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 February 2023, almost 26 miles are open to traffic. The latest section to open is a short 2-mile stretch from Parkton Road and Black Bridge Road at the southern end of he Loop, separated from the rest. Previously, a section from Cliffdale Road to Raeford Road (US 401) opened 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 was then assumed that the rest of the Loop back to I-295 would have its signs changed from NC 295 to I-295 in the not too distant future. According to NCDOT the contractor, Traffic Control Safety Services Inc. of Winston-Salem had until the spring of 2022 to complete the sign upgrades.6 All signs eventually went up as of April 21, 2022. (with a few exceptions, see photos below) This image from City of Fayetteville video shows a new 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 2016.7 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 2020.8 This meant the project did not start until August 2022 and that the entire Loop now won't be finished now until at least mid-2026, a year later than the original date cited in 2014. The section between Strickland Bridge Road and I-95 will be signed as NC 295 until the last segment is completed. Each of these projects are discussed in greater detail below in the Current and Future Construction section.
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 in 2020. Since this was published the completion dates for Segments AA and AB have been delayed until July 2024 and BA and BB are now set for July 2026:
|East of SR 1415 (Clearwater Blvd) to West of NC 24/27 (Bragg Blvd) - COMPLETED
|South of SR 1400 (Cliffdale Rd) to East of SR 1415 (Clearwater Blvd) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
|South of US 401 to South of SR 1400 (Cliffdale Rd) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
|South of SR 1104 (Strickland Bridge Rd) to South of US 401 (ROW in Progress)
|South of SR 1003 (Camden Rd) to South of SR 1104 (Strickland Bridge Rd) (ROW in Progress)
|South of SR 1118 (Parkton Rd) to South of SR 1003 (Camden Rd) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
|I-95 in Robeson County to South of SR 1118 (Parkton Rd) in Cumberland County - UNDER CON.
|Total Cost for 22.5 Miles:
Here's the earlier official NCDOT schedule for the now completed section of the Fayetteville Outer Loop between Fort Bragg and I-95/US 13:8
|West of NC 24-87 (Bragg Blvd) to East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd)
|East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd) to 1.1 Miles East of NC 210
|West of NC 24-87 (Bragg Blvd) to East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd)-Paving of Sections B and BC
|1.1 Miles East of NC 210 to East of SR 1600 (McArthur Rd)
|East of SR 1600 (McArthur Rd) to West of US 401
|1.1 Miles East of NC 210 to to West of US 401-Paving Sections CA and CB-UNDER CONSTRUCTION
|West of US 401 to East of SR 1714 (River Road)
|East of SR 1714 (River Rd) to US 13/I-95
by Gregarious Drivers of Greensboro, Part 1 Part 2 (New
Filmed by Roadway Wiz during the summer of 2021 (new):
Exits 12 to 21 Northbound Exits 21 to 12 Southbound
Exits 21 to 28 Northbound Exits 28 to 21 Southbound
Exits 28 to 34 Northbound Exits 34 to 28 Southbound
NEW, Photos by David Gallo at the US 401/Raeford Road interchange, January 2024
I-295 North control city on overhead sign on US 401 South changed to Fort Liberty.
Closeup of completed I-295 North bridge over US 401.
Under the completed US 401 North bridge with the southbound bridge to the right.
Completed ramp from I-295 North to US 401 South about to head under the bridge on the right.
Looking up the future ramp from I-295 North to US 401, future exit sign gantry already installed.
Traffic from US 401 using 2-lane ramp to access I-295 North.
Google Maps Street View images along I-95 at both I-295 interchanges, August 2023
New signage due to I-95 widening at north end of I-295:
The new overhead exit sign for South I-295/North US 13 on I-95 South. Notice there has been no change to Fort Liberty at that time. Heading in the other direction...
The new 1 1/2 Miles advance sign for the South I-295/North US 13 exit on I-95 North. The sign reflects the completion of a new ramp to I-295 North that has not opened yet.
The new 1 Mile advance overhead. Signs in this direction also still refer to Fort Bragg. These signs were put between April and August.
The one remaining old sign lets drivers know there is still only the one ramp for both South I-295 and North US 13 heading northbound. The support for the future sign is behind it.
The new gore sign however has the suffix for the future North US 13 only exit.
The future exit sign for the new South I-295 exit is covered up.
The connection from I-95 North to the new South I-295 exit ramp is still to be constructed.
Southern Interchange construction, Google Maps Street View images from June 2023:
The future I-295 North ramp leaving from a future widened I-95 North.
A closer look at the construction after the future I-295 North ramp. The conveyor belt across I-95 has been partially disassembled with work complete.
The future widened I-95 North lanes heading towards the completed future I-295 bridges.
A closer look at the future I-295 bridges over I-95 North.
Turning around and approaching the future I-295 North ramp leaving from a future widened I-95 South.
Approaching the future I-295 North ramp from I-95 South. It appears at least 2 new lanes are being built here.
Meanwhile, Google Maps has jumped the gun and shows the southern I-295 interchange as open, here's a screen grab from October 2023:
Images from Google Maps Street View along the new section of NC 295 starting at Parkton Road, March 2023
Pair of NC 295 trailblazers, North uncovered, along Parkton Road approaching recently opened section of Fayetteville Outer Loop north to Black Bridge Road.
North NC 295 trailblazer along Parkton Road approaching roundabout and northbound on-ramp.
North NC 295 trailblazer at Parkton Road roundabout entrance to northbound on-ramp.
A North NC 295 reassurance marker merging onto the Outer Loop from Parkton Road.
The first guide sign after Parkton Road is one indicating entering Cumberland County.
The 1 Mile advance sign for the Black Bridge Road exit, Exit 4.
The mile markers are temporarily signed for North and South NC 295, for at least 3 more years.
The exit sign for Black Bridge Road with temporary signage indicating all traffic needs to exit.
The gore sign at the Black Bridge Road exit ramp.
The pair of NC 295 trailblazers on Black Bridge Road, the South one uncovered this time approaching the roundabout and open southbound ramp.
The 1/2 Mile advance sign for Parkton Road is one indicating entering Cumberland County.
The sign southbound indicating entering Robeson County approaching the current end of South NC 295 at Parkton Road.
A southbound NC 295 mile marker prior to the Parkton Road exit.
The Parkton Road exit sign and All Traffic exit signage at the southern end of NC 295.
The gore sign for the Parkton Road exit, but not the last exit sign heading south.
There is a 1 1/2 mile advance sign for the I-95 North exit awaiting the opening of the final section beyond Parkton Road
Google Maps images from I-95 showing progress constructing the future interchange with the Fayetteville Outer Loop, February and March 2023
View from I-95 North showing progress in constructing the future I-295 North exit ramp. Notice in the distance that the conveyor built to shift excavated dirt around the interchange has been partially dismantled.
View from I-95 North approaching the competed future I-295 North bridges. Turning around...
View from I-95 South of I-295 North exit ramp construction on the other side of the bridge.
View of the completed future I-295 North bridge over I-95 South.
Google Maps Street View images from other intersecting roadways, March 2023:
View of the completed NC 295 bridge crossing over US 301 in St. Pauls.
View of completed NC 295 bridge over Waldo's Bridge Road north of the current end of the highway at Black Bridge Road.
View of construction around the future site of the Loop's interchange with Camden Road looking north.
Images from Google Maps Street View at the I-295 exit off of I-95, November 2022 to January 2023:
Newly placed overhead 2 Miles advance overhead sign for I-295/US 13 exit on I-95 South, currently being widened, notice the removal of To US 401 text.
Signs along the ramp from I-95 North still indicate NC 295, not I-295 as of December 2022.
There is also still a NC 295 shield at the end of US 13 approaching the ramp to I-95 South.
Newly placed overhead sign along ramp to I-295 and US 13 exits from I-95 South, as seen from I-95 North lanes in November 2022.
Images of I-295 signage from Google Maps Street View taken between May 2022 and January 2023, going north to south:
The first South I-295 reassurance marker after the I-95 interchange.
The 2 miles advance sign on I-295 North for the I-95 exit, the interchange being reconstructed as part of the I-95 widening project between Fayetteville and I-40 in Benson.
The next exit is River Road one of the original exits.
The second South I-295 reassurance marker after the River Road exit, there did not appear to be any headed north.
A South I-295 trailblazer along River Road, here the To US 401 information remains.
The corresponding North I-295 ramp signage on River Road which includes references to I-95 and US 13.
A North I-295 reassurance marker after the US 401 interchange.
The US 401 exit sign on I-295 South, the original end of the Loop.
I-295 ramp signage along US 401 North, all signage with Fort Bragg will have to be changed when the name of the base is changed, perhaps later this year.
The I-295 ramp signage now along US 401 South.
The South I-295 reassurance marker after the US 401 exit.
A brown sign for attractions at the McArthur Road North exit.
Overhead signage at the ramp for the McArthur Road North exit.
As overhead sign for attractions at the McArthur Road North exit headed north on I-295.
The South I-295 reassurance marker after the McArthur Road exits.
This South I-295 trailblazer at the Murchison Road on-ramp is accompanied by ones for NC 24 and 87.
Heading the other way is an overhead sign for the I-295 North ramp.
The North I-295 reassurance marker after the Murchison Road interchange.
Instead of changing all the plain mile markers to ones with I-295 shields, they decided instead to replace the I-295 ones that existed between the Bragg Blvd. and Murchison Road exits with the plain variety, see older photos for previous version.
Overheads along the C/D ramp northbound between Bragg Blvd and Murchison Road now have I-295 shields, here at the Bragg Blvd exit.
Also here approaching the Murchison Road exit.
Also at the Murchison Road exit which didn't have any shield previously (see older photo, below).
The South I-295 trailblazer at the Cliffdale Road on-ramp.
Heading the other way and the trailblazer at the I-295 North ramp.
Photo by NCDOT showing opened section from Parkton/Leeper Road to Black Bridge Road on November 21, 2022 from Parkton Road bridge:
Photos taken by LC along the soon to be opened section between Parkton/Leeper Roads and Black Bridge Road on November 6, 2022:
Similar to photo above, looking north over nearly completed section of Fayetteville Outer Loop from Parkton Road bridge.
Looking south from Parkton Road bridge towards I-95, not to be completed until 2024.
Approaching new Parkton Road roundabout at future ramp to the Outer Loop heading south.
A closer look heading east on Parkton Road of roundabout for the southbound Outer Loop.
Temporarily blocked ramp to the Fayetteville Outer Loop heading north from Parkton Road.
Looking along the new Parkton Road bridge over the soon to be open section of Outer Loop.
Looking east along the new Parkton Road bridge.
View of Black Bridge Road approaching new roundabout for soon to open ramps for section of Fayetteville Outer Loop headed south to Parkton/Leeper Roads.
View of from roundabout of future ramp to Fayetteville Outer Loop.
Looking north from Black Bridge Road bridge toward incomplete section to Camden Road.
Now looking south from new Black Bridge Road bridge along soon to open section of the Outer Loop headed south to Parkton/Leeper Roads.
Looking east along the Black Bridge Road bridge toward one of the new ramp roundabouts.
Looking west over the Black Bridge Road bridge and new roundabout with the soon to open ramps for section of the Outer Loop headed south.
Road Closed sign in front of on-ramp from the Outer Loop headed north to Black Bridge Road and its new connection to Old Plank Road.
View from roundabout at soon to open ramp to Loop headed south to Parkton/Leeper Roads.
Photos taken by Val Melvin of new I-295 signs along US 401 north of Fayetteville on April 21, 2022:
New I-295 shields placed along US 401 prior to I-295 North ramp.
New I-295 shields placed along US 401 prior to I-295 North ramp.
2 Miles advance sign for the Fayetteville Loop still with NC 295 shield. I-95 is currently being widened in NC between Fayetteville and I-40 in Benson.
The exit sign for the Fayetteville Loop also still with NC 295 shield.
Future I-295 South exit ramp, being built as part of I-95 widening paralleling current ramp with sign still having NC 295 shield.
The NC 295 South reassurance marker still stands at start of Fayetteville Loop after the I-95 exit.
A NC 295 North reassurance marker still standing after the River Road exit.
The mile markers also still have NC 295 shields on them north of the Murchison Road exit.
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. This was removed in the spring of 2022 when the road was re-designated I-295, but was not replaced (The next one is still in place after the Canopy Lane exit, seen on a Street View image from November 2022).
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, all were replaced by plain ones in 2022.
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-95.10 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).11
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 a new ramp from I-95 South, 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-95.12 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.13
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-295.14 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 or 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.15 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 On July 14, 2021, NCDOT announced a contract had been approved that would re-sign the Loop from I-95 to the All-American Freeway as I-295 using shield overlays on existing signs (see sign plans below). The contractor could start work in August and had to be complete by March 2022. It appeared all signs were up by mid-April, with some exceptions (see photos).6
* 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 2014.19 The paving contract (C203361) was let on June 17, 2014, with work starting on August 25, 2014. Work was completed in December 2016.20 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.21
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.
From US 401 south to I-95. The section from Camden Road to I-95 will be completed first and signed temporarily as NC 295. Sign plans for the Camden Road to US 401 section indicate the shields will be changed to I-295 when completed:
Signs on I-295 North at the exit ramp for Strickland Bridge Road.
Plan for Camden Road exit sign along I-295 South.
Plans for mile marker switch on I-295 South and exit sign for Black Bridge Road.
Plans for overhead sign at split of ramps for I-95 North and South at end of I-295 South. Only I-95 South will get an exit number.
Plans for overhead APL sign on I-95 North showing eventual NC 295 shield replacement with I-295 when entire loop is complete.
Signing the Loop as I-295
After almost 4 years since the 2018 approval of the I-295 designation for the entire Loop, I-295 shields have replaced NC 295 ones on existing exit and ramp signs. Here are the plans for the contract that was completed in April 2022:
Here is the latest plan for placing an I-295 shield over the existing NC 295 shield for the exit signs on I-95.
Here is the plan for placing new I-295 shields at the ramps for the River Road exit.
Here is the plan for placing new I-295 shields on existing signage at the on-ramps at US 401.
Here is the plan for placing new I-295 shields along the C/D ramps for the Murchison Road exit.
Here is a 2020 plan for the exit signage along I-295 at the Bragg Blvd. exit for I-295 South and All-American Freeway. .
Here is a 2020 plan for the exit signage for I-295 on the All-American Freeway. Notice, like the previous 2013 plan I posted the reference to a future official exit number. NCDOT has been petitioned to designate the All-American Freeway as NC 555 back in 2014, but this number was never approved.
Here was the original plan for signage at the end of the Bragg Blvd-Murchison Road segment, with then planned I-295 North sign.
This is the new plan at Murchison Road from August 2019.
Here was the previous signage plan for the same area with the change from I to NC 295 in 2014.
Plan for how mile markers will also be updated by overlaying small I-295 shields over the NC 295 ones.
The previous plan for signage at the Bragg Blvd interchange. Note the future planned placement of an I-295 South pull-through sign.
Here was the previous plan for signage for the All-American Freeway with the then new NC 295 designation.
Here was the planned signage for the Loop itself in 2014, NC 295 reassurance markers were to be paired with Future I-295 signs. These signs were never put up.
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 2020,22 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 was originally planned to be completed by June 2022, it includes interchanges at Parkton Road and Black Bridge Road. As of the end of March 2022 the project was listed as 85.6% complete, however at the end of April it was listed only as 53.5%. This apparently was not a typo, since at the end of January 2024 the project was listed only as 84.1% complete. Something again must have happened to increase the cost and scope of the project. Something similar happened in the spring of 2021, when the % complete went down by about 20% in month, but the percentage number went back up above 80% by the end of the year.23 The completion date was moved in early 2021 to December 2024, and in early 2023 to July 2025. However, a 2-mile section from Parkton Road at the Robeson/Cumberland County border to Black Bridge Road was opened on November 21, 2022. At that time NCDOT indicated the remaining parts of this section, north to Camden Road, and south to I-95 would open in the summer of 2024.24 In August 2023 however, in a news release about a street closure related to completing the Camden Road interchange, NCDOT indicated that the section south of Camden Road to Black Bridge Road could open by mid-2024.25 They also furnished a photo taken the week of August 14 of the Camden Road interchange:
The remainder would be completed in 2026. Google Maps in April 2024 added the entire completed section (including unopened lanes north to Waldo's Beach Road and south to I-95) though it's erroneously labeled as Garrison Drive not NC 295:
Drivers on I-95 started to notice in late summer 2019 a conveyor belt being built over the roadway. This carried dirt being excavated for the I-295 interchange across to the east side of the interstate where it was carried elsewhere until late 2021, preventing over 100,000 truck trips that would have been needed to do the same job.26 (Photos of construction in this area can be found here). As for the remaining segment from US 401/Raeford Road to Camden Road, a news article from early March 2022 indicated a small section south of Raeford Road to near Century Circle would open during the summer, though there's no interchange at that location.27 The contract for the remaining part of the segment to just south of 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'.28 However, in April 2019, the projects disappeared completely from the 12-Month Tentative Letting List, no reason given. 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 was now to be let in August 2022.2 Since that time, however, both parts of the project has been accelerated to be let in June 2022. NCDOT advertised the availability of the project on April 19, 2022 and announced on July 8 that he project would be awarded to Branch Civil Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia for $152 million.The project will build the interchange with Camden Road plus one at Strickland Bridge Road. Work started in August 2022 and as of January 27, 2024 is over a third complete at 37.9%. Work is scheduled to be completed in early 2027.29
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.
I-295 EXIT LIST
Exit numbers, including for the now opened section from Parkton Road
to Black Bridge Road, going south to north.12
* (To be partially open in mid-2024)
*Not Completed Exits as of August 2023
**Fort Bragg became Fort Liberty in
2023, the City of Fayetteville is currently discussing a name change
for Bragg Blvd.