North Carolina Highway 55

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NC 55 marker

NC 55
Route information
Maintained by NCDOT
Length: 193 mi (311 km)
Existed: 1957[1] – present
Major junctions
West end:
US 501 Bus. in Durham
  I‑85 / US 15 / US 70 in Durham
I‑40 in Durham
NC 147 in Durham
NC 540 in Morrisville
I‑95 in Dunn
I‑40 near Newton Grove
US 70 in New Bern
East end: Oriental Road in Oriental
Counties: Durham, Wake, Harnett, Sampson, Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir, Craven, Pamilico
Highway system
NC 54 NC 56

NC 55 is a 192-mile (309 km) North Carolina state highway that serves as a traffic artery connecting Durham with Cary and numerous small cities and towns in The Triangle on its way toward the Pamlico Sound. A portion of NC 55 extends through Research Triangle Park. NC 55 is a major artery in the central part of The Triangle region, and is a four lane, divided highway between Durham and Cary and Apex. NC 55 is also a divided highway between Apex and Fuquay-Varina.

Route description[edit]

Although NC 55 is signed east–west, the most used section of road actually runs in a north–south alignment. Between Durham and Erwin "east" is really southbound and "west" is really northbound.

Starting at the northern terminus from US 501 Business (North Roxboro Street) near the concurrent I-85, US 15 and US 70, the highway passes through North Carolina Central University and then cuts a path through a fairly urbanized section of Durham. As it exits Durham, NC 55 widens to a four lane divided highway as it passes through the western side of Research Triangle Park. The next leg of the journey enters Cary and Apex. Extensive reconstruction of the roadway in this area, widened in anticipation of higher traffic volumes from NC-540 and construction in Apex and Cary, was completed in 2007. NC 55 is a major highway in western Wake County and is a direct link connecting the Triangle cities of Durham and Cary via the Research Triangle Park.

After the junction with US 64 and a few shopping-centers, NC 55 narrows as it passes through Apex (Williams St). After the junction with U.S. 1, NC 55 widens again and splits into business and bypass routes in Holly Springs. Finally, it proceeds to an open landscape with scattered sections of dense forest for the stretch towards Fuquay-Varina. The highway continues southeastward across US 401, eventually exiting Wake County into Harnett County.

In the Erwin/Dunn area the road heads east and merges with NC 50 in Newton Grove. NC 55 leaves to take a more easterly course towards the coast, ending at the Pamlico Sound in Oriental.[1]


NC 55 was first routed from NC 50 and US 1 (current US 1A) in Franklinton, North Carolina to Durham. In 1930 maps showed that NC 91 had replaced NC 55 route from Franklinton to Durham and instead NC 55 took the place of NC 13 north of Durham to the Virginia state line. In 1932 NC 55 was extended south through Apex and Holly Springs. The road then turned east to go to US 401 and NC 21 in Cardenas. NC 55 then replaced NC 210 through Angier and Erwin. It then ended at US 301 and NC 22 in Godwin. In 1934 NC 55 was removed from its routing north of Durham and US 501 got the route. At the same time that year NC 55 was routed east along US 421 from Erwin to Dunn then as a new primary route to Newton Grove (near present day I-40). Then it would replace US 117 through Mount Olive and Kinston and then ended at US 70 in Jasper. The route from Erwin to Godwin became NC 82. In 1938 NC 55 was rerouted further east through Tuscarora and ended at US 70 in Clark. In 1940 NC 55 was rerouted from Mount Olive to Seven Springs which is its current routing. Also that year NC 55 was routed from Jasper to New Bern then crossed the Neuse River along with US 17. The same year was extended along NC 302 from Bridgetown to Oriental. NC 302 was dissolved. In 1941 US 70 and NC 55 "swapped" routes from Kinston to Clarks. In 1948 NC 55 was rerouted along new primary routing to avoid an overlap with US 64. The old route became NC 751. Between the years of 1958 and 1962, NC 55 was rerouted along the north side of Mount Olive. In 2012, Mount Olive-based restaurant chain Andy's Cheesesteaks and Cheeseburgers renamed itself Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries in honor of the highway.[2] [3] [4]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile km Destinations Notes
Durham Durham 0.0 0.0
US 501 Bus. (Roxboro Street)
Western terminus
0.2 0.3 I‑85 / US 15 / US 70 – Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Oxford, Raleigh Diamond interchange; exit 177 on I-85
1.7 2.7
US 70 Bus. / NC 98 (Holloway Street) – Wake Forest, Youngsville
2.5 4.0 NC 147 (East-West Expressway) – Morrisville Diamond interchange
7.8 12.6 I‑40 (John Motley Morehead III Freeway) – Greensboro, Wilmington Partial cloverleaf interchange; exit 278 on I-40
8.2 13.2 NC 54 (Nelson Chapel Hill Highway) – Chapel Hill, Raleigh
Wake Morrisville 12.8 20.6
NC 540 Toll to I‑540 – Raleigh
Apex 19.4 31.2 US 64 – Pittsboro, Cary Partial cloverleaf interchange
22.5 36.2 US 1 (Claude E. Pope Memorial Highway) – Moncure, Wake Forest Diamond interchange
24.0 38.6
NC 55 Byp. east – Fuquay-Varina
Holly Springs 28.4 45.7
NC 55 Byp. west – Apex
Fuquay-Varina 32.5 52.3 US 401 south / NC 42 west (Main Street) – Lillington, Sanford West end of concurrency with US 401 and NC 42
34.5 55.5 US 401 north (Main Street) – Garner, Raleigh East end of concurrency with US 401
34.6 55.7 NC 42 east – Clayton, Wilson East end of concurrency with NC 42
Harnett Angier 40.9 65.8 NC 210 (Depot Street) – Lillington, Smithfield
Coats 48.9 78.7 NC 27 (Stewart Street) – Lillington, Benson
Erwin 54.4 87.5 US 421 north (Jackson Boulevard) / NC 82 east (13th Street) – Sanford, Godwin West end of concurrency with US 421; western terminus of NC 82
Dunn 58.8 94.6 US 301 (Clinton Avenue) – Eastover, Benson
59.5 95.8 I‑95 – Fayetteville, Rocky Mount Diamond interchange; exit 73 on I-95
59.7 96.1 US 421 south (Cumberland Street) – Clinton East end of concurrency with US 421
Sampson   66.5 107.0 NC 242 (Benson Highway) – Salemburg, Benson
No major junctions
Sampson Newton Grove 69.0 111.0 NC 96 north – Selma Southern terminus of NC 96
73.1 117.6 NC 50 north (Johnston Highway) – Benson West end of concurrency with NC 50
73.3 118.0 I‑40 – Raleigh, Wilmington Diamond interchange; exit 341 on I-40
74.6 120.1 US 13 (Fayetteville Highway) / US 701 (Clinton and Main streets) – Eastover, Goldsboro, Clinton, Four Oaks Six-way intersection with a traffic roundabout
  81.4 131.0 NC 50 south (Julius Sutton Highway) – Faison East end of concurrency with NC 50
Wayne Mount Olive 92.0 148.1 US 117 – Calypso, Goldsboro Diamond interchange
92.3 148.5
US 117 Alt. (Breazeale Avenue)
Williams 97.9 157.6 NC 403 west (Williams X Road) – Faison Eastern terminus of NC 403
Hines Crossroads 103.0 165.8 NC 111 – Beulaville, Goldsboro
Lenoir   107.7 173.3 NC 903 – Kenansville, La Grange
Parrott Fork 118.5 190.7 NC 11 south – Pink Hill West end of concurrency with NC 11
Kinston 122.0 196.3 US 70 / US 258 (New Bern Road) – La Grange, Snow Hill, New Bern, Richlands
123.3 198.4 US 70 / US 258 / NC 58 (Queen Street) – Cape Carteret, Snow Hill
  127.1 204.5 NC 11 north – Grifton East end of concurrency with NC 11
Craven New Bern 158.6 255.2 NC 43 (Washington Post Road) – Vanceboro, Greenville
162.0 260.7
US 70 Bus. west (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard)
West end of concurrency with Business US 70
162.5 261.5
US 70 Bus. east (Broad Street)
East end of concurrency with Business US 70
163.3 262.8 US 17 south / US 70 west – Dover, Pollocksville West end of concurrency with US 17/US 70; partial diamond interchange
James City 164.2 264.3
US 70 east / US 70 Bus. west – Havelock
East end of concurrency with US 70; eastern terminus of Business US 70; partial cloverleaf interchange
Bridgeton 167.2 269.1 US 17 north (D Street) – Vanceboro East end of concurrency with US 17
Pamlico Grantsboro 178.0 286.5 NC 306 (Point Road) – Arapahoe, Aurora
Bayboro 182.2 293.2 NC 304 east (Vandemere Road) – Vandemere Western terminus of NC 304
Oriental 193.0 310.6 Oriental Road Eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Bannered routes[edit]

Holly Springs bypass[edit]

NC 55 Bypass
Location: Holly Springs, North Carolina
Length: 4.4 mi[5] (7.1 km)
Existed: 2002–present

North Carolina Highway 55 Bypass (NC 55 By-pass) was established in 2002 as a new primary route that bypass west of Holly Springs. Typically, the old alignment would become a business loop, but instead the NC 55 mainline remained unchanged. The bypass is built as an expressway, that is semi-controlled and superstreet intersections; it also has a full interchange with NC 540.[6][7]

Bridgeton alternate spur[edit]

NC 55A
Location: Bridgeton, North Carolina
Length: 0.15 mi (0.24 km)
Existed: 1953–1962

North Carolina Highway 55 Alternate (NC 55A) was established around 1950-1953 as a renumbering of a piece of mainline NC 55 in Bridgeton. It was created thanks to a new bridge carrying US 17/NC 55 over the Neuse River and a spur was needed to be made to connect each highway. Between 1958-1962, this short road was downgraded to a secondary road; today it no longer exists.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]