Skip to main content

The Four US 70's of Selma & Smithfield

One of the more unique set-ups for US 70 within North Carolina, and the entire country, is the four different versions of US 70 that serve the Johnston County towns of Selma and Smithfield.  Although at times very confusing to even the local driver, US 70, US 70A, US 70 Business, and US 70 By-Pass each have a specific link to the evolution of US 70 through this area.

Timeline:

 

Original Routing: When US 70 was established in 1926, the highway designation followed the original route of the Central Highway through the area.  It would pass to the south of Pine Level and into Smithfield.  (Map source: 1927 Clason's. Courtesy: Mike Roberson)



1928 - Mid 1950s:  For nearly three decades, US 70 traversed west from Princeton, then along today's US 70A through Pine Level, to Selma, before heading south on US 301 towards Smithfield.  In Smithfield, US 70 then left US 301 to head towards Clayton and Raleigh along what is now US 70 Business.  (Map source: 1939 NC Official).
Mid 1950s - 1972:  A new alignment for US 70 opened to the south from Princeton to Smithfield.  The original US 70 through Pine Level to Selma was renamed US 70A, which it is still called today.  It is not known it US 70A West would be signed along US 301 South to US 70 in Smithfield.  The dashed line in the 1958 General Drafting Map is for a then under construction Interstate 95.  Both US 70 and US 70A would have interchanges with the new highway.


1973-1991:  US 70A would be extended westwards over secondary roads to meet US 70 just beyond Wilson's Mills.  As traffic increased on both routes within Smithfield and near the I-95 interchanges, the state would begin to widen US 70A from Wilson's Mills to I-95 and US 70 from Smithfield towards Princeton.  At the same time, a new four lane highway was being built from US 70A's interchange with I-95 to US 70 a few miles east of I-95.  (Map Source: 1973-74 NC Official).


1991-1998: With the completion of a new four lane highway from US 70A at I-95 to US 70 four miles east of I-95, US 70 was realigned and split into three different routes.  US 70 now was moved onto what was the 1973 extension of US 70A from Wilson's Mills to I-95.  It then followed the new alignment to a widened US 70 seven miles west of Princeton.  The US 70 that traveled from Wilson's Mills through Smithfield was redesignated US 70 Business.  US 70A was truncated from Wilson's Mills to US 70 just east of its interchange with I-95.  US 70 was widened in Wilson's Mills in 1993.  (Map source: 1992-93 NC Official)


1998 - Today: Heavy traffic was still an issue with US 70 specifically at US 301 and its interchange with I-95 (Exit 97).  As a result, the state built a freeway bypass of the congested area in 1998.  The freeway begins one mile west of US 301 and rejoins US 70 one mile east of I-95.  This new freeway was deemed US 70.  After the new highway's opening, US 70 through Selma was renamed US 70 Business; but because of confusion with US 70 Business through Smithfield two miles to the south, it was quickly renamed back to US 70 with the new highway gaining the By-pass banner.  By-Pass US 70 does not have an interchange with Interstate 95.  Access to the interstate is possible from US 70 by either exits 336 or 334.  (Map Source: 2004 NC Official).

Coming Soon: With the approval of an Interstate from Clayton to Morehead City, Interstate 42 will be routed along what is currently US 70 By-Pass through the area.  It will also run along regular US 70 to the immediate east and west.  Interestingly, there are no current plans to connect Interstate 42 to its north-south counterpart - Interstate 95. Traffic will continue to use the current US 70 connection through Selma to connect between the two interstate.  So soon a new chapter in the area's colorful highway history is set to begin.






Photos:



US 70 By-Pass splits from US 70 East (Exit 334) just outside of Selma.  Although a freeway, US 70 By-Pass does not have any direct access to Interstate 95.  Access to the Interstate is available via US 70.  Interstate 42 will follow US 70 By-Pass.  (Photo Taken by Brian LeBlanc)


The split of US 70 West (Exit 336) and By-Pass US 70 just east of Interstate 95 near Selma.  Interstate 42 will follow US 70 By-Pass.  (Photo Taken by Brian LeBlanc)


A look at the US 70/US 301 intersection from US 301 North.  This heavily congested intersection was one of the reasons the US 70 By-Pass was built in the late 90s.  This also is the southern terminus of NC 39, for a brief time in the 1990s, NC 39 South would continue on US 70 East to end at I-95.  (Photo taken by Brian LeBlanc)





  • US 70 @ NCRoads.com Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • US 70A @ NCRoads.com Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • US 70 Business @ NCRoads.com Annex ---Mike Roberson
  • Brian LeBlanc
  • Mike Roberson
  • Comments

    Popular posts from this blog

    The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

    In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

    This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

    Background:
    What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

    A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

    Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

    History:
    Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…

    The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

    The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

    Brief History:
    Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …