Skip to main content

Old NC 10 in Orange and Alamance Counties and an old Hillsborough bridge

Took a brief trip after work today. I just wanted to check out a former alignment of NC 10 (Central Highway), and I found a few surprises on the way.

Sometimes you have a hunch that you may find an old sign at a specific place or down a specific road. Well, I had a hunch that there may be an I-85 North Carolina shield on the roads around Exit 164 in Hillsborough. So I stopped for gas, and I played the hunch right.


Then came one of the oddest signs I have ever seen. If you exit I-85 at Exit 161 (US 70/Truck NC 86), the road there is called the I-85 Connector. (Note: Years ago this is where the US 70 expressway - the predecessor to I-85 - returned to the two lane highway west of Hillsborough).

"Tolerance Ends". Now some of you will make wisecracks about North Carolina here...but all joking aside. What the heck does Tolerance Ends mean?

The I-85 Connector ends at Dewey Rd. and West Ten Road. Turn right onto West Ten and you are on the Old Central Highway. This section has a different feel than the part that runs from Hillsborough to Durham.

West Ten Road continues on until a fork in the road. According to Dave Filpus' Old NC 10 page, at this point the oldest route of NC 10 continues on Bowman Road. West Ten Road continues straight towards Mebane.

I took the left onto Bowman Road. Just before entering Alamance County, Bowman Road has a quiet crossroads with Ben Wilson Road.

At the Alamance County Line, Bowman Road becomes Old Hillsborough Road. I would follow Old Hillsborough Road until I-40/85 (Exit 152) where I turned around and headed back.

The widening of I-40 and 85 nearly a decade ago severed Old Ten as it would head back to Hillsborough. So I took the I-85 connector to Ben Johnson Road which connects to old Ten and winds into Hillsborough. Near the center of town, Old Ten crosses under the Norfolk Southern.

This is a bit different than the three railroad overpasses on the Eastern Orange County section. What's different about this one is that one of the piers supporting the bridge is in the middle of the street.

Off of NC 86 and just south of Downtown Hillsborough is a very simple but very elegant 85 year old bridge over the Eno River. I'm fairly certain this was part of Old NC 10.



If you look closely at the photo above, there are holes straight through the pavement where you can see the ground below. I wonder if this bridge originally had a truss span on top. Otherwise it is an early concrete slab bridge.

It was a great late afternoon trip and a good way to wind down after a busy week of work. I need to go back and take some more photos and do some research in and around Hillsborough and get some more photos of the Eno River Bridge.

Futher reading:
Old NC 10 - The Central Highway
Old NC 10 ---Dave Filpus
NC 10 ---Mike Roberson

Comments

Matthew Frye said…
Tolerance, in this case, refers to the extra 5 or 10% that a state trooper may allow a truck (an 18 wheeler)to be over maximum weight limitations. Tolerance is generally permitted on major highways, and in the picture with the "Tolerance Ends" sign, you can see that 86, 40, and 85 turn/exit. The sign indicates that tolerance ends at this point in the road because the highway doesn't continue straight on.
Adam said…
That makes total sense...Thanks!

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…

History of the Wawona Road (Yosemite National Park)

Recently I located a portion of the Old Wawona Road that was the original alignment used by wagons and early cars to get to Yosemite Valley from the south before the Wawona Tunnel was built.  Locating the Old Wawona Road was the primary driving force to head to a very dry Yosemite National Park this winter.






Generally I don't talk about the history of a route first, but in the case of the Wawona Road I thought it was particularly important to do so first.  The modern Wawona Road is approximately 28 miles in length from the north terminus of California State Route 41 at the boundary of Yosemite National Park to South Side Drive near Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite Valley.  A good chunk of people entering Yosemite Valley use the Wawona Road which generally is considered to be the easiest route...that certainly was not always the case.

The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel.  The first structure in the Wawona Hotel complex dates back to 1876 which was built by the Wa…

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…