FutureInterstate 42 Shield from Shields Up! in NC

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

Image of NCDOT I-42 corridor map submitted as part of application to AASHTO in May 2016

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. As of August 2020, 2 Segments are Complete:

Segment 1   

US 70 Clayton Bypass

Road Type: Interstate Standard Freeway        Length: 8.4 Miles

Status: Complete [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.


Segment 2    (Updated 8/2/21)

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: 22.5 Miles

Status: Needs 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 but work started on May 12. As of July 15, 2021 the project is 6.2% complete.3 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 and the project is to be completed by 2025.4

Here's a map of the project area:5

Image of project location map for US 70 upgrade project from end of Clayton to Neuse River bridge

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:6

NCDOT sign plan for 1 1/4 Miles exit for Swift Creek Road on US 70 in Johnston County, January 2021     NCDOT plan for Wilson's Mills Road 1 mile exit sign, January 2021

NCDOT plan for Business US 70 1 Mile advance exit sign on US 70 West in Johnston County, January 2021

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:7

Image of map of US70 upgrade project in Johnston County by Super 70 Commission

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 area:8

Image of map of NCDOT feasibility study for upgrade of US 70 to I-42 between Neuse River bridge in Johnston County and Goldsboro Bypass in Wayne County, by Super 70 Commission

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 November 2020:9

Image of sketch map of work project zones for Future I-42 pavement rehabilitation project in Johnston County

Here's the 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:10

Image of NCDOT typical section plan for US 70 pavement reconstruction project along Bypass US 70 (Future I-42) in Johnston County


Segment 3   

US 70 Goldsboro Bypass

Road Type: Interstate Standard Freeway    Length: 21.7 Miles

Status: Complete [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-42.11 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.


Segment 4   

Existing US 70 from NC 903 in LaGrange, to be built Kinston 'Shallow' Bypass, and upgraded US 70 to Dover

Road Type: Upgrade to Interstate Freeway (part to be built on new location)    Length: 21.1 Miles

Status: 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:12

Image of NCDOT map of potential US 70/I-42 Kinston Bypass routes

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:

NCDOT diagram of chosen alternative route for US 70 Kinson Bypass in Feb. 2020

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.13 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.

Visit NCDOT's Kinston Bypass Project website.


Segment 5  (Updated 8/2/21)  

US 70 Freeway from Dover to New Bern

Road Type: Freeway        Length: 26.1 Miles

Status: Needed Upgrade to Interstate Status, Complete of as March 2021 [Except for I-42 Signage]

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 was completed in 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, the last to be completed were in the New Bern area.

Here's a map of the project location:13

Image of map of US 70 pavement upgrade project in Jones and Craven County, by Super 70 Commission

Signing of the section as I-42 cannot occur until the Kinston Bypass and related construction to the east are completed.

See the completion of shoulder widening in Photos section below.


Segment 6   (Updated 8/2/21)  

US 70 Neuse River Bridge to Havelock Bypass

Road Type: 4-lane Divided Roadway    Length: 13.7 Miles

Status: Needs 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-2019 Completion-Late 2023 (Design/Build Project was awarded in September 2019 and work started on October 22.14 As of July 22, 2021 work is 17.4% complete.15 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

Image of NCDOT map of US 70/Future I-42 upgrade project in Craven County

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.

Visit NCDOT's US 70 Improvements in James City website.


Segment 7   (Updated 8/2/21)  

US 70 Havelock Bypass

Road Type: Unbuilt Freeway        Length: 10.1 Miles

Status: Construction Started on August 30, 2019. Project to be completed in May 2024.

NCDOT Project Map:18

NCDOT map of site of future Havelock Bypass Project for Future Interstate 42

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 July 22, 2021 work is nearly 1/3 complete at 31.1%. The current completion date is May 2024.19

Visit NCDOT's Havelock Bypass Project Website.


Segment 8

US 70 from end of Havelock Bypass to Morehead City

Road Type: Mostly 4-lane divided        Length: Approx. 11 Miles

Status: Need 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

Image of Super 70 Commission map of location of widened Newport River Bridge, April 2019

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.


Visit the Future I-42 Exit List


Photos

Segment 1

(Taken of Future I-42 signs in March 2017)

Image of Begin Future I-42 sign placed at the beginning of the US 70 Clayton Bypass in late 2016

Begin I-42 sign at the start of the East US 70 Clayton Bypass.

Image of End Future I-42 sign at I-40 exits at end of US 70 West Clayton Bypass in March 2017

The End Future I-42 sign is after the (Entering) Wake County sign at the western end of the US 70 Clayton Bypass.

Image of NC 42 exit sign on US 70/Future I-42 East in Clayton in March 2017

Will this cause any confusion? The first exit on Future I-42/US 70 East is for NC 42 in Clayton.

Want to contribute photos? Feel free to email me at rmalme7374 at gmail.com.

Segment 5

(Taken by Adam Prince in July 2021)

Image of Future I-42 sign along newly widened right shoulder of US 70 in Craven County, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

One of the several Future I-42 signs placed along US 70 at county lines, here crossing into Craven County, to the right of the now interstate standard right shoulder headed east.

Image of newly widened shoulders along US 70 (Future I-42) East in Craven County, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

View of Interstate standard shoulders now completed along US 70 in Craven County.

Image of ramp sign along newly widened right shoulder of US 70 in Craven County, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

Exit sign for NC 41 near Cove City, next to now interstate standard right shoulder, currently no exit number.

Image of SR 1224 exit sign along newly widened right shoulder of US 70 (Future I-42) East near Tuscarora, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

The sign for the next exit for SR 1224, besides the interstate standard right shoulder.

Image of Craven Community College exit sign along newly widened right shoulder of US 70 (Future I-42) East in Craven County, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

The sign for Craven Community College exit, also still without exit number.

Image of US 17 South exit sign with removed Business 70 shield along newly widened right shoulder of US 70 (Future I-42) East in Craven County, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

The 3/4 mile advance for what will be the last exit sign without a number, Business 70, the blank space for US 17 South.

Image of Clark Road exit sign with exit number along newly widened right shoulder of US 70 (Future I-42) East in Craven County, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

The exit sign for the Clarks Road exit, with exit number, next to the widened right shoulder of Future I-42 East.

Image of NC 43 exit sign with exit number along newly widened right shoulder of US 70 (Future I-42) East in Craven County, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

The overhead exit sign for the NC 43 exit on US 17 North/US 70 East approaching New Bern.

Image of overhead signage with exit numbers along US 70 (Future I-42) East/US 17 North in New Bern, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

Overhead signage for the East Front Street exit on US 17 North/US 70 East over the water in New Bern.

Image of US 17 South/NC 55 East exit sign with exit number along bridge on US 70 (Future I-42) East in New Bern, photo by Adam Prince, July 2021

Exit signage for US 17, on its way north to eventually becoming part of Future I-87 and NC 55 East, notice that all the exit numbers in the New Bern area currently overlap those listed for the Havelock Bypass (see sign plans below), hopefully this will be corrected before that highway opens.

Sign Plans

Exit sign plans for Havelock Bypass (unknown why numbers nearly duplicate existing numbers near New Bern):21

Image of NCDOT sign plan for Business 70 exit on US 70 Havelock Bypass (Future Interstate 42)

Image of NCDOT sign plan for 1/2 mile advance sign for Lake Rd exit on US 70 Havelock Bypass (Future Interstate 42)

Image NCDOT sign plan for Business US 70 East exit on US 70 Havelock Bypass (Future Interstate 42)

Image of NCDOT sign plan for exit ramps signs on US 70 Business for US 70 Havelock Bypass (Future Interstate 42)

Here's an I-42 Shirt advertised on the Internet (no endorsement):

Image of I-42 t-shirt advertised on the internet

Notes

*Project funding 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.

1. NCDOT. Future I-36 Corridor Map. Downloaded from: https://connect.ncdot.gov/resources/safety/Route%20Changes/I-42%20Proposed%20Corridor%20Map%20160308.pdf, July 8.

2. WITN. 2020. "Work underway for I-42 from Morehead City to Raleigh."  Downloaded from: https://www.witn.com/content/news/-Work-underway-for-I-42-from-Morehead-City-to-Raleigh-567281991.html, Feb. 6.

3. NCDOT. 2021. Construction Progress Report, Contract C204359, TIP No. W-5600. Downloaded from: https://apps.ncdot.gov/traffictravel/progloc/ProgLocSearch.aspx, Aug. 2.

4. Bolejack, Scott. 2020. Change Coming Soon to US 70. Johnstonian News. March 2. Downloaded from: http://www.johnstoniannews.com/stories/change-coming-soon-to-us-70,202776, March 7.

5. NCDOT. 2019. NC Board of Transportation, US 70 Work Group, US 70 Corridor Workshop, Division 4. April, p. 2. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/April-2019-US-70-Workshop-Division-4.pdf, July 10.

6. NCDOT. 2021. Signing Plans, Part 2. Contract C204359. January 16. Downloaded from: https://xfer.services.ncdot.gov/dsplan/2021%20Highway%20Letting/03-16-21/Plans%20and%20Proposals/Johnston%20C204359/Standard%20PDF%20Files/, Jan. 23, 2021.

7. NCDOT. 2019. NC Board of Transportation, US 70 Work Group, US 70 Corridor Workshop, Division 4. April, p. 4. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/April-2019-US-70-Workshop-Division-4.pdf, July 10.

8. NCDOT. 2019. NC Board of Transportation, US 70 Work Group, US 70 Corridor Workshop, Division 4. April, p. 6. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/April-2019-US-70-Workshop-Division-4.pdf, July 10.

9. NCDOT. Construction Plans. Contract C204333. Location: US 70 (Future I-42) from SR 1003 (Buffalo Road) to Wayne County Line, pp. 2 and 5. Downloaded from: https://xfer.services.ncdot.gov/dsplan/2019%20Highway%20Letting/05-21-19/Plans%20and%20Proposals/JOHNSTON_I-6044_4799.3.1_C204333/Sketch%20Map.pdf, August.

10. US 70 Corridor Commission. 2019. Director's Update. January/February, p. 4. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/Jan_Feb_2019-Directors-Report.pdf, July 10.

11. NCDOT. 2019. NC Board of Transportation, US 70 Work Group, US 70 Corridor Workshop, Division 2. April, p. 6. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/April-2019-US-70-Workshop-Division-2.pdf, July 10.

12. NCDOT. 2020. "Route Selected for Future Kinston Bypass." Press Release. February 20. Downloaded from: https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2020/2020-02-20-kinston-bypass-route-selected.aspx, February 20.

13. NCDOT. 2019. NC Board of Transportation, US 70 Work Group, US 70 Corridor Workshop, Division 2. April, p. 7. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/April-2019-US-70-Workshop-Division-2.pdf, July 10.

14. NCDOT. 2019. Five Miles of Craven County Highway to be Upgraded. Press Release. September 25. Downloaded from: https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2019/2019-09-25-craven-county-highway-upgrade-contract.aspx, September 27.

15. NCDOT. 2020. Construction Progress Report, Contract No. C 204225, TIP Nos. R-5777A, R-5777B, U-5713. Information as of December 8. Downloaded from: https://apps.ncdot.gov/traffictravel/progloc/ProgLocSearch.aspx, December 9.

16. NCDOT. 2019. NC Board of Transportation, US 70 Work Group, US 70 Corridor Workshop, Division 2. April, p. 9. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/April-2019-US-70-Workshop-Division-2.pdf, July 10.

17. NCDOT. 2020. Report of Changes to February 2020 12-Month Letting List, p. 3 of 3. Downloaded from: https://connect.ncdot.gov/letting/12%20Month%20Tentative%20Letting%20Library/FEBRUARY%202020%20CHANGES%20REPORT.pdf, February 29.

18. NCDOT. 2019. US 70 Havelock Bypass Project Page. Downloaded from: https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/us-70-havelock-bypass/Pages/default.aspx, July 8.

19. NCDOT. 2020. Construction Project Report, Contract No. C 204177, TIP No. R-1015.  Information as of October 25. Downloaded from: https://apps.ncdot.gov/traffictravel/progloc/ProgLocSearch.aspx, October 21.

20. NCDOT. 2019. NC Board of Transportation, US 70 Work Group, US 70 Corridor Workshop, Division 2. April, p. 19. Downloaded from: http://www.super70corridor.com/wp-content/uploads/April-2019-US-70-Workshop-Division-2.pdf, July 10.

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. Available at: https://xfer.services.ncdot.gov/dsplan/2019%20Highway%20Letting/02-19-19/Plans%20and%20Proposals/Craven_R-1015_C204177/Standard%20PDF%20Files/250%20Signing%20Plans.pdf

Site created: July 10, 2019

Site Updated: August 2, 2021

(c) Robert H. Malme 2021

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