Interstate 42 is
a 137 mile planned interstate route from I-40 south of Raleigh to
Morehead City mostly along existing US 70. AASHTO gave approval to the
number in May 2016, though originally NCDOT asked that the route be
designated I-36, after the corridor was granted interstate status under
the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Highway Act.
Here's the corridor map as submitted in its AASHTO application:1
This page will
summarize the progress in building and signing the route from west to
east. The projected completion date for the entire route is 2032.2
The first segment to receive I-42 signage will be the Goldsboro Bypass.
I've broken the route into 8 segments with a description of the progress
of constructing I-42 in each:
3, 2020: The financial shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has
resulted in NCDOT delaying or postponing some I-42 related projects, the
updated dates are below.
US 70 Clayton
Interstate Standard Freeway Length:
[Except for I-42 Signage]
This segment could be signed as I-42 today. NCDOT perhaps is waiting,
however to sign it until projects further east to I-95 in Smithfield are
completed. Photos from this segment are in the Photos section below.
US 70 from End of
Clayton Bypass to Beginning of US 70 Goldsboro Bypass (includes Bypass
US 70 in Smithfield)
Road Type: 4-lane
Divided Roadway with some Freeway Sections Length:
Upgrade to Interstate Status
There are two funded projects and one feasibility study underway to
upgrade this section of US 70:
The first will upgrade 5 miles of US 70 to Interstate Standards from US
70 Business to the Neuse River Bridge (W-5600) , NCDOT will replace the
current US 70 intersections with Wilson Mills Road and Swift Creek Road
with interchanges starting in the spring of 2021. Originally the plan was
to award the contract in September 2020, however, due to COVID funding
issues, the contract letting was postponed until March 2021. The plan is
to have US 70 be carried on a bridge over Wilson Mills Road while a bridge
will carry Swift Creek Road over US 70. A connector road paralleling US 70
between the two roads will also be built. The total cost for the Wilson
Mills interchanges is estimated at $77 million.3
Here's a map of the project area:4
NCDOT advertised the W-5600 contract on January 16, 2021. Among the sign
plans included those for the new exit signs for Swift Creek and Wilson
Mills Road, along with the new signs for the Business 70 exit westbound:5
The second project will upgrade US 70 to Interstate Standards in
Princeton Area (R-5829AB) from US 70A to Goldsboro Bypass Design Build
Projects. Project A to start in 2025, Project B in 2028.*
Here's a map of the project area:6
A Feasibility Study (FS-1604A) was published in August 2018 for
determining how to upgrade the remaining section between the Neuse River
Bridge and Smithfield. It split the segment into 4 sections and compared
the cost of simply upgrading shoulders to a complete upgrade to interstate
standards of the existing route. The upgrade option was the preferred
alternative, though they suggested maybe simply upgrading shoulders could
get the route signed as I-42 for Sections 1 and 2, that is from the end of
the Clayton Bypass to Creech's Mill Road in Smithfield (includes I-95
interchange) . Here's a Link
to the Report. Construction Date TBD. Here's a map of the study
There are also several pavement upgrade projects for US 70 in Johnston
County which may be part of I-42, depending on what final alignment is
chosen, including a project C204333 (TIP No. I-6044) that will, as part of
the project, reconstruct US 70 Bypass and other portions of US 70. Here is
a map of the project area and 2 of the 4 work zones, work started in
August 2019 and was scheduled to be completed in October 2020, the project
no longer appeared on NCDOT's Construction Progress Report website as of
typical section plan showing shoulders varying from 2 to 10 feet.
Rumble strips will also be added to Bypass 70 section, the only
section that is currently a freeway:8
US 70 Goldsboro
Interstate Standard Freeway Length: 21.7 Miles
[Except for I-42 Signage, expected in near future(?)]
The Super 70 Commission Director reported in his January/February 2019
message that the FHWA has approved signing the US 70 Goldsboro Bypass as
I-42.9 It is unknown when NCDOT will sign it. There are no
projects listed at either the state or division level related to I-42.
There was some conjecture that NCDOT will apply to AASHTO at their Fall
2019 meeting to decommission Bypass US 70 on the Goldsboro Bypass and ask
that it be replaced by I-42, however that didn't happen. A future request
would reduce the amount of sign changes that would be needed.
Existing US 70
from NC 903 in LaGrange, to be built Kinston 'Shallow' Bypass, and
upgraded US 70 to Dover
Upgrade to Interstate Freeway (part to be built on new location)
Length: 21.1 Miles
Construction was to start in 2020 (US 70 Freeway) and 2027 (Bypass),
however due to COVID-19 related budget shortfalls, the projects now
won't start until after 2029.
In April 2018, NCDOT announced 12 possible alternative routes for the
Kinston Bypass Project (R-2553) that will run from the end of the US 70
Goldsboro Bypass near LaGrange to the beginning of the US 70 freeway in
Dover. Here was a map of the possible alternatives:10
NCDOT held a public hearing in Kinston on August 31, 2019 allowing the
public to weigh in on the possible routings. Many Lenoir County businesses
and officials supported the 'Shallow Bypass' or Alternative 1SB which
would have the Bypass follow existing US 70 for 14.6 of the 21.1 miles in
this segment, the remainder would be on a new 6.5 mile bypass close to the
existing US 70 and its businesses.
Here's a map of the chosen alternative:
The pre-COVID timeline for the project was for right-of-way acquisition
to start in 2023, presuming the environmental impact statement is approved
in 2021. Construction would then have started in 2027. The western section
of the bypass follows current U.S. 70 for approximately 7 miles to just
east of NC 148 (CF Harvey Parkway). Interchanges would be located at
Willie Measley/Jim Sutton roads, Albert Sugg/Barwick Station roads, and NC
148. A new interchange east of NC 148 would provide access to the
new shallow bypass section, which would be parallel existing U.S. 70 to
the south for approximately 6.5 miles. Interchanges along the Bypass would
be located at NC 11/NC 55, US 258 (South Queen Street), and at NC 58
(Trenton Highway). A new interchange east of Lenoir Community College
would connect the shallow bypass back to existing U.S. 70. The bypass
would then follow existing U.S. 70 to the end of the project near Dover,
upgrading US 70 to a freeway with interchanges at Wyse Fork /Caswell
Station Roads and Old U.S. 70 (West Kornegay Street) in Dover.11 Meanwhile,
a project that will resurface and upgrade 3.1 miles of the existing US 70
freeway to Interstate Standards from the Bear Creek Bridge at the end of
the Goldsboro Bypass to Willie Measley Road east of LaGrange (Project
I-6034) was to be let in September 2019, but in July 2019 that was pushed
back to March 2020, the project then disappeared from the March 2020
Letting list in February, also a COVID related postponement.
US 70 Freeway
from Dover to New Bern
Freeway Length: 26.1 Miles
Upgrade to Interstate Status (Underway), to be Completed in March 2021
NCDOT awarded a contract in the Spring of 2019 to repave and widen US 70
to interstate standards along the existing freeway between Dover and the
Neuse River Bridge in New Bern. Work is now not to be completed until the
spring of 2021. July 2020 Google Maps Street View images show that all of
the US 70 shoulder work has been completed, work is now proceeding on
upgrading exit and entrance ramps, most recently (August 2020) in the new
Here's a map of the project location:12
As of November 7, 2020 the project is 94.4% complete but the official
completion date has been pushed back further again from March 1 to March
15, 2021.13 Signing of the section will not occur until the
Kinston Bypass and related construction to the east are completed.
See the progress
in shoulder widening as of May 2019 along US 70 west of New Bern using Google Maps Street View.
US 70 Neuse
River Bridge to Havelock Bypass
4-lane Divided Roadway Length: 13.7 Miles
Upgrade/New Construction to Interstate Freeway
A 2-Part Project: First is from Neuse River Bridge to Thurman Road,
(U-5713/R-5777AB, 5.1 Miles). Start of Construction-2021 Completion-2023
(Design/Build Project was awarded in September 2019 and work started on
October 22.12 As of November 22, 2020 work is 13.5% complete.14
Part of contract that is creating interchange at Thurman Road already
under construction along with another interchange with Glen Burnie Road.)
Map of Project Corridor:16
Second is Thurman Road to Havelock Bypass (R-5777C, 8.6 Miles)
including construction of service roads. The Letting date for the contract
was delayed in February 2020 from June to November 2020 due to design
issues and now on hold due to funding issues.17 Start of
Construction has been delayed from early 2021 to 2023.
There was also a project to create the Slocum Gate Interchange at
Cherry Point MCAS - Completed in March 2020.
US 70 Havelock
Unbuilt Freeway Length: 10.1 Miles
Construction Started on August 30, 2019. Project to be completed in May
NCDOT Project Map:18
On August 1, 2019, NCDOT awarded the $167.2 million contract to build
the Bypass to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. of Wilmington, NC. Work
started on August 30 and as of November 22, 2020 work is 20.5% complete.
The current completion date is May 2024.19
US 70 from end
of Havelock Bypass to Morehead City
Mostly 4-lane divided Length: Approx. 11
Upgrade to Interstate Freeway
One project, rebuilding the Newport River Bridge from a 2-lane to 4-lane
structure is to start in 2022. Map showing location:20
Remaining projects between the Havelock Bypass and the bridge are not
funded. Some doubt I-42 will make it to the bridge due to the difficulty
in constructing an interstate through an urban area.
(Taken of Future
I-42 signs in March 2017)
Begin I-42 sign
at the start of the East US 70 Clayton Bypass.
The End Future
I-42 sign is after the (Entering) Wake County sign at the western end of
the US 70 Clayton Bypass.
Will this cause
any confusion? The first exit on Future I-42/US 70 East is for NC 42 in
contribute photos? Feel free to email me at rmalme7374 at gmail.com.
Exit sign plans
for Havelock Bypass (unknown why numbers nearly duplicate existing
numbers near New Bern):21
Here's an I-42 Shirt advertised on the Internet (no endorsement):
has been suspended by NCDOT due to agency's budget issues. NCDOT is
working with state legislature to find alternative sources of revenue.
It is unknown when, or if, construction will be started on this project.
5. NCDOT. 2021. Signing Plans, Part 2. Contract C204359. January 16.
Jan. 23, 2021.
13. NCDOT. 2020. Construction Progress Report, Contract No. C 204139,
TIP No. I-6002. Information as of December 2. Downloaded from:
14. NCDOT. 2019. Five Miles of Craven County Highway to be Upgraded.
Press Release. September 25. Downloaded from:
15. NCDOT. 2020. Construction Progress Report, Contract No. C 204225,
TIP Nos. R-5777A, R-5777B, U-5713. Information as of December 8.
19. NCDOT. 2020. Construction Project Report, Contract No. C 204177, TIP
No. R-1015. Information as of October 25. Downloaded from:
21. Plans from: Signing Plan, Craven and Carteret Counties, Location: US
70 Havelock Bypass from South of Carteret/Craven County Line to South of
SR 1176 (Carolina Pines Blvd.), NCDOT TIP R-1015, November 20, 2018.
July 10, 2019
January 23, 2021
(c) Robert H.