Skip to main content

36 and 89 - NCDOT submits their applications for two new Interstates

Well when I made predictions for the designations of the two new North Carolina Interstate corridors a few months ago, I was way off.  NCDOT has formally requested Interstate 36 to be signed along the Super 70 Corridor and Interstate 89 for the Raleigh to Norfolk corridor.  The designations are pending AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) and FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) approval.  AASHTO meets in Des Moines, IA later this month.  The FHWA - to the best of our knowledge - has both requests under review.  Both numbers would be exceptions to the standard Interstate numbering grid set in the 1950s.

Interstate 36 will run North of Interstate 40.  Typically, a number higher that 40 would be assigned to this route (more on NCDOT's rationale in a moment). On the other hand, Interstate 89 has a number of exceptions. 1) It is a duplicate of Interstate 89 in Vermont and New Hampshire.  This does occur with other numbers so there is precedent.  2) Interstate 89 will run east of I-95 going against the aforementioned numbering grid.  3) The route is actually more east-west than north-south.  That's really my only objection to it.  Espescially when in 2012, North Carolina petitioned the FHWA for preliminary approval for Interstate 44 along the same corridor.

Friend of the blog, Adam Froehlig, wrote to NCDOT asking for some information in regards to the two requests - here's what they wrote:

This is in reference to your correspondence concerning recent Interstate request submittals to AASHTO from NCDOT. A great deal of thought went into the selection of the proposed Interstate numbers. We reviewed various 2 digit numbers; however, all had either conflicts with NC routes, VA routes or were utilized in other states.


The east west numbers that fell in the range between 40 and 64 had what we perceived as greater conflicts. The following routes were considered, but rejected due to the below reasons:
· 42 – has a State route that is a widely used in central and eastern NC
· 44 – received comments from people concerning 44 and confusing it with I- 440
· 46 – exists in both states, located in central NC
· 48 – has a State route that is widely used in central and eastern NC
· 50 – has a State route that is widely used in central and eastern NC
· 52 – NC and VA have a US route 52, but we prefer not to create other conflicts like 74
· 54 – has a State route used in central and eastern NC
· 58 – has a State route that is widely used in central and eastern NC
· 60 – avoiding utilizing 60 as well as 50based on review by FHWA
· 62 – exists in both states, located in central NC, less likely to be confused; however; VA would like to avoid the potential confusion with 64.

We also reviewed the various north south numbers between 89 and 95.
· 87 – has a State route that is widely used in central and eastern NC
· 89 – NC and VA have a state route, but they are located in the western parts of the state
· 91 – NC has a short section in the eastern portion of the state and VA has a route in the west
· 93 – NC and VA have a state route, but they are located in the western parts of the state

Interstate 89 was chosen due to the smaller amount of conflicts with other Interstates (85,95), US routes and NC routes. The even number routes did not appear to be fixable without creating conflicts with the current state routes.

We have received email correspondence from Virginia Department of Transportation indicating their support of the use of 89.

The Department will likely replace the 495 section and not continue it as aconcurrent route. We see opportunities to reduce the length of I-440 and possibly diminish some confusion on the 440 loop. We have not currently made this decision, but are considering the various alternatives.

Once the Department receives approval, we will follow the process required to place the appropriate signs. We would like to place the signs as soon as we are able.
For the 70 corridor, the number 36 appears to be the only number in the range that did not have a conflict. There are several examples across the country where the numbers are slightly out of order.

We are confident your community can appreciate the difficulty in attempting to find numbers that do not have state or multi-state conflicts. As we continue to add additional interstate routes, the supply of numbers will continue to diminish and simply end. Even the three digit numbers are becoming problematic in some instances. There are technically 50 numbers for north south and 50 numbers for east west highways, what are the realm of solutions for when you need 51 or more interstate highways? Will we duplicate more numbers? What about considering the geographic separation.? If there happens to be an Interstate 5 on the east coast, would anyone realistically become confused with the Interstate 5 on the west coast? As indicated previously, the Department took several scenarios into consideration and chose the number with the least amount of conflict.
Thank you for interest in the North Carolina highway system.

This great response from NCDOT explains why they chose 89 and their reasonings against the other numbers.  I think the state can redesignate routes they did as recently as 1979 when NC 277 in Gaston County became NC 279 when I-277 in Charlotte was approved. Also route number changes have occurred in the last two decades in the eastern part of the state.

AASHTO and the FHWA can reject the proposed numbers so we shall see in the next few weeks if 89 or 36 will stick.

But Adam's e-mail has some other information as for the signing of the two routes once a formal designation is approved.  NCDOT will request for permission to sign along both corridors (where they meet standards) as soon as a number is agreed upon.  So the US 70 Clayton Bypass should see Interstate shields by most likely 2017.  The same could occur for the US 70 Goldsboro Bypass.

If Interstate 89 is approved (or when another number is agreed upon), there may be a number of changes to existing Interstates in NC.  First, I-89 would be eligible to be signed along the entire Knightdale Bypass (US 64/264/I-495) - this would be out to Exit 429 (or 430) for Wendell Blvd./Business US 64 (or Rolesville Road).  This stretch of highway meets interstate standards as the current Interstate 495 designation indicates.  NCDOT will most likely (or from the e-mail definitely will) ditch the I-495 corridor from Raleigh to Rocky Mount in favor of the new number. Also, the 89 route will begin at I-40 at Exit 301 on the Raleigh Beltline creating an overlap with Interstate 440.  NCDOT is considering shortening I-440 to end at the current western terminus of the Knightdale Bypass (Exit 14). 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Small Towns of Virginia Series - Charlotte Court House

This sleepy little rural town in Central Virginia can easily be overlooked.  Located miles from the Interstate or four lane US and Virginia Highways, Charlotte Court House in many ways is easily forgotten.  However, this tiny town of slightly over 400 residents holds a lot of Virginia and American History.

In 1799, Charlotte Court House saw the passing of the torch from an aging Patrick Henry and a young John Randolph.  The great debate over states' rights was the last for the fiery Henry and the first in public for Randolph.  Randolph would go on to serve in the US House of Representatives and U.S. Minister to Russia.  Henry, who was serving in the Virginia General Assembly representing Charlotte County at the time of the debate, died three months later.

Charlotte Court House is not the original name of the town.  Originally named The Magazine, then Daltonsburgh, followed by Marysville (which was the town's name at the time of the Henry-Randolph debate), Smithfield, and finally…

Old California State Route 41 on Road 425B

While researching the history of the Lanes Bridge crossing of the San Joaquin River I noticed an oddity on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Madera County.  Today California State Route 41 takes a crossing of the Fresno River west of the confluence with China Creek.  Back on the 1935 Map of Madera County the crossing is very clearly east of the confluence crossing on what are now Road 425B and Road 426 in Oakhurst.   CA 41 can be seen traversing southbound from Oakhurst on Road 425B towards Coarsegold on the 1935 Madera County Map.

1935 Madera County Highway Map

After viewing Road 425B on the Google Street Vehicle it was clear that the path downhill from the top of Deadwood Gulch was substantially more haggard than the modern alignment of CA 41.  I finally had occasion to visit Oakhurst today so I pulled off of modern CA 41 at Road 425B.   Immediately I was greeted by this warning sign.






Road 425B ahead was clearly a narrow road but barely wide enough for two vehicles.  T…

2018 Mojave Road Trip Part 2; The deadly desert highway (California State Route 127 and Nevada State Route 373)

After leaving Barstow via Old Highway 58 my next destination was in Death Valley.  To access Death Valley from rural San Bernardino County required a trek on north on Interstate 15 to California State Route 127 which becomes Nevada State Route 373 at the state line.


Along I-15 I encountered the road sign oddity that is Zzyzx Road about eight miles south of Baker.   Zzyzx Road is a four mile road that used to go to the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa.   The spa was founded in the 1940s and the owner made up the name "Zzyzx" to claim it was the last word in the English Language.  The spa has been shut down since the 1970s and is now part of a Desert Studies Center for California State University.






The southern terminus of CA 127 in Baker is located at I-15 exit 246.  CA 127 is a 91 mile north/south highway which runs to the Nevada State Line in Inyo County.  CA 127 is called Death Valley Road from I-15 northward.  South of CA 127 the road continues as Kelbaker Road which c…