FutureImage of I-587 Interstate shield, from Shields Up!In North Carolina


The 56 mile future interstate spur of I-87 will run from Zebulon east to Greenville along an upgraded US 264 freeway. Map of the future interstate from NCDOT's AASHTO application:

Image of I-587 corridor map submitted to AASHTO in fall of 2016

Route History

This proposal was announced by NCDOT on Sept. 7, 2016 with the agency sending applications for the proposal to be approved by AASHTO at their October 2016 meeting in Boston and to the FHWA.1 AASHTO's Committee on US Route Numbering rejected the application on October 26, 2016, however, the Special Committee on Highways, of which the US Route Numbering committee is part, apparently overruled them and approved the designation at the Fall 2016 AASHTO Meeting in Boston on November 13, 2016.2 The FHWA then sent a letter approving the route as an addition to the interstate system on November 21, 2016.3 Officials from the Greenville area lobbied state and federal agencies for the city, the largest in NC without an interstate connection, for a spur route once the I-87 designation between Raleigh and Norfolk, VA was approved.

Construction Complete East of I-95

The NCDOT 2020-2029 STIP released in August 2019 has 2 funded projects related to upgrading US 264 to Interstate Standards that started in 2019. Project I-6032 would widen the shoulders as part of a pavement rehabilitation contract in Greene County while Project I-6035 would do the same in Pitt County, both projects were later combined.4 Work started on September 30, 2019 and on March 17, 2021 NCDOT announced work had been completed several months early.5 Both these projects are east of Wilson County where US 264 meets I-95, and where the route is already up to Interstate standards. There are no other upgrade projects west of Wilson County listed in the current STIP document, nor any mention of whether NCDOT will sign US 264 as I-587 east of I-95, which they could do, now that the work in Greene and Pitt County is completed.

Issue with I-587's Direction

Apparently, NCDOT plans to sign I-587, despite its basic east-west direction, as a North-South route, as shown in this sign plan created for the NC 11 Southwest Bypass project:

NCDOT I-587 sign plan at NC 11 Greenville Bypass, 2019

Not only is I-587 signed North-South, North will be the direction towards Wilson and Zebulon where, when I-87 is signed, there will be signage heading east indicating a split between I-87 North and I-587 South. This would also mean that the exits should decrease headed toward Greenville. An NCDOT spokesman stated that since I-87 was a North-South route, it's spur route had to have those same directions. This is despite examples to the contrary in other states.6

Photos

One of the several Future I-587 signs put up along US 264:

Future I-587 sign put up on US 264 in Wilson County, from JTL

Photo courtesy of Adam Prince

Image of Begin Future I-587 sign in Greenville, courtesy of WNCT

Photo courtesy of WNCN

Check out My I-587 Preliminary Exit List  (Updated 3/8/21)

Notes

1. NC Governor's Office. 2016. "State Seeking Future Interstate Designation for U.S. 264 to Greenville." Press Release. Sept. 7, 2016. Downloaded from: http://governor.nc.gov/press-release/state-seeking-future-interstate-designation-us-264-greenville

2. NC Governor's Office. 2016. "Transportation Association Recommends Approval of Future Interstate Designation for US 264 to Greenville." Press Release, November 15. Downloaded from: https://governor.nc.gov/press-release/transportation-association-recommends-approval-future-interstate-designation-us-264, 11/15/16. i. Federal Highway Administration. 2016. Letter to Michael L. Holder, PE, NCDOT from Gregory G. Nadeau, Regional Administrator, FHWA. November 21. Downloaded from: http://butterfield.house.gov/sites/butterfield.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/2016_11_21_12_26_17.pdf, 11/22/16.

3. Federal Highway Administration. 2016. Letter to Michael L. Holder, PE, NCDOT from Gregory G. Nadeau, Regional Administrator, FHWA. November 21. Downloaded from: http://butterfield.house.gov/sites/butterfield.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/2016_11_21_12_26_17.pdf, 11/22/16.

4. NCDOT. 2019. State Transportation Improvement Program, 2020-2029, Draft. January 10. Division 2, p. 11 of 43, p. 21 of 43.

5. NCDOT. 2021. "Paving Project in Two Eastern Counties Completed Early." Press Release. March 17. Downloaded from: https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2021/2021-03-17-pitt-greene-highway-paving-complete.aspx, March 18.

6. AARoads. 2021. Post #1630 in AARoads Forum, Southeast Regional, Interstate 87 (NC-VA) thread, downloaded from: https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=18354.msg2574385#msg2574385, March 19, 2021.

Site Created: March 20, 2021

(c) Robert H. Malme 2021