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:
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
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
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:
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
One of the
several Future I-587 signs put up along US 264:
Photo courtesy of Adam Prince
Photo courtesy of WNCN
1. NC Governor's Office. 2016. "State Seeking Future Interstate
Designation for U.S. 264 to Greenville." Press Release. Sept. 7, 2016.
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:
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:
3. Federal Highway Administration. 2016. Letter to Michael L. Holder,
PE, NCDOT from Gregory G. Nadeau, Regional Administrator, FHWA. November
21. Downloaded from:
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:
6. AARoads. 2021. Post #1630 in AARoads Forum, Southeast Regional,
Interstate 87 (NC-VA) thread, downloaded from:
March 19, 2021.
March 20, 2021
(c) Robert H.