North Carolina's plan to widen Interstate 95 to six lanes may result in closing interchanges, and of course tolls. The toll idea isn't really new - though a recent news story on WRAL-TV in Raleigh would lead you to believe that.
But one of the newest developments to the plan is that the widening may result in the removal of some interchanges specifically those in Harnett and Johnston Counties. According to the WRAL story, Exit 72 (Pope Road) is one of the interchanges that may be removed.
If you are familiar with Interstate 95 in North Carolina, you know that the 38 or so miles of I-95 in Harnett and Johnston Counties is home to maybe the most obsolete and crowded stretches of the Interstate. 19 exits and a rest area are along the stretch of four lane interstate. Resulting in an average of an interchange every 1.9 miles. Throw in low overpasses, narrow medians, bridges without shoulders, interchange ramps that double as a rural road/surface street, and you have headaches and hazards in every direction.
This stretch of Interstate 95 is also the oldest stretch of I-95 in North Carolina. All of this section of highway opened to traffic by 1961. The oldest stretch is in the Dunn/Benson area (miles 70-79) which opened as a US 301 bypass in the mid/late 1950s.
Widening the highway to six lanes is an obvious necessity, and the toll road idea has been kicked about for over a decade now. The idea to eliminate some existing interchanges seems to be common sense but this is the first time, to my knowledge, that it has been publicly mentioned. This tiny tidbit of information is a prelude to the release of an Interstate 95 Master Plan that NCDOT should release this coming November.