completed interstate, officially submitted for approval to AASHTO in
May 2022, was first shown in signage plans for the Durham East End
Connector Project, placed online on August 19, 20141, and
runs from the current I-85/US 70 interchange in Durham to I-40 in
Research Triangle Park, using the Connector to provide a direct
connection between the Durham Freeway (NC 147) and US 70 (Miami
Boulevard), instead of using streets in Durham. The Connector opened
on June 30, 2022, and includes improvements to upgrade US 70 to a
limited access freeway from Pleasant Drive to north of Holloway Street
Construction of the Connector started more than 7 years ago on
February 26, 2015 after NCDOT awarded the $142 contract to Dragados USA
of New York City on January 7 and completion has been delayed at least 4
times. The project originally had a tentative completion date of May
2020, though NCDOT said in 2017 that the road could open as early as
July 2019. Weather and other delays officially pushed back the date to
June 30, 2022.2 Although the Durham Freeway and US 70 are
just a mile apart, the project involved constructing 3.9 miles of
roadway, including car and railroad bridges, and long loop ramps at both
ends. The new freeway has two lanes each way with room to add a third
lane in the future.3 Work on moving traffic to new northbound
lanes on NC 147 was to be completed by June 2018, according to the NCDOT
project website, that milestone was then pushed back on December 18,
2018, then to May 2019.5 A news
story from June 11, 2019 put the completion of the NC 147 part
back to July 2019, the extreme wet weather of the region being probably
the biggest culprit for that delay. On August 17, 2019 the revamped
North NC 147/Durham Freeway lanes were finally reopened ending the
temporary use of the southbound lanes that had lasted since 2017.8
While work was completed south of the future I-885 interchange in 2019,
work north of it was not completed until June 2020.6 The
rest of the work on widening the new US 70 East/Future I-885 South lanes
was completed in October 2020.
The completion date for the entire project and the route's number have
been in flux for more than 2 1/2 years. In a November 21, 2019 NCDOT
press release, the opening date was pushed back to November 2020, in
February 2020 the official project page updated the opening of the
Connector to November 18, 2020.7 A NCDOT press release of
June 8, 2020 regarding closure of US 70 lanes to install girders for the
future I-885 South bridge over NC 98now indicated the
project should be completed by the end of the year.The
NCDOT project website in October 2020 listed that the opening of the
Connector to traffic won't happen until June 2021, however the
Construction Progress Report for the contract updated as of April 30,
2022 still says the completion date is February 22, 2021.4
The continuing delays appear to be connected to construction of a new
railroad bridge on the US 70 portion, according to a news article
published on December 31, 2020, there was a problem with the steel
girders that caused them to bend when concrete for the bridge was being
poured. That problem has now been fixed. Once the new bridge is
completed, it will take 6 weeks to demolish the temporary bridge (see
photos below) and repave the lanes underneath.9 Though this
does not explain the delay in opening the Connector between NC 147 and
US 70 which is apparently complete. A reply sent to a poster on AARoads
Forum on April 26, 2021 indicated that there would be further delays in
opening beyond June. The NCDOT spokesman stated it now should be open by
the end of the year, perhaps as early as September.10
However, in June 2021, the NCDOT project page was updated listing
December 2021 as the date the highway would open to traffic and Spring
2022 as the completion date for the project.11As of early
October 2021 the temporary railroad bridge was still in place, putting
the end of the year opening date in doubt. In early November 2021, NCDOT
reported that the work on the new railroad bridge was complete and the
temporary one could now be demolished. They said, however, that
demolition would not start until December, putting the completion date
in late January or early February 2022. Since paving and lane striping
would have to wait until it warmed up, they would not commit to a
specific completion date, only sometime in the spring of 2022.12
NCDOT then announced in mid-January 2022 that the bridge demolition
would not start until later that month or early February. The demolition
work though did not start until mid-February with the NCDOT press
release indicating the work would finish by the end of March.13
Lane striping and the installation on new signage would then have to
take place before the Connector can open. Despite the additional delays,
the NCDOT project site still listed a 'Spring' 2022 opening. On May 4,
2022 NCDOT issued a press release saying the workers on the East End
Connector project were beginning to wrap up their work. Final paving and
lane striping on US 70 had begun and would continue for a few more
weeks. The the installation of remaining I-885 (and NC 885 signs along
the toll portion of NC 147) would start the week of May 9.14
Coincidentally or not, this was the same date the AASHTO Special
Committee on U.S. Route Numbering met in New Orleans to approve the
latest state US Route and Interstate applications, which included I-885
(and Future I-685) from NCDOT. A browse through traffic cameras from May
13 to June 5 showed signage gradually being changed north to south where
signs could be seen. Many signs remained unchanged through the second
week of June. New I-885 exit gore signs with new numbers were still
covered by with black plastic on US 70 until the first week of June, and
signage south of I-40 still showed NC 147 shields until the middle of
Meanwhile on NC 540, signs still showed Toll NC 147 at the NC 55 exit
until June 23, probably one of the last changed:
NCDOT still did not list an actual opening date, but an NCDOT
spokesman quoted in an early May news article said that he hoped all the
paving work would be completed in June.15 On June 22, 2022
NCDOT announced there would be a ribbon cutting followed by the opening
of the Connector on June 30.16 Meanwhile, NCDOT's traffic map
jumped the gun on the night of May 11 and started signing the Durham
Freeway as I-885 and the Triangle Parkway as NC 885, despite the East
End Connector not being open as of yet:
On December 17, 2019 information was posted on AARoads Forum from
NCDOT indicating that the NC 147 designation was now to be dropped from
the Durham Freeway south of the future I-885 interchange, and, because
of that, the Toll NC 147 portion south of I-40 would be renumbered as
Toll NC 885. This allows all the exits between NC 540 and the future NC
147 North interchange to retain their numbers, but will cause a change
in the planned exit numbers along I-885 north of the Durham Freeway (see
link to Exit List above or sign plans below). Signage put up on the
unopened connector in 2020 heading west/south still had NC 147 listed as
running concurrently with I-885 along the Durham Freeway, perhaps, like
other signage, this is a mistake that will be corrected later, see
photos below. The February 2022 press release on the beginning of the
railroad bridge demolition reiterated the route changes first publicly
announced in January, confirming that NC 147 will be truncated to the
I-885 interchange.16 Entries on NCDOT's Construction Progress
Report for Durham County lists two contracts, one (DE00310) taking place
on NC 540, I-885, and NC 885, the other on NC 540 and NC 885 that also
confirm the future existence of that route number on the Triangle
Parkway toll road. Plans released for upgraded signage on the Triangle
Expressway and NC 147 included signs for Toll 885 and new exit numbers
for NC 147 (see Sign Plans section).
The planned completion of all I-885 related work on the Durham Freeway
was set for December 2019, but was actually not completed until November
2020 when a project to finish widening the ramp from Briggs Avenue to NC
147 South was completed.11
The News and Observer published a cropped version of NCDOT's map that
shows the route and exit number changes on May 5:
satellite view of East End Connector, taken around the summer of 2020,
showing near completion of the project:
New Interstate Photos
Taken October 15 and 16 on a trip to Durham, starting on I-85 North
and heading south to I-40 (*Added May 2023):
The first reference to I-885 heading North on I-85 at the Business
The lone sign on the gantry is the 1/2 mile advance for the I-885
South/US 70 East exit.
The signage at the exit ramp, notice no reference to RDU Airport on
any of the overhead signs. Turning around...
The 1/2 mile advance for the I-885 exit heading South on I-85.
The overhead signage at the now I-885 South/US 70 East exit.
The 1/2 mile advance for the now first I-885 exit heading south, Cheek
The first set of South I-885/East US 70 reassurance markers
approaching the Cheek Road exit.
The first advance sign for the new Business 70/NC 98 shares a gantry
with the Cheek Road exit sign (and some wires crossing to obscure the
The 1/4 mile advance for the West Business 70/NC 98 exit.
The second set of reassurance markers.
The overhead signage at the West Business 70/NC 98 exit. Notice that
US 70 East gets Raleigh as the control city and I-885 gets the RDU
The gore sign for the West Business 70/NC 98 exit with new I-885
The second I-885 pull through sign with the 1/2 mile advance for the
US 70 East exit. Notice the shields on the pavement below the sign,
which way to look?
A closer look at the pavement markings prior to the US 70 East exit.
Overhead signage prior to the US 70 East exit. The gore sign appears
to already have been hit.
The first exit sign on the East End Connector indicates the end of the
new highway at NC 147 North is only 1/4 mile away.
The signage for the now beginning on NC 147 North exit as I-885 takes
the rest of the Durham Freeway. These signs were changed from those
initially put up (see photos from RoadwayWiz below) that included a
reference to NC 147 South.
After the merge with the Durham Freeway the first advance sign for the
Ellis Road exit as the road shrinks down to 2 lanes (a project that will
widen the entire Freeway to 3 lanes each way is a few years off).
A first standalone (and longest standing) South I-885 reassurance
marker, with newer mile marker in front.
The look closely or you will miss it ground mounted 1/2 mile advance
sign for the Ellis Road exit.
The signage at the ramp to Ellis Road has never had exit tabs when it
was NC 147 Exit 8, and still doesn't despite in being I-885 Exit 8.
One of the advisory signs indicating the Triangle Freeway Toll Road
begins after the I-40 exit.
UPDATE: It appears NCDOT fixed the problem, at least a little, by
moving the NC 885 South sign over next to the I-40 West sign in
November, here is an updated image from Google Maps Street View:
Overhead signage at the I-40 exit, where I-885 ends and becomes NC
885. Notice the placement of the Toll NC 885 pull through, oops.
The Toll NC 885 pull through here official marks the start of the
A few signs from NC 885:
The first Toll South NC 885 reassurance marker after the I-40 exit.
The 1 mile advance sign for the Hopson Road/Davis Drive exit.
The Hopson Road/Davis Drive exit sign.
*Google Street View image from December 2022 on Hopson Road:
One of the now NC 885 ramp signs on Hopson Road.
The first advance sign for the NC 540 exits at the end of NC 885
south. Plans released for a NC 540 sign replacement project indicate
that the directions will be changed to West and East, this was completed
in May 2023, see photo below.
The 1/2 mile advance sign now with West NC 540 heading to I-40 and
East NC 540 continuing the Triangle Expressway, from Google Maps Street
View, June 2023.
Another South NC 885 reassurance marker after the Hopson Road/Davis
The North NC 885 Triangle Expressway 1/2 mile advance sign on NC 540
East (soon to be West, see below), with new I-885 shield also.
The new sign put up in May 2023 indicating your now traveling 'West'
on NC 540, from Google Maps Street View.
Original signage at the North NC 885 exit ramp on Toll NC 540. This
sign would also be changed in May 2023, here's the new version:
Toll NC 540 is now heading West, even though its going in the same
easterly direction. Heading back north towards Durham...
A blue marker seen on the exit ramp indicating this is the Exit 67
ramp from North NC 540. This was probably changed to West NC 540, like
was done to the mile marker below:
The now West NC
540 mile marker on former NC 540 North approaching the US 1
A North NC 885 mile marker prior to the 1/2 mile advance sign for the
Hopson Road/Davis Drive exit.
The first North NC 885 reassurance marker prior to the Hopson
Road/Davis Drive exit.
The fancy support 2 Miles advance sign for the I-40 exits at the end
of NC 885.
The North NC 885 Mile 3 marker, why not have a toll label on this too?
The 1 3/4 Miles and 1 Mile advance signs for the I-40 exits, just
beyond a North Toll NC 885 reassurance marker.
Overhead signage at the ramp to I-40 East at the end of NC 885 North.
Transitioning to I-885 North...
The first North I-885 pull through sign at the I-40 West exit.
Still one more NC 885 mile marker prior to the I-40 bridges.
The first advance sign for Cornwallis Road on I-885 North/Durham
The second North I-885 pull through sign at the Cornwallis Road exit.
The unchanged North I-885 exit signage at Alexander Drive, still no
exit number for Ellis Road.
The 1/2 Mile advance sign approaching the East End Connector/NC 147
Painted North NC 147 shields ahead of the NC 147/Durham Freeway exit.
The overhead signage at the new beginning for NC 147 North and the
start of the I-885 North East End Connector.
Signage on I-40 West
The 1 Mile advance sign for the Durham Freeway exit, now I-885 to NC
147, at the Davis Drive exit.
The 1/2 Mile advance sign for I-885 North
paired with a 3/4 Mile advance for now Toll NC 885 South.
The 1 Mile advance sign for the Durham Freeway exit, now I-885 to NC
Taken July 1, courtesy of David Johnson.
Photos start along US 70 West:
The now uncovered arrow-per-lane 1/4 Mile advance sign for the now
open I-885 South/East End Connector.
The now uncovered arrow-per-lane sign at the now open I-885 South/East
End Connector exit.
Driving onto the newly opened I-885 South/East End Connector from US
US 70 West ramp approaching I-885 South ramp at start of East End
US 70 West ramp meeting the I-885 South ramp.
First set of overhead signs on the East End Connector indicates only
1/4 mile to the NC 147 North exit.
The speed limit on the East End Connector is 65 MPH.
Last set of overhead signs for the NC 147 North exit at the end of the
Connector. If you compare with the aerial photos taken below of the
Connector notice the pull through signs have been changed, they
originally included NC 147 South.
First set of overhead signs on the Durham Freeway on now officially
I-885 South after the NC 147 North exit. Lanes narrow from 3 to 2. There
is a project to widen the Durham Freeway to 3 lanes south of here but it
is currently not funded in the 2024-2033 Draft STIP.
While the reassurance marker has been up for 2 years, the South I-885
mile marker is new, mile markers have been installed the length of the
Durham Freeway both north and south.
The newly updated I-885 Durham Freeway pull through sign at the
Alexander Drive exit headed south.
The revised I-40 exit advance overhead signs at the Cornwallis Road
exit headed south.
There is a problem with the location of this newly placed Toll NC 885
pull through sign, its on the wrong side. It replaced a lane ends
advisory sign for the I-40 East ramp. How much confusion will this
A correctly placed Toll NC 885 pull through sign at the I-40 West
exit. Now turning around and heading north...
This sign has a couple problems. First, its partially hidden by a
tree. Second, it still has a NC 147 shield.
The revised now I-885 Durham Freeway pull through sign at Cornwallis
They've painted I-885 shields on the pavement prior to the NC 147
North/Durham Freeway exit.
Finally, the I-885 North overhead signs at the NC 147 North exit are
Headed onto the opened East End Connector on I-885 North, NC 147
North/Durham Freeway traffic to the left.
East End Connector traffic on I-885 North approaching ramp from NC 147
Again, the first overhead signage on the Connector is a 1/4 Mile
advance sign, this time for US 70 East.
Overhead signage at the US 70 East exit, notice the 3 control cities
here for I-885 North.
A closer view of the overhead signage.
A wide median where I-885 North traffic merges with that from US 70
Overhead signage at the Cheek Road exit. NCDOT apparently decided not
to number the ramp to I-85 North, keeping it unnumbered as it was when
just US 70.
A now uncovered (again) North I-885/West US 70 reassurance marker
after the Cheek Road exit. Now heading south on NC 147:
The uncovered advance signage for the North I-885/East End Connector
The uncovered Arrow-per-lane sign at the split of ramps for the North
and South I-885.
Exit signs along US 70 West approaching the
Connector still covered over as of the middle of June.
Uncovered exit signs along US 70 West show
both US 70 and I-885 exit numbers.
The 1/2 mile advance sign for the Bus. 70
West/NC 98 exit with uncovered exit tab and completed lane markings on
The uncovered exit tab with I-885 exit
number for Cheek Road can be seen from under the railroad bridge.
Now on I-85 North, the new 1 mile advance
sign with an I-885 shield seen at the Roxboro Street/Avondale Drive
The new 1/2 mile advance sign on I-85
The exit tabs for the Bus. 70 West/NC 98
exit were still covered over on US 70 East.
As is that at the ramp for the Bus. 70
West/NC 98 exit, though uncovered Exit 11 gore sign can be seen in the
The completed lane markings for Future
I-885 South can be seen heading toward the US 70 East exit ramp.
Now on the Durham Freeway headed south,
where an I-885 shield has replaced NC 147 on the pull through sign at
A NC 885 shield has replaced NC 147 on the
1 3/4 Mile Toll Road Begins advisory sign just after the Alexander Drive
New signage for the I-40 West exit no
longer includes a NC 54 shield.
Another NC 885 shield replacing NC 147 on
the next, 3/4 Mile Toll Road Begins advisory sign just after Cornwallis
The new NC 885 pull through sign at the
ramp to I-40 West (with NC 54 shield also removed).
The end of new NC 885 at NC 540. The
directions on this sign for NC 540 were changed to West and East in May
Taken by David Johnson on June 18, 2022:
Overhead signs with new NC 885 and I-885 shields at Hopson Road
interchange with the Triangle Expressway.
Ground mounted guide sign with new NC 885 and I-885 shields at Hopson
Road ramp for the Triangle Expressway headed north.
Meanwhile the Toll NC 147 trailblazers still stand approaching the
Triangle Expressway ramps at Hopson Road.
Taken earlier on June 4:
New 1 Mile advance sign for the Durham Freeway exit on I-40 West with
New 3/4 Mile advance sign for the Triangle Expressway with NC 885
shield and 1/4 mile advance with I-885 shield for Durham Freeway exit on
The new exit sign for the Durham Freeway with I-885 shield on I-40
The 1/4 Mile advance sign for the Triangle Expressway exit with new NC
885 shield on I-40 West.
The exit sign for the Triangle Expressway with NC 885 shield on I-40
West. Turning around...
New advance signage for the Durham Freeway and Triangle Expressway
with I-885 and NC 885 shields on I-40 East.
New advance signage for the Durham Freeway and Triangle Expressway
with I-885 and NC 885 shields on I-40 East.
Taken by Charles M. Kunz on I-40 East on May 26:
New I-885 North signage and replacement NC 885 shield on Triangle
Expressway sign put up the night of May 24-25.
The new I-885 North to NC 147 exit sign, westbound signs were put up
the night of May 25-26.
Taken by David Johnson on June 4 and May 21, 2022. First at the start
of the Durham Freeway:
New pull through sign for the Durham Freeway with I-885 shield prior
to ramp for I-40 West. Other overhead signs and reassurance markers had
not been changed as of June 4.
Along I-85 North:
New advance signage with I-885 shield approaching US 70 exit on I-85
The first appearance of an I-885 shield on I-85 North, here at the US
70 East exit. The new sign drops RDU Airport as a control city.
Perhaps it will appear on a new auxiliary sign for this exit.
Closeup of the overhead signs at the Cheek Road exit, the new I-885
exit numbers are not covered up, unlike the gore sign seen at the bottom
of the photo.
The Exit 11 tab is covered over at the Business 70/NC 98 exit, along
with the remaining signs which are an I-885 South pull through and US 70
East exit sign.
The next sign for the US 70 East exit has the number uncovered. Final
paving of the left lane from prior to the railroad bridge to the future
split of I-885 South and US 70 East has not been completed.
The unpaved future I-885 South left lane continues approaching the US
70 East exit.
Along Toll NC 540 East:
This new overhead sign for the current NC 147 Toll North exit was put
up earlier this year and covered up, despite not having NC 885 and I-885
Courtesy of Adam Prince on March 12, 2022 showing start of demolition
of railroad bridge:
Heading east of
US 70 approaching the new railroad bridge with old one partially
dismantled behind it.
Near the new
railroad bridge with only support posts for old bridge left behind on
A closer look
at the crane behind the new railroad bridge helping to dismantle the
For photos of what's left of the temporary bridge heading west, go HERE.
From November 2021 courtesy of Adam Prince, showing the lack of
progress in the removal of the temporary railroad bridge:
The first overhead signs approaching the Connector are still covered
up on US 70 West.
The Arrow-per-Lane (APL) overhead signs at the future I-885 South
Connector ramp still covered up too.
The exit sign for the Business 70/NC 98 exit at the Carr Road off-ramp
is also still covered up, though the exit is open. It should just have
the I-885 exit number tab covered as it is on US 70 East.
The next sign for Business 70/NC 98 is also still covered up.
The lanes of US 70 West are still painted for when there was two-way
traffic. NCDOT has stated they will not update lane markings or put
paint new lines until just before the Connector is to open, perhaps in
April or May 2022.
The reason the Connector is not open yet. The temporary railroad
bridge still in place prior to the permanent bridge on US 70 West.
Demolition is to start in December, but final paving will have to wait
until the spring of next year.
From Google Maps Street View in October 2021:
Closeup view of
covered 1 mile advance sign for I-885 North exit with future exit
number, 1A (the Briggs Avenue North exit is to become 1B once I-885 is
opened and NC 147 truncated to the East End Connector interchange.
Taken by Adam Prince in October 2021
for the East End Connector/US 70 exit still covered up at the exit for
Business 70/NC 98. Exit tab covered over for Future exit 11.
More covered up
overhead signs due to still unopened East End Connector, the reason,
the still standing temporary railroad bridge seen behind the new
Courtesy of roadwaywiz,
taken in June 2021 over the unopened East End Connector:
Halfway along the route looking west toward the interchange with the
And now looking west toward the interchange with US 70.
A closer look at the interchange with the Durham Freeway, including
the flyover ramp from NC 147 South to I-885 North.
Now a closer look at the interchange with US 70.
And a closer look at the East End Connector roadway itself.
Closeup view of
the bridge over Angier Avenue and railroad tracks looking west.
Closeup of the
1/4 Mile advance and pull through signage approaching the interchange
with the Durham Freeway on Future I-885 South. The signs were
apparently designed, and then put up, prior to the decision to
truncate NC 147 to the East Connector interchange. These signs were
changed prior to the road opening at the end of June 2022, see WRAL
video link at top of page.
Close up of the
exit and pull through signage at the Durham Freeway interchange. Same
problem with the NC 147 shield on the pull through. The NC 147 North
ramp has a 55 MPH advisory speed which presumes the Connector will be
signed at 65 MPH.
other way on Future I-885 North. A closeup of the 1/4 advance and pull
through signs for the approaching US 70 exit.
closeup of the exit and pull through signs at US 70, no problems with
the signage in this direction.
the US 70 exit signs, you can see the flyover ramp to I-885 South from
US 70 West.
Taken by Sean C. McManus on April 26, 2021:
bridge is nearer to completion behind the covered over Future I-885
East End Connector signage on US 70 East.
A closer view
of the railroad bridge. Will it take until December now for this to be
completed and the temporary bridge demolished?
new railroad bridge with the old bridge and its supports in the future
A closer view
of the temporary bridge. Construction vehicles in place but little
sign of actual work going on.
Taken by David Johnson on January 9:
roadway to connect US 70 West to flyover that will carry traffic to
reassurance marker pair was recently placed prior to the railroad
bridge, whose construction is delaying the actual opening of I-885,
apparently the I-885 shield was covered over later, in early February.
reassurance marker pair also went up after the Business 70/NC 98 exit,
it appears here that the first attempt to cover over the I-885 shield
was only partially successful.
Taken by Andrew B. Futrell showing signage along the unopened East End
Connector after bridge over railroad tracks heading toward the US 70
interchange in December 2020:
Charles M. Kunz on November 23, 2020. Jumping the gun? This South
I-885 reassurance marker has appeared between the future East End
Connector interchange and the Ellis Road exit. Is this supposed to be
Taken by David Johnson on October 26, 2020 along US 70 West
Widening work along US 70 has been
completed east of the Lynn Road intersection.
The partially covered up new overhead signs for the future US 70 West
/ I-885 East End Connector interchange prior to Lynn Road.
The future flyover ramp from US 70 East to I-885 South can be seen on
the other side of the Lynn Road intersection.
overhead sign ahead of the future ramp to I-885 South, US 70 East
traffic now moved to its permanent alignment using the exit ramp from
I-885 South on the other side of the interchange.
New overhead signs put up, uncovered for Carr Road, and covered for
the Business 70/NC 98 exit, which will be Exit 11 on I-885 North (I-885
South being Exit 288B).
Along US 70 East (Future I-885 South)
The 1/4 mile advance sign for the East Business 70/NC 98 exit has the
future I-885 exit number, 11.
US 70 traffic now using permanent alignment of future I-885 South
lanes just prior to Business 70/NC 98 exit (whose exit sign is still
covered up, despite being open).
A closer look at the overhead signs at the Business 70/NC 98 exit, the
sign in the middle is for the US 70 East exit off of Future I-885 South.
Driving the newly opened US 70 East (future I-885 South) lanes
approaching the bridge over Business 70/NC 98.
Crossing over the newly opened bridge over Business 70/NC 98.
Covered over pull through and advance signs approaching the newly
opened ramp that will carry US 70 East traffic at the East End Connector
interchange. Coverings still allow you to see the I-885 exit number, 10
and that the pull through is South I-885 to I-40, NC 147 RDU Airport.
Traffic alignment of lanes heading under Carr Road bridge now changed
to use opened US 70 East exit ramp.
US 70 East traffic heading onto future I-885 South exit ramp at East
End Connector interchange.
Traffic on the US 70 East ramp heading under future flyover ramp from
US 70 West to I-885 South.
Traffic now heading across bridge over future I-885 North lanes in
East End Connector interchange.
US 70 East traffic traveling down hill towards former alignment.
US 70 East lanes approaching future ramp from I-885 North heading
toward the southern end of the East End Connector work zone.
Taken by David Johnson on May 18, 2020
Along NC 147 South
signs were put up in early May 2020, the left is for I-885 North and
the correct exit number, 1A, can be partially seen. The exit tab for
the Briggs Avenue exit is covered up because it should have the future
NC 147 exit number 1B.
Another view of
the earlier placed 1/4 mile advance sign for the I-885 South exit.
Wind has apparently helped reveal more of the sign including all of
the I-885 shield and that this sign has the now outdated Exit 9
The new sign placed at the future ramp to the I-885 North/East End
Connector. The uncovered exit tab shows the correct future exit number,
1A. It may also be, that unlike the 1/4 mile advance, there are only 2
route shields on the left side of the sign.
US 70 East
over newly placed overhead sign for the now open Business US 70/NC 98
exit on Future I-885 South.
Shields have still not been placed on the pull through signs along the
future I-885 South lanes at the new bridge over Business US 70/NC 98 and
grading work continues.
Work continues in constructing the future I-885 South lanes as seen
from current US 70 East using the future I-885 North lanes. This may be
the last significant piece of construction needed to be completed for
the project to be completed.
Taken by Charles M. Kunz along US 70 on April 24, 2020:
overheads on future I-885 South lanes with missing I-885, NC 147 and
I-40 shields, and covered over signs for US 70 East and Business 70
West/NC 98 exits as seen from current US 70 East lanes using future
I-885 North lanes.
January showing new covered overhead sign on US 70 West for future
West Business 70/NC 98 exit.
Taken by David Johnson along NC 147 South on April 2, 2020 showing new
signage in that direction:
This overhead gantry was put up in early April and will have signage
approaching the ramp to I-885 North from NC 147 South.
The 1/2 mile
advance overhead seen in the traffic camera image above. It would
appear that the contractor has installed signs from the original
plans, since you can see an '9' on the tab, this was to be Exit 9, but
with the decision to truncate NC 147 at I-885, this should be Exit 1A.
Also the spacing of the shields on the left side of the sign (South
I-885 is seen, I-40 on the right is mostly covered up) implies that
there are 3 shields, the old plan had South NC 147 in the middle.
completed future ramp from NC 147 South to the East End Connector,
The other overhead sign seen from behind by the traffic camera is this
yellow advisory sign that may read "Merging Traffic 2 Left Lanes'
referring to the I-885 South lanes ahead.
Another new pair of overhead signs has been installed southbound prior
to the Glover Road bridge, the right one is probably about the right
lane ending ahead, perhaps the other is a South I-885 pull through.
Taken by David Johnson along NC 147 on January 22, 2020 showing new
signage and completed southbound roadwork shown in traffic camera images
The new 1/4 mile advance sign put up in the media prior to the future
I-885/NC 147 split. Southbound traffic using recently completed lanes,
restricted to 2 lanes by traffic barrels.
It appears the future I-885 lanes heading off to the right are mostly
complete, and only partially blocked off.
NC 147 North traffic heading under support structure for Future I-885
South roadway from the East End Connector.
Traffic north of the East End Connector interchange still has to shift
to the right around continued widened railroad bridge construction.
The new 1/2 mile advance sign for the Briggs Avenue exit, with the
future Exit 1 tab, has now been partially covered by a tarp.
Work has mostly been completed along future left lanes of NC 147 North
prior to the railroad bridge.
Workers in closed off left lanes of NC 147 placing new concrete on
Photos by David Johnson along US 70 East on January 22, 2020:
support awaits Bus. 70/NC 98 exit sign at new off-ramp from US 70 East
(Future I-885 South) at start of project work zone.
Closeup view of
the exit ramp, US 70 East traffic moves over to Future I-885 North
lanes over the hill.
Traffic on US 70 East moved over to future I-885 North lanes after
crossing bridge over NC 98.
Grading still continues for Future I-885 South lanes south of the
Business 70/NC 98 exit, on-ramp traffic can be seen on the right.
Temporary exit ramp to Future I-885 South/US 70 East continues across
construction area from US 70 traffic south of NC 98/Bus. 70.
US 70 East traffic continues using Future I-885 North lanes headed
toward new railroad bridge being constructed prior to the East End
The future I-885 South lanes are paved approaching site of the new
A gantry for a future advance sign for the US 70 Business/NC 98 exit
has been placed just to the north of the new railroad bridge.
Approaching the new railroad bridge, work is proceeding on paving the
Future I-885 South lanes in the vicinity.
the new railroad bridge, with the temporary one just behind it.
the soon to be removed temporary railroad bridge with the East End
Connector interchange in the distance.
US 70 East
traffic still in Future I-885 North lanes, future south lanes paved
and sign gantries in place.
Signs up and uncovered for future split of I-885 South and US 70 East
approaching the East End Connector interchange.
Closer view of the new signage including an I-885 shield, though not
officially approved by AASHTO.
on Future I-885 South lanes approaching the East End Connector
barrier at end of future North I-885 lanes merging with US 70 West
within the East End Connector interchange.
Looking down paved future I-885 North lanes approaching US 70 lanes in
East End Connector interchange.
US 70 lanes
south of the future East End Connector interchange, future US 70 East
lanes now paved in the distance.
future end of US 70 freeway showing work continues in building future
US 70 East lanes.
Closer view of
still incomplete future southern end of US 70 freeway.
to widen US 70 at the southern end of the East End Connector project
Photos Taken by David Johnson on August 17,
Traffic no longer crosses over at the southern end of the Project work
Driving the new northbound lanes.
Future third lane of NC 147 North currently blocked off by yellow
Closeup of the new 1/2 mile advance signage from the new northbound
New NC 147 North lanes approaching the future I-885 split.
Closeup of overhead signage at future ramp
for I-885 North on new NC 147 North lanes, traffic moved over to the
Construction equipment is apparently being stored in the future I-885
lanes at the East End Connector interchange.
About to head under the ramp that will carry Future I-885 South
traffic to the Durham Freeway.
Driving under the Future I-885 South lanes.
The light at the end of the tunnel, or I guess underpass, in the East
End Connector interchange.
The new lanes continue up to the future on-ramp from I-885 South.
At present the exit only tab for the Briggs Avenue exit points to the
closed third lane just after merging with the future I-885 South on-ramp
(exit number still has not been corrected, should be 10). [Update-based
on new information above, this is correct, though could be signed as
More work is still needed where new NC 147 lanes meet the old
alignment at the railroad bridge prior to Briggs Avenue.
View of conditions at the end of the East End Connector Project work
zone prior to the Briggs Avenue exit.
Taken by David Johnson on July 21, 2019
Western end (NC 147)
Traffic entering the East End Connector
work zone on NC 147 South, future flyover ramp to I-885 North in
Passing by the future ramp to I-885 North. Notice the ramp has not
been paved as of yet.
Traffic passing under the completed flyover ramp. Northbound traffic
using southbound lanes still temporarily. Permanent NC 147 North lanes
are supposed to be opened this month. Switching directions...
The start of the work zone for the East End Connector project on NC
NC 147 North
traffic shifting to temporary lanes prior to the East End Connector
interchange. Work is still ongoing to transition the old alignment to
the new lanes.
The future I-885/NC 147 North lanes appear close to completion but are
still missing some lane markings.
Closeup view of the 1/2 mile advance sign for NC 147 North and the
covered over I-885 North to US 70, I-85 pull through sign. The control
cities hidden are Greensboro and Petersburg.
Closeup of the exit signs at the future NC 147 North exit ramp. Will
future traffic reporters refer to this as the I-885/NC 147 Split? Work
is near completion beyond the barrier for the future South I-885/NC 147
Shoulder work continues back toward future merge between I-885 and NC
147 South beyond the flyover ramp.
View of the future merge area of South NC 147 and I-885 traffic, work
on the I-885 ramp bridge continues.
Closer view of the the future I-885 South lanes as they approach NC
Support structure for Future I-885 South lanes extends out over Future
NC 147 North prior to flyover ramp.
Looking under the flyover ramp toward the future on-ramp to NC 147
from I-885 South.
Nearing the end of the work zone with future NC 147 lanes to the right
still needing lane markings.
The overhead exit tab for Briggs Avenue is still missing a 0 (unless
NCDOT decided to change the number to 1 after the sign was
Driving north under the completed Future I-885/East End Connector
bridges over Angier Avenue and railroad tracks.
Closeup view of the underside of the two bridges.
East End/US 70
View heading west on US 70 at start of construction zone, not much
change in the past month.
Still no progress in tying in future flyover ramp to I-885 South to US
70 lanes, nor grading Future US 70 East lanes to the left.
More work appears needed to complete the flyover ramp as well as build
new US 70 East lanes at the I-885 interchange.
A closer look at the flyover ramp, no pavement markings for future
temporary US 70 East travel lanes.
Still only 1 temporary exit sign for Carr Road exit seen going under
Little progress seen on the left in completing the grading of the
Future I-885 South/US 70 East lanes approaching the Carr Road bridge.
A better look at the future I-885 South/US 70 East lanes. Portable VMS
with information on NC 98 exit.
New railroad bridge can be seen nearing completion behind temporary
bridge from US 70 West.
A better look at the new bridge behind the temporary structure.
Hopefully the overhead sign gantry beyond the bridge will be moved
Traveling over the bridge at NC 98/Business US 70 along Future I-885
Construction work still continues to the left to complete the Future
I-885 North lanes in the vicinity of NC 98/Business 70.
Work to grade future I-885 lanes continues at northern end of East
End Connector project work zone following the NC 98/Business 70 exit.
Photos taken in late June 2019 by Charles M. Kunz show first new East
End Connector signage on NC 147:
The overhead signage installed in mid-June show, partially hidden, the
first I-885 shield, though still not officially approved by AASHTO. The
exit tab also shows that they have changed the exit number plan since
the first sign plans were created, this was to be Exit 4 (see plans
below). Apparently having 2 Exit 1s along the Durham Freeway corridor
between NC 540 and the Connector was thought to be too confusing, so NC
147 mileage will continue to be used, at least until I-885 splits off
toward US 70.
A newly installed 1/2 mile advance sign along the future NC 147 lanes
for the Briggs Avenue exit. There appears to be a missing 0 on the exit
tab, as the exit number should be 10.
Photos taken in June 2019 by Adam Prince show little progress since
April due to the weather along US 70:
Little work has occurred in completing the future US 70 eastbound
lanes at the future interchange with I-885, looking west.
This temporary sign has been put up prior to the off-ramp for the new
Carr Road exit on US 70 West.
Again, progress on the future I-885 South lanes to the left has not
really advanced near the Carr Road bridge since April.
US 70 west traffic traveling under temporary railroad bridge, not much
progress seen in building the permanent structure on the other side.
Large cell tower looms over new NC 98 exit off-ramp currently without
any permanent signage.
New overhead 1/2 Mile advance sign for Cheek Road exit, blank space on
right is presumably for yellow right lane ends sign. Notice lack of
progress on completing the road to the left of the concrete barrier.
Photos taken in April 2019 by Isaiah Sconiers showing US 70 West moved
to permanent alignment earlier in the month:
Westbound US 70 traffic at future ramp to I-885 South with nearly
completed flyover ramp in distance, eastbound US 70 traffic to also be
shifted to future US 70 West lanes in near future.
Closeup view of flyover ramp, current US 70 will serve as a service
road going underneath flyover on left.
One new exit sign gantry is up prior to Carr Road bridge while others
await placement in future US 70 East lanes.
US 70 traffic heads under temporary railroad bridge with support posts
now in path of roadway.
Photos taken in late August 2018 at the NC 147 interchange by Adam
Traffic on NC 147 North using temporary cross over to southbound lanes
prior to future East End Connector interchange.
Future I-885/NC 147 lanes currently share northbound traffic while
future northbound lanes are widened and reconstructed ahead of Future
View approaching future I-885 and NC 147/Durham Freeway split shows
future north lanes still only graded. NCDOT's official timeline has the
NC 147 modifications completed by June 2018.
Graded future NC 147/Durham Freeway and I-885 North lanes continue as
ramp for I-885 can be seen heading right in the distance.
Traveling under the future NC 147 South to I-885 North flyover ramp
with view of future Durham Freeway north lanes and ramp curving off to
left in the distance.
View of the future ramp from I-885 South to NC 147/Durham Freeway
North still only graded, along with future NC 147 North lanes.
Photos taken in late July 2018 at the US 70 interchange by David
US 70 traffic has been diverted onto an new roadway to the left of the
future lanes at the East End Connector interchange, part will be used
for future US 70 East ramp traffic (Variable message sign is indicating
NC 98 exit is temporarily closed).
Work to build the flyover ramp from US 70 West to I-885 South can be
completed now that US 70 traffic has been shifted to the left.
Looking to the west of the US 70 roadway one can see the building of
the future ramp to US 70 East from I-885 North.
Closeup view of the US 70 West flyover ramp gap over the incomplete
I-885/US 70 freeway.
US 70 traffic on temporary alignment heading under completed part of
future flyover ramp to I-885 South.
Completed Carr Road bridge can be seen to the right as US 70
transitions back to its existing lanes after the East End Connector
Closer view of completed Carr Road bridge over future I-885/US 70
Workers place asphalt along the closed right lane of US 70 West
heading toward the NC 98 exit.
Workers prepare new alignment for US 70 West lanes diverging from
current roadway approaching railroad bridge.
New lane being built on the right appears will take US 70 West traffic
to right side of railroad bridge in the distance.
US 70 lanes using future I-885 South roadway approaching railroad
bridges (current temporary and future).
New but temporary bridge in front of permanent bridge under
construction approaching NC 98 interchange.
Piers of temporary bridge being dug out as part of construction
process for permanent railroad bridge.
Work is proceeding on new lanes to connect to future NC 98 bridge.
End of new pavement ahead along current alignment of US 70 approaching
the closed NC 98 exit.
Future bridge over NC 98 can be seen on the right, the closed NC 98
exit was at the other side of the bridge.
Closer view of he bridge and work behind it to connect to future I-885
Presumably when future I-885 North bridge over NC 98 is complete,
traffic will be shifted over so that southbound bridge can be
constructed along what is currently US 70 East and West lanes.
Pavement is being placed to the right for future I-885 North lanes
between NC 98 and Cheek Road.
Earlier photos taken by the Durham Herald Sun at the Future US 70
interchange in July 2018:
Construction of flyover ramps still in progress. US 70 traffic using
future eastbound lanes.
Looking along future path of incomplete flyover ramp over Future I-885
North lanes looking east.
Different view showing construction progress at future interchange
with US 70.
View taken from future flyover ramp structure for future US 70
Latest traffic camera view looking south from the NC 55 exit
(northbound camera has been off-line since May 2018) showing progress
adding future I-885 on-ramp to NC 147 North:
Earlier Views from NCDOT Traffic Cameras in March 2018 and December
2017 showing Durham Freeway near EEC interchange, as of March northbound
traffic has been shifted temporarily to completed southbound lanes so
northbound lanes can be rebuilt:
Latest Photos -
Taken on May 5, 2018 by Adam Prince along US 70:
US 70 West approaching future off-ramp to I-885 South, future on-ramp
from the Connector to US 70 East can be seen on the left.
There has been little progress in extending the flyover ramp across
the current US 70 lanes, perhaps they are waiting for traffic to be
shifted to the US 70 freeway lanes.
Future interchange ramp bridges can be seen across US 70 from the
current westbound lanes.
The paved future US 70 freeway lanes are being used as a storage area
for construction materials.
Beyond the NC 98 exit, work continues to upgrade US 70 to become the
future northern end of the I-885 freeway.
on March 20, 2018 by David Johnson from temporary NC 147 northbound
NC 147 North traffic using crossover to access completed southbound
lanes to be shared by Durham Freeway traffic while new northbound lands
approaching the Future I-885 North interchange is completed.
NC 147 traffic in future southbound lanes approaching Glover Road
bridge prior to East End Connector construction.
Contractors have already ripped out old northbound lane surface
approaching future I-885 North exit ramp.
View under completed NC 147 South to I-885 North flyover ramp of
paved Future I-885 ramps and new bridge construction.
Closer look at new bridge construction and removal of former
northbound lanes beyond concrete barriers.
Closer view of completed flyover ramp for NC 147 traffic to access
the East Connector roadway.
Another view of new bridge construction from temporary Durham Freeway
Closer look at new bridge construction heading under the flyover ramp
Earlier Photos - Taken
on July 23 and 28, 2017 by David Johnson:
Traveling southbound showing progress in
building ramp structures over the Durham Freeway:
Traffic being shifted heading toward future I-885 North off-ramp.
The future I-885 North off-ramp is being
The girders for the future I-885 North off-ramp were placed during the
weekend of July 14-16.
While the beams are new the grading of the surrounding roadway has
been completed for a while, based on the grass growth.
A closeup of the bottom of the new ramp structure already having
bridge deck materials being placed between the girders.
The previously placed part of the ramp over the northbound lanes have
been mostly completed.
Traffic south of the interchange is now using the new southbound lanes
heading toward Ellis Road.
Along US 70 at the other end of Connector
View from US 70 East heading toward East End Connector construction
Long standing destination mileage sign on US 70 East approaching
future flyover ramp for East End Connector.
Incomplete flyover ramp for future I-885 South traffic as seen from US
70 East at East End Avenue.
A closer view of he flyover ramp with completed steel work above
future I-885/US 70 lanes.
Some of the support structures for other ramps seen from US 70
awaiting their steel their completion.
Idle crane waits in front of bridge under construction over Future
I-885 lanes being graded leading away from US 70 East.
Looking under the bridge reveals future I-885 roadway toward the
Durham Freeway receiving final grading.
Closer view of southern end of bridge showing work proceeding on
creating barrier walls above Future I-885 lanes.
Earlier Photos from March
31 and April 2, 2017:
First the western section, NC 147, between Briggs Avenue and Ellis
Road, heading South then turning around:
Entering NC 147 South from the Briggs Ave. on-ramp showing traffic
being shifted to a temporary bridge while the future southbound lanes
and ramps are being constructed.
About to head over the temporary bridge on NC 147 South showing
concrete has been poured for future Southbound lanes and bridge
approaching the Future I-885 North off-ramp.
A little further south, concrete barriers separate NC 157 South traffic
from future southbound lanes approaching interchange fly-over ramps.
Approaching the flyover ramp that will take NC 147 South traffic to
I-885 North showing not all the overhead beams have been installed yet.
To the right, not all of the concrete roadway has been placed for the
future South lanes.
Traveling further south after the flyover ramps with the future NC 147
South lanes now elevated to the right.
Work is ongoing in building the future I-885/NC 147 South lanes south
of the interchange with both lanes of current traffic in the future
Construction of new I-885/NC 147 South lanes continues south from the
East End Connector toward Ellis Road, with Glover Road bridge in
Power line warning signs and the start of concrete placement on the
future Southbound lanes highlight the southern part of the East End
Connector work zone.
Turning around at Ellis Road and heading north, the East End Connector
work zone is first viewed prior to passing under the Glover Road bridge.
Work on the Future Southbound lanes can be barely seen above the median
barriers as seen from North NC 147.
Approaching the future split of NC 147 with I-885 North, work on the
future southbound lanes can be seen to the left.
Heading further toward the flyover ramps, the future North I-885 ramp
can be seen to the right, only recently begun grading work.
A closer view of the Future I-885 ramp heading off from NC 147 lanes
about to go under the future flyover ramp and bridge.
A close view of the flyover and other ramp bridges being built over NC
View after traveling under the future ramps of construction area heading
towards the Briggs Avenue exit.
At the northern end of the construction zone, work has started on the
right in building the Future I-885 South ramp to NC 147 North.
Next, the Middle Section-Angier Avenue:
Heading north on Angier Avenue through the East End Connector work zone
shows progress in building supports and grading the future I-885 lanes
to the east to carry traffic over the road and the railroad tracks to
A closer view of
construction while traveling between the bridge pier construction and
the elevated land for the I-885 roadway.
Finally, the Eastern Section - US 70 from East End Avenue to NC 98 (and
View from US 70 West at East End Avenue intersection with East End
Connector work zone coming into view.
View from US 70 west just passed the East End Avenue intersection,
showing Current and Future US 70 lanes.
Approaching the future ramp from US 70 to I-885 South on the right,
where some paving has started heading up toward the ramp overpass.
Looking to the west of US 70, a paved on-ramp from Future I-885 North
and bridge construction can be spotted.
Approaching the future site of the I-885 South off-ramp from US 70 West
with a closer look at the paved lanes.
Another look to the west of US 70 opposite the future I-885 South
Off-Ramp showing grading and paving of future ramp to US 70 East.
Approaching the flyover ramp for I-885 South partially completed over
current US 70 lanes with bridge being constructed to the left.
Closer look of ramp bridge being constructed that will take traffic
under the flyover ramp for US 70 West traffic heading onto I-885 South.
A view to the right from US 70 West shows future I-885/US 70 lanes
heading under completed bridge currently not connected to any street.
A closer look at the future I-885/US 70 lanes shows paving has not
begun along graded roadway underneath the completed bridge.
Signage for the pre-existing US 70 Business exit from US 70 West in the
middle of the East End Connector work zone. When I-885 is completed US
70 Business traffic will use the revised NC 98 exit.
US 70 lanes travel toward future I-885/US 70 lanes to travel under
bridge prior to NC 98 exit.
About to travel over new bridge over Future I-885/US 70 lanes, current
US 70 traveling in future southbound lanes will work is still ongoing to
excavate future northbound lanes.
Future I-885 North lanes continue to the right paralleling US 70 headed
toward the NC 98 Exit.
Prior to the NC 98 exit, work is continuing of the bridge that will
take I-885 North/US 70 West over NC 98.
A closer look at the NC 98 Exit Gore Sign. This will be Exit 11 when
I-885 is completed, see sign plans below.
View at the bottom of the US 70 West off-ramp to NC 98 showing the
construction is proceeding that will take I-885 North traffic over the
Returning east on US 70 showing work is half finished in demolishing
old railroad bridge in front of new one being completed over Future
I-885 South lanes.
Looking South beyond the bridge, over approaching project work zone as
US 70 curves to meet US 70 Business.
Further along approaching East End Avenue intersection with Future
I-885/US 70 lanes to left and flyover ramp in distance.
Approaching East End Avenue and future interchange area, another look
at US 70 West to I-885 South flyover ramp construction.
View on US 70 East beyond East End Avenue showing future US 70 lanes
slowly making their way back to the alignment of the current lanes at
the bottom of the hill.
At the bottom of the hill and the southern end of the East End
Connector project work zone, showing the last part of the new road
alignment merging with the old prior to the Living Waters Community
Earlier Photos -
February 19, 2017
A few photos from Adam Prince showing the progress building the
interchange with NC 147, the Durham Freeway approaching the interchange
on NC 147 North:
October 23, 2016
These photos, from LC, show progress on the eastern side of the
project along US 70 West, traveling through the future I-885/US 70
interchange and further north to the existing freeway north of NC 98:
Here's a view of progress on the NC 147
side from the NCDOT Traffic Camera in the area, taken 10/15/16:
- April 17, 2016
These photos, from Adam Prince, show
progress on the eastern side of the project along US 70 West
traveling through the future I-885/US 70 interchange and then
further north toward the current Business 70 off-ramp:
Previous Photos - November 14, 2015
These photos, from Adam Prince, show the progress on the eastern side
of the project along US 70 toward the current Business 70 off-ramp
Previous Photos - October 30, 2015
These photos, courtesy of Adam Prince, show progress at the future
I-885/NC 147 interchange, compare with previous photos regarding work in
median and in constructing the future I-885 North Off-Ramp:
Previous Photos - June 22, 2015
The contractors have begun clearing the project area, starting first on
the eastern side along US 70, and now along the western side on NC 147
starting in late May. Here are some photos of the clearing along the
Durham Freeway on June 20:
And of the clearing and other construction along US 70 courtesy
of Adam Prince from May 20:
Proposed Route of I-885
This future interstate highway would use an upgraded US 70 freeway East
(South) from I-85 Exit 178 two miles to the planned East End Connector
which would then run about a mile from US 70 to the Durham Freeway (NC
147). The route would then run south with NC 147 for about 5 more miles
to I-40 Exit 270 along the Durham Freeway (planned to be widened to 6
lanes). The benefit of the I-885 proposal would be to provide a single
numerical designation for drivers from I-85 to RTP and, since the East
End Connector is funded as Durham's Urban Loop project, like other NC
cities' urban loops, an interstate designation is appropriate. An even
number is to be used since it would connect two interstates.
NCDOT officials have discussed an I-885 designation for about 10 years,
but the sign plans were the first public notice of the interstate
proposal. An NCDOT official says it may be necessary to upgrade parts of
the Durham Freeway and US 70 (widen some of the existing shoulders
outside of the Project area or request an exemption for a bridge that
might not quite meet the specifications) to get federal approval. NCDOT
doesn't plan to submit applications to either the FHWA or AASHTO until
closer to the East End Connector project's completion, they did not do
so at the AASHTO meeting in October 2019.2 Here's a map of
the corridor from the News & Observer:
Read more here:
a map of the proposed route, courtesy of the Raleigh News & Observer
The East End Connector has been an official NCDOT project since the
1970s. Traffic planners in Durham had a connecting route from the Durham
Freeway to US 70 in mind earlier in the 1960s when they mapped out the
Durham Freeway and left space for an interchange with the Connector
between Exits 8 and 11. Since there is no direct connection between the
two major east-west highways in the City of Durham (Durham Freeway and
US 70), motorists and truckers often use other streets to access the
highway system. NCDOT estimated over the next 25 years, traffic volumes
would increase significantly and without the Connector additional
cut-through traffic would affect local streets and communities. The East
End Connector, NCDOT argued, would provide a link among four major
transportation routes (I-85, US 70, NC 147, and I-40) and facilitate
better traffic flow.
The project has been shelved several times due to wrangling over
competing Durham road priorities and debates over a state spending
formula that always seemed to find other cities more deserving of
big-project dollars.8 During the 1990s NCDOT, the
Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City
of Durham and Durham County all identified the East End Connector
project as a priority and pressed for funding. The project was made
eligible for funding under the Urban Loop construction fund in the late
1990s after the preferred NCDOT Loop project, a northern bypass which
would have cut through the Eno River State Park, was opposed by city
officials. The neighborhoods to be affected, largely African-American,
were wary of the project, remembering how the building of the Durham
Freeway through the heart of downtown during the 1960s bulldozed much of
the vibrant 'Black Wall Street' area (opposition which prevented the
Freeway from being completed until the late 1990s). NCDOT's preferred
alternative to construct the Connector, ended up with 22 residences and
33 businesses being condemned. The final hurdle, concerns of residents
of the Hayestown neighborhood, located mostly between Angier Avenue and
U.S. 70, was alleviated in 2010 when NCDOT made changes in project plans
to provide an improved interchange at Carr Road to preserve the
neighborhood’s access to U.S. 70.15
Read more here:
Read more here:
Plans (as of 2/17/22)
Changes to the designations of the Durham Freeway since the start of
construction have resulted in new sign plans being created. The changes
result from the decision in 2019 for NC 147 to not run concurrently with
I-885 on the Durham Freeway. Instead, NC 147 will only run north of the
East End Connector interchange. The Triangle Expressway portion of Toll
NC 147 south of I-40 will be renumbered as NC 885. Therefore, the
existing exit numbers along the Durham Freeway will remain and those
originally planned for the Connector and US 70 portions of I-885 will be
changed (see plans below). As part of a contract let in September 2021
to replaced signage along the Triangle Expressway (NC 540 and now NC
885), sign plans have included those for I-885 as well along I-40, the
Durham Freeway and Triangle expressway. Here are examples of some of the
signs, the plans were created assuming the I-885 signs would already be
in place by the time the other signs went up, but this has not happened
yet due to the delays in the Connector opening.
Signs headed west are simply replacing the NC 147 shield with that of
While those headed east will include a "To NC 147" on them:
Here's a closeup
of the I-885 1/4 mile advance sign at the ramp to Toll NC 885 South:
The signs alerting drivers of the approach of the Triangle Expressway
Toll Road will simply have their shields changed from NC 147 to NC 885:
Trailblazer signage will be changed along Toll NC 147 to Toll NC 885,
and will include additional information:
signage at the southern end of NC 885. The directions of Toll NC 540,
which were originally East and South at this interchange were changed
to West and East in May 2023:
going in the opposite direction to what they are signed as is possibly
confusing, what about signage on I-40 which was also changed in May
and now indicates a choice between I-540 East and NC 540 East, here's
the 1/2 mile advance sign on I-40 East from NCDOT's traffic camera at
Page Road taken on June 9:
*And here's the signage at the exit, courtesy of David Johnson, photo
taken May 28, 2023:
Here's plans for
the new ground mounted exit ramp signage, in this case for the
Alexander Drive exit, notice the note for the overhead Durham Freeway
sign, those are to be changed by the East End Connector contract, the
ground mounted signs are part of a sign replacement contract for the
Triangle Expressway toll road:
Here's plans for new exit numbers along the Durham Freeway north of the
East End Connector/I-885 interchange:
Signage plan showing changed exit numbers for NC 147 after future
truncation at I-885 interchange. Most exits simply go down by 9, however
the Chapel Hill Street exit, current Exit 13 will become 4A while Swift
Avenue, Exit 14 is to become 4B.
Here's the new exit number overlay plan for the Duke University
auxiliary sign for the US 15/501 South exit:
And, perhaps the most important auxiliary sign for the Durham Bulls
Sign plans in
vicinity of the NC 55 exit:
Posted in 2018 by Roadsguy on AARoads Forum, here are the new plans for
I-40 signing for the Durham Freeway exit:
Here is what else Roadsguy has learned about the updated signage from
his contact at NCDOT in 2018:
The plans don't include renumbering all of NC 147's exits, just Briggs
Avenue. As we've already seen, it's Exit 1 northbound. Southbound,
however, 10B and 10A become Exit 1C (speculation, not shown) and 1B,
with 1A being the southbound exit flyover to the connector. The roadway
merging onto southbound I-885 has no exit number for it. (EDIT: Has the
Exit 1B signage for Briggs Avenue on NC 147 southbound been installed
The mismatch of Exit 4/Exit 5/Exit 6B at each end of the connector is no
more. The NC 147, US 70, and NC 98/US 70 Business exits are now Exit 9,
Exit 10, and Exit 11, respectively.
Though none of the Triangle Expressway signage is modified in these
plans (except for the one mentioned above), I imagine that nothing more
needs to be done than simply slapping NC 885 shields over the NC 147
shields and "To I-885" shields over the "To NC 147" shields. (Existing
signage at the 147/540 interchange treats regular/toll NC 147 and
regular/toll NC 540 as separate routes for some reason.)18
Some of these questions were later answered by the new plans from late
Meanwhile, here are older plans for one of the signs at the future
intersection between I-885/US70 and West Business 70/NC 98:
Earlier plans had the NC 98/Business 70 numbered Exits Northbound
and 6A and 6B Southbound, the Cheek Road exit would have been renumbered
Exit 7 (with the I-85 exit renumbered Exit 8), as seen in the plan below
(these will now be Exits 11, 12 and 13):
Here was the plan for the overhead signs at the future southbound split
of I-885 and US 70, the new exit number will be 10A:
Signage at the west end of the Connector was planned to appear as this
when NC 147 was to run concurrently with I-885:
The Split of I-885 (to the Connector) and NC 147 northbound is to be
Exit 4, as the photos above show, this is now Exit 9:
Ellis Road was to become Exit 3, as the sign plan below indicated,
while Alexander Drive was to be Exit 2 and Cornwallis Road Exit 1, they
will all now keep their current numbers.
Here's what the signage on NC 147 South approaching the future I-885
interchange was to look like, first at Briggs Avenue:
Then approaching the flyover ramp to the Connector, notice the 40 MPH
The Briggs Avenue exits will now be 1C and 1B with the I-885 North
Exit, 1A. Finally, here's the proposed signage on the US 70 West (which
should not change):
"Drive" the Future Interstate using Google Maps Street View:
Signage at the Ellis Road exit heading south after the East End
Connector work zone.
Signage at the Alexander Drive exit where NC 147 enters Research
Signage at the Cornwallis Road exit and the approaching I-40 exit prior
to NC 147 South becoming a toll road.
exit ramp to Cornwallis Road northbound. This section of the Freeway
had been recently widened to 3 lanes in anticipation of the completion
of the Triangle Parkway toll road, 10/14/2011.
The 3 lane section ends just beyond the
Alexander Drive interchange. NCDOT now has plans to widen the rest of
the freeway to 3 lanes between here and the Connector and southbound
from the Connector to Cornwallis Road. (10/14/2011)
Signage on I-85 North at Split with US 70 East, this will be the
future northern end of I-885 when the East End Connector project is