014, NCDOT replaced all the Future I-295 signage in the eastern section with NC 295 signs (see photos below) and the rest of the route when opened in 2016 was also signed as NC 295. NCDOT sought in 2019, and was granted by both AASHTO and the FHWA, permission to sign the completed section as I-295.5 In November 2019, an overhead sign along a new section opened between the All-American Freeway to Cliffdale Road had an I-295 shield, it is assumed that the rest of the Loop back to I-295 will have its signs changed from NC 295 to I-295 in the not too distant future (see route number section below for further discussion). Image from City of Fayetteville video showing I-295 sign:
The remaining segments west and south of Yadkin Road back to I-95 near St. Pauls were originally not funded, but in December 2014 it was announced that the latest NCDOT STIP would fund projects to complete the entire Loop, the first of these projects will start in 2016, the last in 2021, and the whole Loop could be complete by 2025.5 In December 2015 then NC Governor McCrory announced changes to the state budget that would allow more money to be dedicated to transportation projects. Under the plan, the last segments of the Outer Loop would be accelerated a year to start construction in 2020, the Loop would be completed by 2023 under the new timetable, which was approved by the NCDOT Board in January 2016.6 The latest project to start is the southern most segment from I-95 to Camden Road, west of Fayetteville, construction started in January 2018. The last segment to be constructed, from US 401 to Camden Road, was to be let in July 2020 with work scheduled to be completed by 2024, however the letting date was first pushed back to February 2021 in the fall of 2019, then due to financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 virus was dropped from the tentative 13-Month Letting list in April 2020.7 This probably means this project won't start until at least mid-2021 and that the entire Loop won't be finished now until at least 2025, the original date cited in 2014. Each of these projects are discussed in greater detail below the Photos and Sign Plan sections.
Here was the official NCDOT schedule for the projects to complete the I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop between Fort Bragg and I-95 in Robeson County from the 2020-2029 STIP and later NCDOT press releases (The letting of the BB and BA segment have since been delayed). The completion dates for Segments AA and AB are now set for July 2022:
|Segment||Location||Cost ($Mil)||Start date||Completion date|
|DA||East of SR 1415 (Clearwater Blvd) to West of NC 24/27 (Bragg Blvd) - COMPLETED||54.4||Oct. 2014||July 2015|
|CB||South of SR 1400 (Cliffdale Rd) to East of SR 1415 (Clearwater Blvd) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION||125.5||Oct. 2014||Oct. 2018|
|CA||South of US 401 to South of SR 1400 (Cliffdale Rd) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION||14.8||2016||March 2021|
|BB||South of SR 1104 (Strickland Bridge Rd) to South of US 401 (ROW in Progress)||45.0||Aug. 2018||2022|
|BA||South of SR 1003 (Camden Rd) to South of SR 1104 (Strickland Bridge Rd) (ROW in Progress)||60.9||Aug. 2018||2022|
|AB||South of SR 1118 (Parkton Rd) to South of SR 1003 (Camden Rd) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION||119.5||Jan. 2018||July 2021|
|AA||I-95 in Robeson County to South of SR 1118 (Parkton Rd) in Cumberland County - UNDER CON.||48.3||Jan. 2018||July 2021|
|Total Cost for 22.5 Miles:||570.4|
Here's the earlier official NCDOT schedule for the now completed section of the Fayetteville Outer Loop between Fort Bragg and I-95/US 13:7
|Segment||Location||Length||Start date||Completion date|
|B||West of NC 24-87 (Bragg Blvd) to East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd)||1.0 Miles||June 2009||March 2013|
|BC||East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd) to 1.1 Miles East of NC 210||1.1 Miles||March 2011||July 2014|
|BB||West of NC 24-87 (Bragg Blvd) to East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd)-Paving of Sections B and BC||2.1 Miles||Jan. 2013||August 2014|
|CA||1.1 Miles East of NC 210 to East of SR 1600 (McArthur Rd)||2.0 Miles||March 2011||July 2014|
|CB||East of SR 1600 (McArthur Rd) to West of US 401||2.1 Miles||March 2011||July 2014|
|CC||1.1 Miles East of NC 210 to to West of US 401-Paving Sections CA and CB-UNDER CONSTRUCTION||4.1 Miles||March 2014||August 2016|
|DA||West of US 401 to East of SR 1714 (River Road)||3.3 Miles||June 2000||June 2003|
|DB||East of SR 1714 (River Rd) to US 13/I-95||4.8 Miles||August 2003||July 2005|
From US 401 to Cliffdale Drive (New 9/19/20)
Exits 34 to 28 Southbound
Exits 28 to 34 Northbound
Photos taken heading south from Cliffdale Road to US 401/Raeford Road on August 19, 2020 by David Johnson, First heading south:
1-Mile advance sign for Cliffdale Road exit on I-295 South with All Traffic Exit banner now removed.
Exit sign for Cliffdale Road exit on I-295 South with All Traffic Exit banner also now removed.
Heading toward the bridge over Cliffdale Road on newly opened section of I-295 South.
The new South I-295 mile marker after the Cliffdale Road bridge.
The new South I-295 reassurance marker after the Cliffdale Road exit. Also in the distance a Speed Limit 65 sign.
The new 1-Mile advance sign for the US 401/Raeford Road exit on I-295 South, the new southern end of the Fayetteville Outer Loop.
The new 1/2 Mile advance sign for the US 401/Raeford Road, with the All Traffic Exit tab at the end of the Fayetteville Outer Loop.
Construction continues along I-295 approaching the US 401/Raeford Road exit at the last mile marker southbound.
Construction barrels help narrow the travel lanes approaching the current end of I-295 South at US 401/Raeford Road.
Construction continues to complete the I-295 bridge over US 401/Raeford Road as part of the future extension of the Loop to Camden Road.
Construction of bridge for US 401/Raeford Road exit seen heading down exit ramp southbound.
Closeup view of overhead ramp signage approaching US 401/Raeford Road exit at the current end of I-295 South.
View of future bridge over US 401/Raeford Road from the end of the I-295 South exit ramp.
View of future I-295 looking south from US 401/Raeford Road.
Looking further south at future I-295 bridge structures under construction from US 401/Raeford Road.
Now turning around and heading back toward Cliffdale Road:
Approaching the new I-295 North ramp on US 401 South, a Junction I-295 sign awaits the opening of I-295 South.
The overhead signs at the new I-295 North ramp from US 401 South.
Traveling the new 2-lane ramp to I-295 North from US 401 South.
Approaching the end of the new I-295 North ramp from US 401 South with construction continuing of the unopened future highway to the left.
Merging onto the new I-295 North lanes, some work still needed to be completed along the right shoulder.
The new North I-295 reassurance marker followed by the Mile 13 Marker.
The 1-Mile advance sign for Cliffdale Road along I-295 North.
The Mile 14 marker before the 1/2 mile advance sign for Cliffdale Road along I-295 North.
Heading into a curve before the Cliffdale Road exit along I-295 North.
The exit sign for Cliffdale Road, the former southern end of I-295.
Photos taken heading north from Cliffdale Road on June 26, 2020 by David Johnson:
A North NC 295 North trailblazer at the current beginning of the Fayetteville Outer Loop.
View of future I-295 North ramp to Cliffdale Road, next section is supposed to open by late 2020.
Current NC 295 North lanes after merging from ramp from Cliffdale Road.
First North NC 295 reassurance marker placed before installed noise wall.
More of one of the noise walls installed along NC 295 North through Fort Bragg.
The 1/2 mile advance sign for the Canopy Lane exit.
Fort Bragg related fencing can be seen along current NC 295 North approaching the Canopy Lane exit.
The ground mounted exit sign for the Canopy Lane exit.
The gore sign and off-ramp for the Canopy Lane exit.
Another noise wall, this time along the NC 295 lanes after the Canopy Lane exit.
The 1-Mile Arrow-per-Lane (APL) advance sign for the All American Freeway/Bragg Blvd. exit features the first reference to I-295 North.
The 1/2 Mile Arrow-per-Lane (APL) advance sign with the same information, notice the blank space under the I-295 and I-95 shields, will text eventually go there?
The Arrow-per-Lane (APL) sign at the exit ramp, the C/D ramp continues all the way to the Murchison Road exit. This is the last overhead sign reference to I-295 North.
Looking at the beginning of the northbound C/D ramp and flyover ramp to I-295 South.
Overhead signage both along the mainline and the northbound C/D ramp from I-295 North.
Gore signage along the northbound C/D ramp at the split of ramps for the All-American Freeway and Bragg Blvd., from I-295 North.
Two northbound C/D ramps crossing each other for the Bragg Blvd. exit, from I-295 North.
First of 3 North I-295 mile markers between the Bragg Blvd. and Murchison Road exits.
Closer view of the 1-Mile advance sign for the Murchison Road exit (while NC 24/87 travel between Bragg Blvd. and Murchison Road along I-295 North, they never share the I-295 lanes.
Overhead signage for the Murchison Road and Bragg Blvd. exits along the NC 24/87 C/D lanes.
The overhead APL signage at the Murchison Road exit still has a NC 295 shield.
Signage approaching the Murchison Road exit referring to the Fayetteville Outer Loop as the Airborne and Special Operations Highway.
Signage for the Murchison Road exit ramp while the C/D ramp signage is still missing a shield for the pull through part of the APL sign.
This is the last mile marker heading north with an I-295 shield prior to the merge of the ramp from Murchison Road.
The overhead 1-mile advance sign for the McArthur Road interchange on what is officially I-295 North.
The guide sign indicating you are now leaving Fort Bragg (no salutes are necessary) on I-295 North prior to McArthur Road.
The overhead signs at the ramp to McArthur Road South.
A Fayetteville City Limit guide (warning?) sign after McArthur Road.
The ground mounted 1-Mile advance sign for US 401.
The exit sign at the ramp to US 401.
The first of the remaining mile markers which still list North NC 295.
The first of the remaining North NC 295 reassurance markers after the US 401 exit.
The 1-Mile advance sign for the River Road exit.
The 1-Mile advance sign for the last exit for I-95.
Overhead signs at the I-95 exit ramp, including a new End NC 295 trailblazer.
Closeup of overhead signs at the I-95 exit ramp.
The other End NC 295 trailblazer at the beginning of US 13 North, no Begin banner however.
Photos taken of southern I-295 interchange construction from I-95 North on June 19, 2020 by David Johnson:
Wide angle view of conveyor belt system across I-95 to move dirt around future I-295 interchange area.
Dirt pile collected from conveyor belt across I-95 by southbound lanes.
Other side of conveyor belt besides I-95 North lanes.
Workers on top of new I-295 bridge being built over I-95 North.
Construction vehicles parked along graded future I-295 lanes along I-95 South.
View of the second I-295 bridge being built behind the first one from I-95 North.
Looking across the I-95 South lanes at grading of future I-295 lanes underway.
Support being placed along I-95 North for future I-295 ramp.
More bridge supports, here along I-95 South.
Photos taken at the future southern I-95 interchange with I-295 on December 5, 2019 by DanTD:
View of I-95 South heading under bridge prior to I-295 interchange construction zone.
Concrete barrier separates I-95 South traffic from future ramp to I-295 North.
Mile Marker 38 along I-95 South at site of I-295 interchange construction, seeming to indicate that I-295 will be Exit 38.
Start of flyover bridge construction to carry Future I-295 over I-95 South lanes.
View from I-95 South of conveyor belt system aiding in removing dirt from interchange construction area.
Photos taken at the future southern I-95 interchange with I-295 in September 2019 by Adam Prince:
Approaching the construction area for the future I-295 interchange near St. Pauls.
Contractors have cleared land alongside I-95 South for future interchange.
A conveyor belt system is being used to carry excavated dirt across the I-95 lanes as a more efficient method of construction than hundreds of truck trips.
A closer view of the conveyor belt over I-95 South.
View of tree clearing for construction of the I-295 interchange on the other side of I-95.
Photos taken in August 2016 by Rob Adams:
Exit sign on I-95 showing designation as NC 295 and new control city of Fort Bragg, now accessible by Fayetteville Outer Loop. Sign still has NC 295 shield as of June 2020.
Overhead signage along on-ramp from I-95 South showing NC 295 designation and new control city of Fort Bragg.
US 401 exit sign with new exit number tab (28) replacing former 'All Traffic Must Exit' tab.
NC 295 South reassurance marker. Sign plans indicated these were to be accompanied by Future I-295 signs (see sign plans below).
Another reassurance marker beyond the McArthur Road exit showing noise barriers along Outer Loop corridor.
1 Mile Advance sign for Murchison Road exit on NC 295 South showing re-routing of NC 24 West/NC 87 North away from Bragg Blvd.
Overhead signage at end of newly opened section showing signs for both Murchison Road and Bragg Blvd exits (the All American Fwy text should be covered over since the Loop will not extend that far until this December).
Overhead signage at current end of NC 295 at Bragg Blvd. Traffic uses the future C/D lanes to access Bragg Blvd.
Signage along the unfinished C/D ramp directing traffic to Bragg Blvd heading south.
Previously placed guide signage along Bragg Blvd for Loop entrance ramp, now with NC 295 shield.
Another overhead guide sign on Bragg Blvd with newly placed NC 295 shield at the ramp itself.
Overhead exit signage for NC 24/87 exit at the western end of Fayetteville Loop segment with NC 295 exit number in place. Work continuing the Loop to the All-American Freeway (to open in December 2016) and beyond can be seen in the distance.
Closer view of Exit Gore sign with Future 295 number at off-ramp to Bragg Blvd.
Overhead signs at the bottom of the ramp leading from the current western end of the Fayetteville Loop
Guide signage approaching Fayetteville Loop on Bragg Blvd heading North with missing space for future NC 295 (and eventually I-295) shield.
Overhead signage for NC 24/87 approaching entrance to the on-ramp for Future 295 North heading south on Bragg Blvd. The blank space on the left-hand sign is for an NC 295 shield.
Overhead signage for West NC 24 and South NC 87 approaching Fayetteville Loop interchange on NC 210 North with missing NC 295 (future I-295) shield.
West NC 24 and South NC 87 trailblazers approaching Fayetteville Loop overpass on NC 210 heading north under overpass.
South NC 295 reassurance marker beyond I-95 exit. By late 2014 all the Future I-295 shields were taken down on the Loop and at exit ramps and replaced with NC 295 signs (2/5/15). Courtesy of Dan Murphy.
Original sign assembly at the then beginning of the Outer Loop at US 401, showing the future I-295 signage, none of the Future 295 shields had a directional banner. (Feb. 2005)
View going eastbound just west of the US 401 interchange headed toward the bridge over the Cape Fear River. (Feb. 2005)
View from the Cape Fear River bridge with the first sign for the River Road exit, where the Outer Loop ended before the next section was completed in July 2008. Notice the narrowness of the right and, particularly the left shoulders, which appear to not meet Interstate standards. (Feb. 2005) The exits did not have numbers, these were installed when the next section of the Loop to Bragg Blvd. was completed.
Then new signage at the Outer Loop interchange at River Road, the only previous marker at the ramp was a street sign listing Future 295 (July 2005).
Here's signage at the end of Northbound Future I-295 at the I-95 interchange. There is a high-speed flyover to I-95 North (Photo courtesy of Adam Prince).
An End 295/Begin US 13 sign at the eastern (northern) end of the Loop, beyond the I-95 interchange. (July 2005)
Signage at the original end of the Loop going westbound (south) at US 401 (notice the 0 on the shield doesn't quite mix with the other numbers (photo courtesy of Adam Prince).
NCDOT originally petitioned to have this roadway designated as I-195. The odd-number designation as an interstate spur route probably was chosen (at least as a temporary designation) because a funding source was not secured at the time to construct the entire 35-mile loop. The I-195 designation, however, was rejected by AASHTO in June 2003. Later in that year funds were secured to start planning to extend the route further south, making it a true loop back to I-95.9 NCDOT then decided the route should be called I-295 and this number subsequently appeared on several NCDOT publications.* AASHTO followed the FHWA's lead and approved the I-295 number designation at the May 6, 2005 meeting of the organization's Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (USRN).10
Though the Interstate 295 number was now official, NCDOT first signed the road as Future I-295. This was probably due to design aspects of the highway that do not meet interstate standards (such as the narrow shoulders on the Cape Fear River bridge (noted in the photo above) and the US 13 interchange (see photo below) which does not at present allow freeway to freeway access from I-95 North, nor as of 2020, allow traffic to take a left turn onto the Loop from I-95 North, traffic must take a right and turn around at the next intersection. The upcoming I-95 widening project in the area includes a reconstruction of the interchange to include a new ramp from I-95 North which will take traffic over US 13 and then to the current I-295 North flyover ramp where I-295 south traffic would take another ramp back over I-95 to meet the current I-95 South ramp, from the I-95 project documents in May 2020 (a considerable alteration from a former flyover ramp design from I-95 North to I-295 South):
Despite this, NCDOT insisted that when the route was completed to US 401, it would be signed as I-295. However, in May 2014 NCDOT released plans for the final contract needed to complete the loop to the All-American freeway. Apparently, the FHWA, either due to the design aspects, or because funding was incomplete to build the entire 34 mile loop, indicated they could not approve the interstate designation. The sign plans now had the route signed as NC 295, even where earlier plans had shown I-295 signs (see below). By the end of 2014 NCDOT had changed all Future 295 signage between I-95 and US 401 to NC 295, including on the exit sign on I-95.11 NCDOT had plans, however, to post Future I-295 signs alongside the NC 295 signs on the Loop when the route to the All American Freeway was completed, perhaps indicating the NCDOT belief that the FHWA decision will change later on. However, those signed were never posted as shown in the photos above.12
NCDOT Asks for I-295, Again
In September 2018, the AASHTO USRN published applications for its upcoming Fall Meeting in October. Among the 3 from NCDOT were two asking that the existing NC 295 from I-95 to the All American Freeway be signed as I-295 and for the rest of the route, currently under construction, to be designated as Future I-295.13 The I-295 application mentions the previous approval of the Future I-295 designation, that the route is up to Interstate Standards, and provides an important link between Fort Bragg and I-95. The Interstate Standards reference is questionable, as cited above due to both the bridge over the Cape Fear River and the interchange with I-95 that includes stop signs and left turns, and now a redesigned ramp from I-95 North which makes traffic heading for NC 295 South to take a right on US 13 then make a U-Turn. The application also implies that AASHTO never asked that the previous Future I-295 signs be removed, meaning it was either the FHWA of NCDOT itself. On September 20, AASHTO approved the application, no concurrence by the FHWA required (the NCDOT application stated the FHWA had given a favorable opinion on the addition of the route to the interstate system back in 2003). In May 2019, the FHWA added I-295 to its official Auxiliary Interstate Route log.14 In November 2019, NCDOT put up I-295 shields along the I-95 to All-American Freeway section after the section to Cliffdale Road.15 On April 21, 2020, NCDOT posted a route change memorandum indicating NC 295 was officially to be signed along the Loop south of Cliffdale Road, indicating the approval came way back in August 2019. The document included a map implying the remainder north to I-95 is signed I-295, but it is unknown whether though the interstate shields have gone up on this section of the Loop, a press release issued in June 2020 stated NC 295 ran from Cliffdale Road to I-95.16 On April 21, 2020, NCDOT officially released a route change ordinance document stating that NC 295 ran from the All-American Freeway south to Cliffdale Road.17 However, when the section opened between Cliffdale Road and Raeford Road/US 401 in August 2020, NCDOT signed the route as I-295 and stated the earlier section between the All-American Freeway and Cliffdale Road would be signed as I-295 as well. The remaining NC 295 signs were to be replaced by I-295 shields 'eventually' at an unknown future date.2
* Though several other route numbers appear for the Loop on other documents. The official 2005 state highway map listed it as NC 13. NCDOT called the route the 'NC 24 extension' on its contract listing for the US 301 to I-95 section in previous TIP documents.
Here's Future I-295's first appearance on a map, the 2006 North Carolina State Transportation Map, that is. In anticipation of the current 'demotion' of the route to NC 295, that designation appeared on the Loop on the 2013-2014 state map.
This photo shows that traffic coming from I-95 south must take a left turn crossing the west- (south) bound Loop. (courtesy of Adam Prince)
Before the budget problems cropped up construction of the next section from US 401 to the Bragg Blvd. was scheduled to start in late 2008. With the passage of the economic stimulus bill in February 2009, NCDOT got $385 million for highway construction, the project was then split up into three contracts: X-0002BC, X-0002CA, and X-0002CB. Only one of which qualified as a 'shovel-ready' project and could start using the stimulus funds. Construction was started on a 1.5 mile (2.5 km) section from west of Bragg Blvd. to Murchison Road in July 2009. This section is separated from the completed section east of US 421 by 3 miles and was completed in 2013.1 This project did not include, however, final paving, structures, and signing which were let in a separate contract in October 2012. Work started in January 2013 and the segment was opened on Monday, August 4, 2016.4
The next part of the project was at the western end, 1/2 mile from Bragg Blvd. to the All-American Freeway, started in the fall of 2009. This project, like that between US 401 and NC 210, was meant only to build the highway to a graded surface. Paving of this part of the highway and the building of the remainder east from Murchison Road to connect to US 401 was put off until this project was completed in March 2014.18 The paving contract (C203361) was let on June 17, 2014, with work starting on August 25, 2014. Work was completed in December 2016.19 Work also started on a small (about 1.2 mile or 1.9 km) segment of the Loop (Contract C202829) west of the All American Freeway in November 2011. This segment will extend the Loop to just east of Yadkin Road and, was completed by December 2015, since there was no interchange on the south end of this project, it was not opened until the Cliffdale Road segments was completed to the south.20
Here are some of the signs that have been posted, or were planned to be posted, along the future length of the Fayetteville Outer Loop. With the approval of the I-295 designation, the I-295 shields that were dropped from the plans below have reappeared:
Here is an early plan for the exit signage for the All-American Freeway. Notice the reference to I-295 and the lack of an official exit number. NCDOT has been petitioned to designate the All-American Freeway as NC 555, but this number had not been approved as of December 2014.
Here is the first sign plan for signage at the end of the Bragg Blvd-Murchison Road segment, with then planned I-295 North sign.
This was the plan for signage at Murchison Road.
Here is the latest signage plan for the same area with the change from I to NC 295.
Recent sign plan for Bragg Blvd/All-American Freeway Exit, with Exit number, plans are to close the main entrance to Bragg Blvd by 2016, and so, West NC 24 and North NC 87 are to be rerouted along the Loop to Murchison Road/NC 210. The connection to the All-American Freeway won't open until July 2015, it will thus be covered over until then
The previous plan for signage at the Bragg Blvd interchange. Note the future planned placement of an I-295 South pull-through sign.
Here is the most recent plan for signage for the All-American Freeway with the new NC 295 designation.
One of the recent sign plans shows the re-designation of the Loop from Future I-295 to NC 295, this will be the new signage on I-95.
Here's the planned signage for the Loop itself, NC 295 reassurance markers paired with Future I-295 signs.
Until late 2011 construction on the rest of the Loop, even with a continued significant proportion ($258 million, 19% for current construction) of highway trust fund moneys available,4 was to be a decade or more away.21 However, in the fall of 2011 the NC government announced its intention of funding construction of additional priority highways, which would include I-295. One of two segments under construction in mid-2020, from Cliffdale Road to US 401 was started under a design-build contract awarded to Barnhill Contracting Co. in August 2016, work included replacement of an existing bridge over Bones Creek. NCDOT indicated in June 2019 that the route will be open by the fall of 2020,21 but work ground to a halt during the second half of 2019. Work resumed in early 2020 and was completed 3 months ahead of schedule in August 2020. Meanwhile, NCDOT announced the $129.7 million contract to build the segment from Camden Road to I-95 in December 2017. Work started on January 2, 2018 and is planned to be completed by June 2022, it will include an interchange at Parkton Road. As of the end of February 2021, the project was over 1/2 finished at 57.5% complete.22 Drivers on I-95 started to notice in late summer 2019 a conveyor belt being built over the roadway. This will carry dirt being excavated for the I-295 interchange across to the east side of the interstate where it will be carried elsewhere, preventing over 100,000 truck trips that would have been needed to do the same job.23 (A photo can be found here). The remaining segment, from US 401/Raeford Road to Camden Road, as indicated in the table at the top of the page, was to be let in January 2019, however, due to litigation over Right-of-Way issues this was delayed until May. In December 2018, NCDOT decided to split the contract with the northern segment (TIP U-2519BB) between US 401 and Strickland Road to be let in May 2019 and the remainder between Strickland Road and Camden Road (TIP U-2519BA) to be let in October 2019, dubbing it a 'strategic letting'.24 However, in April 2019, the projects disappeared completely from the 12-Month Tentative Letting List, no reason given.25 The project later appeared in the August 2019 to July 2020 list for July 2020. This delay pushed back the original NCDOT timeline, which would probably have meant completion by the end of 2023. As indicated above, this project was suspended due to COVID-19 related financial issues in the spring of 2020. The press release about the opening of the Cliffdale Road to Raeford Road section indicated the project is now to be let in August 2022.2
The proposed path and potential interchanges for the to be built sections are in the map below:5
The plans for the US 401 to Murchison Road section indicated the route will become full I-295 upon the project's completion and also listed exit numbers that will be placed at all interchanges from the vicinity of Bragg Blvd back to I-95. The new 2014 project plans indicated the route will be signed as NC 295 and slightly altered the exit numbers. Exit numbers appeared on the segment between Bragg Blvd. and Murchison Road by December 2015. The remaining exit numbers were installed after the segment from US 401 to Murchison Road opened on August 11, 2016.
The Exit number plan, including the now opened section to Cliffdale
Road.12 Completed Sections
as of March 2021:
Exit 34 Interstate 95
Exit 28 US 401
Exits 25A-B McArthur Rd
Exit 23 NC 210 Murchison Rd
NC 24 NC 27 Bragg Blvd
Exit 21A-B All-American Freeway
Exit 18 Canopy Ln to Reilly Rd
Exit 15 Cliffdale Rd
Exit 12 US 401/Raeford
Exit 6* Camden Road
Exit 3* Parkton Road
Exit 1 Interstate 95
*Unofficial, based on distances from project documents.