Skip to main content

Outer Banks Road Trip (3/24)

Last Saturday, I took a road trip out to the Outer Banks. I wanted to get the last three counties in Northeastern NC I need along with picking up some missing highway ends. The main reason for the trip was to go hiking at Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head.

The Route: NC 50, I-85, US 158, US 158 Bypass, I-85, US 158, US 301, NC 186, NC 305, NC 561, NC 45, NC 461, local secondaries, NC 45, US 158, NC 137, NC 37, US 17, NC 344, US 17, US 158, NC 136, US 158, US 64, I-540, local roads to home.

Accomplishments: Added Hertford, Gates, and Currituck Counties. Clinched NC 136 and 137 in addition to new mileage on numerous highways: US 158, NC 305, NC 561, NC 45, NC 461, NC 37, NC 344, and US 64.

Notes:

Between Oxford and Henderson US 158 splits to a by-pass (two lanes) and business route. I took the Bypass route which weaves around I-85 briefly before a brief multiplex in Henderson. There is one instance where US 158 crosses I-85 without an interchange. However, the bridge that carries I-85 over the 158 By-pass was built to cross over four lanes and in fact grading four an additional two lanes of US 158 is there. This is the only hint that US 158 could be four lanes through here or was there an interchange here years ago? This is at about mile 208 on I-85.

There is still an I-85 North Carolina shield on US 1 North/158 East at Exit 220 in Middleburg.


Plenty of old advertisements and buildings exist on US 158 in Macon, Vaughn and Littleton. There is also an abandoned railroad right of way.

NC 35's Southern end sits literally on the Northhampton and Hertford County Lines.


NC 461 East end is at a Nucor Steel Plant near Cofield. This is the second instance - that I know of - where a NC state highway either exists or has been extended to end at an industrial plant entrance. The other is NC 149 ending at the Weyerhaeuser mill in Plymouth.


NC 344 is now signed and exists in Elizabeth City. It begins at the US 17 Bypass at Halstead Blvd. Extension. It follows Halstead Blvd. into Elizabeth City where it eventually picks up the former routing of NC 34 south through Weeksville to end at the Pasquotank River. NC 34 now ends at US 158 in Belcross. Unfortunately, there is not an 'END' NC 344 shield at the US 17 Bypass. The NC 344 signs were erected on April 19, 2006.


US 17 through Elizabeth City has another bannered route. There is US 17 By-Pass (which is a freeway east of the city), what I call 'Vanilla' US 17 (the old 'by-pass'), US 17 Business, and now US 17 Truck Business (a truck bypass for the business route). Elizabeth City now has tied Smithfield-Selma for the most bannered routes of a US highway in the state. US 70 has US 70 By-Pass, 'Vanilla' US 70, US 70A, and US 70 Business. I'll give Elizabeth City the nod as I have never seen a Truck Business route before.


I did take a brief drive to clinch NC 136, former NC 3, in Popular Branch. Not an end sign present, but the highway does end at a boat launch along the Currituck Sound/Intracoastal Waterway.


Once on the Outer Banks, I headed to Jockeys Ridge State Park and hiked the numerous sand dunes. Jockeys Ridge has the highest sand dunes on the east coast ranging from 80 to 100 feet. I was amazed to see so much sand and hiked at least two and a half to three miles. In some instances where I was surrounded by sand dunes, it made me feel like I was in the desert. Kite flying and hang gliding are very popular at the park. Plus, you are allowed to 'sled ride' down some of the dunes.





After my time at the park, I headed around the Outer Banks a little bit before heading home on US 64.

A few things, the US 64 "bypass" (actual realignment) of Newfoundland in Tyrell County is actually graded for four lanes. Four laning the remainder of US 64 to the coast (Columbia to Manns Harbor) may be accomplished in the next 10 years.

The highest exit number in North Carolina is now Exit 562 which is along the new US 64 freeway between Columbia and Plymouth.

Comments

Roaddog said…
I went to Jockey's Ridge S.P. several times when I lived on the Outer Banx. The right person took efforts to preserve them that led to the formation of the state park. The sands shift naturally over time, but with development along most of Bodie Island, the dunes are pretty much confined to where they are now.

Popular posts from this blog

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it. 


The Ridge Route is a 44 mile section of highway which was completed in 1915.  The Ridge Route originally stretched from Castaic Junction north over Liebre Summit and Tejon Pass to the tiny community of Grapevine.  In spite of a roadway that once utilized nearly 700 curves the Ridge Route is generally considered far ahead of it's time and one of the first modern highways constructed for automotive use.  The…

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located.


Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake.

The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or fallen into…

I-73/I-74 (and Other Future Interstates) in NC Year in Review 2018

Welcome to my latest annual review of the progress of building I-73, I-74 and other Future Interstate routes in North Carolina. 2018 saw the completion, for the time being, of the remaining I-73 construction projects, the expansion of I-74 construction, and the establishment of one new interstate route, I-285 between Lexington and Winston-Salem.
I-73 Work was completed on the US 220 widening project between Summerfield and NC 68 in December 2017, however the route was not officially signed until March 2018. Completion of this segment extended I-73 northward about 4 miles just beyond NC 68. This will be the northern limits of the route for the time being. End I-73 sign approaching US 220 freeway end north of NC 68
At the southern end of state work too was completed, for now, on I-73 (and I-74) in the Rockingham area. The first section of the Rockingham Bypass, the upgrade of 3 miles of US 220 to Interstate Standards was completed in June 2018. The project includes a new exit at Dockery R…