The RTA applauds Governor McCrory, NCDOT, AASHTO, and FHWA for designating the US 64 east freeway corridor between Raleigh and I-95 at Rocky Mount as I-495 / Future I-495. 

The I-495 corridor between I-440 and I-95 creates Raleigh’s first direct free-flow Interstate highway link to the northern and mid-Atlantic states.  The portion from I-440 to I-540 is now designated at I-495; signage of both “I-495” (west of I-540) and “Future I-495” (east of I-540) will be installed during 2014.

Click on the following links for news and media coverage of the designation of I-495 in North Carolina, which was announced on December 12, 2013 by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in conjunction with the RTA 12th Annual Meeting: The State of Mobility 2013.

Announcement from Governor Pat McCrory
NCDOT News Release
– Raleigh News & Observer (1, 2)
– WRAL TV (1)
– WTVD TV (1)
– WITN TV (1)
– News14 Carolina (1)
– Triangle Business Journal (1)
– Spring Hope Enterprise (1)

The RTA continues to support an interstate designation for the entire corridor from Raleigh to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia via I-495 to Rocky Mount and continuing east and northeast to Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

The corridor would follow the I-495 and Future I-495 freeway corridor from I-40/I-440 at Raleigh east to I-95 at Rocky Mount.  It would continue east along the US 64 freeway towards Tarboro and Williamston, NC and then travel the US 17 corridor via Elizabeth City, NC, and then connect to the cities of Chesapeake and Norfolk, Virginia in the Hampton Roads region.  While all of I-495/US 64 between Raleigh and Williamston is freeway, many segments of US 17 from Williamston to I-64 in Hampton Roads are not freeway and would need expansion, upgrade, or new location.

 US Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 – H.R. 2950, sec 1105 (sample map, description of high priority corridor 13). 

64_cMore than 50% of the existing corridor from Raleigh to Hampton Roads via Rocky Mount and Elizabeth City is already built to freeway standards.  The entire US 64 corridor from Raleigh to Williamston is built to freeway standards, with the vast majority of mileage posted at 70 MPH.  The I-495/Future I-495/US 64-264 Knightdale bypass in Wake County was built to Interstate standards, with the section west of I-540 designated as I-495 in December 2013.  Some sections of the US 17 corridor are also freeway in the vicinity of Windsor, Edenton, and Elizabeth City, NC.

Within Virginia there would be multiple ways to connect to I-64.  The City of Chesapeake is currently constructing three new interchanges on US 17/Dominion Boulevard.  The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization passed a resolution in 2010 endorsing the imparovements to US 17/Dominion Boulevard as a regional, high priority project.  In addition, VA 168 is an existing turnpike freeway from I-64 to near the North Carolina border.

A future Interstate corridor designation from Raleigh to Hampton Roads via Rocky Mount and Elizabeth City, NC would require approval by the State of North Carolina, the Commonwealth of Virginia, AASHTO, and FHWA. Corridors approved as a future Interstate generally require improvements to be completed within a 25 year window.  Click here for more information.

The upgrades needed for an Interstate designation for existing freeway sections generally revolve around changes to shoulder and bridge widths, bridge clearances, and pavement thicknesses.  Recent NCDOT estimates of additional costs per county between I-440 at Raleigh and I-95 at Rocky Mount – above and beyond other expected improvements along the corridor – range from around $5m in Wake, $8m in Franklin, and $50m in Nash counties, assuming no design exceptions.

Economic Development Benefits of Future Interstate Designation for US 64 east of Raleigh

The opening of the US Highway 64 freeway east of Raleigh has provided a significant boost to the economy of eastern Wake County. The towns of Knightdale, Wendell, and Zebulon have all benefited from the improved traffic flow and accessibility to downtown Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park. Designating the section of US 64 from I-440 east to at least I-95 as a future interstate would add to the economic impact that has already occurred.

Transportation is one of the major factors that site selectors evaluate when making decisions on the location of new businesses that provide jobs and investment in our community. Having Interstate access is a very important part of this determination, and communities with excellent access to Interstate highways are at a competitive advantage.   An Interstate designation will have a very positive impact on the marketing efforts of Wake County and the region as well as providing improved traffic flow and safety.

Designating US 64 as an Interstate would enhance the attractiveness and marketability of not only Wake County but also Franklin County which currently has two interchanges on US 64 but no direct connection to any Interstate highways.  The Franklin County Board of Commissioners have focused on the development of southern Franklin County to take advantage of the eastward growth of Wake County.  A future Interstate designation would afford the southern portion of Franklin County with a direct Interstate connection linking the county with north-south I-95 and east-west I-40 and help catalyze growth in a distressed area of Franklin County.64_a

Ken Atkins
Former Executive Director, Wake County Economic Development
Ronnie Goswick
Director, Franklin County Economic Development Commission

Travel and Tourism Benefits of Future Interstate Designation for US 64 corridor east of Raleigh

Greater Raleigh has invested over $3 Billion in new tourism infrastructure over the past two years. Tourism directly employs over 18,000 people in Wake County alone and generates over $1.5 Billion in direct expenditures.  Ease and simplicity of access is extremely important to our region’s success and a future Interstate designation would help attract visitors from the population centers to the northeast.  The majority of the visitors to the Capital area come from within a five hour driving radius which includes Virginia and Maryland travelers heading south via I-95.

Drivers want to avoid stop lights when traveling and a future Interstate designation from I-95 to Raleigh would help convey that they have a direct shot to Wake County and the Capital region.  Printed and electronic/online maps would begin incorporating the future Interstate designation which would make it easier for visitors to come the Capital City. In addition, we also believe that the Interstate designation would spur more growth and development in eastern Wake County, southern Franklin County, and Nash County along and near the corridor.

Dennis Edwards
President and CEO
Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau

Resolutions and letters in support of Interstate/Future Interstate designation for all/portions of corridor along US 64 east of Raleigh and US 17 north

H.R. 2211 Cosponsors

  • North Carolina
    1.Rep. Butterfield, G. K.

    2.Rep. Ellmers, Renee L
    3.Rep. Jones, Walter B., Jr.
    4.Rep. Price, David E.
    5.Rep. Foxx, Virginia
    6.Rep. Walker, Mark
    7.Rep. Rouzer, David
    8.Rep. Hudson, Richard
    9.Rep. Pittenger, Robert
    10.Rep. McHenry, Patrick T.
    11.Rep. Meadows, Mark
    12.Rep. Adams, Alma S.
    13.Rep. Holding, George
  • Virginia
    1.Rep. Wittman, Robert J.
    2.Rep. Rigell, E. Scott
    3.Rep. Scott, Robert C. “Bobby”
    4.Rep. Forbes, J. Randy

S. 1348 Cosponsors

  • North Carolina
    Sen. Tillis, Thom
    Sen. Burr, Richard
  • Virginia
    Sen. Kaine, Tim
    Sen. Warner, Mark R

Regional transportation planning organizations

  • Capital Area MPO – Wednesday, May 18, 2005 and Wednesday, January 16, 2013
  • Rocky Mount Area MPO – Monday September 19, 2005 and Monday, May 18, 2015
  • Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) – Thursday, November 20, 2014
  • Albemarle RPO – Wednesday, January 21, 2015
  • Kerr-Tar RPO – Thursday, October 13, 2005
  • Mid-East RPO – Wednesday, February 4, 2015
  • Peanut Belt RPO – Thursday, May 14, 2015
  • Upper Coastal Plain RPO – Tuesday, December 20, 2005

County boards of commissioners

  • Wake County – Monday, May 18, 2015
  • Franklin County – Monday, October 2, 2006
  • Nash County – Monday, March 9, 2015
  • Edgecombe County – Monday, March 2, 2015
  • Martin County – Wednesday, May 14, 2014
  • Bertie County – Monday, May 4, 2015
  • Chowan County – Monday, February 2, 2015
  • Perquimans County – Monday, February 2, 2015
  • Pasquotank County – Monday, February 2, 2015 and March 17, 2014
  • Camden County – Monday, April 6, 2015
  • Gates County – Wednesday, February 4, 2015
  • Beaufort County – Monday, March 10, 2014
  • Dare County – Monday, February 2, 2015
  • Hyde County – Monday, February 2, 2015
  • Tyrrell County – Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Municipal government

  • City of Elizabeth City – Monday, March 24, 2014
  • Town of Edenton – Tuesday, February 10, 2015
  • Town of Williamston – Monday, April 14, 2014
  • Town of Columbia – Monday, February 2, 2015
  • Town of Garysburg – Thursday, February 5, 2015

State transportation departments

  • Support letter from North Carolina DOT – February 20, 2015 and June 11, 2014
  • Support letter from Virginia DOT – March 5, 2015

Regional Transportation Alliance (RTA), Chamber of Commerce, Business, and Transportation Advocacy

  • Regional Transportation Alliance – Thursday, January 13, 2011 and Thursday, May 12, 2005
  • Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce – Wednesday, March 25, 2015 and Tuesday, October 25, 2005
  • Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Chesapeake Division – Tuesday, August 19, 2014
  • Cary Chamber of Commerce – Wednesday, May 18, 2005
  • Franklin County Chamber of Commerce – Thursday, September 7, 2006
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce – Wednesday, May 11, 2005
  • Garner Chamber of Commerce – Tuesday, May 17, 2005
  • Knightdale Chamber of Commerce – Tuesday, June 14, 2005
  • Hampton Roads Business Roundtable – Monday, November 17, 2014
  • Highway 17 Association – Wednesday, February 26, 2014
  • Virginia Beach Vision – Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Economic Development

  • Northeast North Carolina Commission – Wednesday, May 18, 2011
  • Carolinas Gateway Partnership (Rocky Mount area) – Thursday, May 19, 2011 and Thursday, August 17, 2005
  • Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) – Thursday, October 13, 2005

Travel and Tourism

  • Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau – Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sample resolution of support here