Interstate 440 (North Carolina)

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Interstate 440 marker

Interstate 440
Cliff Benson Beltline
Route information
Maintained by NCDOT
Length: 16.40 mi[1][2] (26.39 km)
Existed: 1991 – present
Major junctions
Beltway around Raleigh
West end: I‑40 / US 1 / US 64 near Cary
  US 70 / NC 50 near Raleigh
US 1 / US 401 near Raleigh
I‑495 / US 64 / US 264 near Raleigh
East end: I‑40 / US 64 near Raleigh
Counties: Wake
Highway system
US 421 US 441

Interstate 440 (abbreviated I-440) in North Carolina, also known as the Raleigh Beltline and the Cliff Benson Beltline, is a 16.4-mile (26.4-km) partial beltway that nearly encircles central Raleigh.[1] Prior to August 2002, it was a complete loop and shared a concurrency with its parent, Interstate 40 along the loop's southern segment (Tom Bradshaw Freeway). I-440 was labeled with "Inner" and "Outer" lanes, making it one of the few Interstate Highways in the United States not primarily labeled with compass directions (e.g. east/west). It has now been truncated to avoid confusion, especially with the I-540 "Outer Loop" and has been relabeled with an east–west orientation.

Route description[edit]

I-440 is labeled as an east–west highway which forms a partial loop around the north of downtown Raleigh. Both the eastern and western terminus are at I-40. Exit numbers follow the standard Interstate pattern, increasing from west to east. At the western terminus, the mainline of the road continues on as the US 1/US 64 expressway through Cary. Other major junctions include the Raleigh-Chapel Hill Expressway at exit 4, US 70 at exit 7, US 1/US 401 at exit 11, and US 64/US 264 at exit 14. I-440 shares its route with U.S. 1 between exit 1 and exit 11, and with U.S. 64 between exit 14 and exit 16.[3]

Prior to 2002, the route also followed I-40 south of downtown Raleigh and was labeled "inner" and "outer" rather than using the standard cardinal directions. With the opening of a second loop around Raleigh, I-440 was truncated to its current length, and its designation changed to the standard east/west labeling to avoid confusion with the new road.

I-440 at Wade Avenue looking Southwest. Reduces from six to four lanes at this point

Nearby points of interest[edit]

Volume and capacity[edit]

Between US1-64 (Exit 1A) and Wade Ave. (Exit 4) west of Downtown Raleigh, I-440 has four travel lanes. As of 2005, average annual daily traffic volume varies between 78,000 vpd and 90,000 vpd on this section.

Between Wade Ave. (Exit 4) and Capital Blvd. (Exit 11) north of Downtown Raleigh, I-440 has between six and eight travel lanes. As of 2005, average annual traffic volume varies between 112,000 vpd and 138,000 vpd on this section.

Between Capital Blvd (Exit 11) and I-40 (Exit 16) east of Downtown Raleigh, I-440 has between six and eight travel lanes. As of 2005, average annual traffic volume varies between 88,000 vpd and 108,000 vpd on this section.


Former Inner/Outer I-440, along I-40
East end of I-440, along westbound US 64 before merging with I-40

Parts of what is now called the Beltline have been around since the early 1960s, but the name was not in use until the 1980s.[citation needed] The four-lane northern section of the Raleigh Beltline was built first, a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) section opening between Wade Avenue and Walnut Street in 1960. The road was named the Cliff Benson Beltline to honor a developer and highway commissioner who played a major role in getting the road built.[4][5][6] It was not built to interstate highway standards.[7] The six-lane southern section, part of Interstate 40, came later and was designated the Tom Bradshaw Freeway, for the Raleigh mayor and state transportation secretary who helped get that road built.[4] Before the addition of the southern leg, downtown had major traffic problems[citation needed].

Different parts of the Beltline had different numbers. Originally, it served as the Raleigh bypass for US 1 and US 64. It was signed as US 1/64 from where those two highways merge in Apex, to Capital Blvd. (then known as North Blvd.), from where US 1 continued north. The portion between North Blvd. and New Bern Ave. was signed as US 64.[8] Later, the northern section included sections designated U.S. 1, U.S. 64, U.S. 70 and N.C. 50. Due to the different ways each of the four highways joine the beltline and moved on, in some points the highway had at least three of the cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) all in the same place, only adding to the confusion.

Different parts of the Beltline had different numbers, and people got lost easily. The northern section included sections designated US 1, US 64, US 70 and NC 50.

In 1991, state highway administrator William G. Marley Jr. asked the Federal Highway Administration to call the Raleigh Beltline Interstate 440.[4]

That same year, much of the four-lane older section was about to be widened in a seven-year-long $53 million project which also included upgrading the road to interstate standards. US 70 and NC 50 were rerouted through Raleigh, which caused concerns about too much traffic on city streets.[5][9][10]

In Summer 1991, work began on widening 3.6 miles of the Beltline from Glen Eden Road to Wake Forest Road to eight lanes, including the rebuilding of the 30-year-old Glenwood Avenue bridge.[5][11]

Early in 1993, work began on widening 4.4 miles from near Wake Forest Road to beyond New Bern Avenue to six lanes.[10]

On July 8, 1994, the state awarded the contract for widening 1.7 miles to six lanes, from Wade Avenue to Glen Eden Road. At that time, completion of the project's second phase was expected by June 1995, and phase three by 1996. Two more miles between New Bern Avenue and Poole Road would be widened starting in 1996. Plans called for widening 3.2 miles from Wade Avenue to I-40 several years later[5] but even after several delays,[12][13] the 2006-2012 N.C. Transportation Improvement Program did not include funding for the $77.3 million upgrade.[14]

Truncation and removal of Inner/Outer labels[edit]

When signs for I-440 went up in 1996, instead of east and west, "inner" was used to designate clockwise and "outer" was used to designate counterclockwise.[15] In 2002, the North Carolina Department of Transportation decided to replace the inner/outer labeling with an east–west orientation and remove I-440 along its concurrency with I-40. This decision was primarily made to prevent confusion with the I-540 Outer Loop around Wake County. Lack of funding to make the change delayed the project until 2008.[16] The FHWA route log has been updated to show the shortened distance.[1] By 2009 many, but not all, signs reflecting the old routing and designation had been removed or updated. Signs were being changed as they were replaced; new signs placed on US 1 did not show I-440 on the southern segment and show I-440 with east/west compass directions.

Former Raleigh Interstate 40 Business[edit]

Interstate 40 Business
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Length: 16.40 mi[2] (26.39 km)
Existed: N/A–1991

Interstate 40 Business (I-40 Bus) was an unsigned designation of the northern part of the Raleigh beltline, while the southern part remained Interstate 40. In 1991, AASHTO eliminated I-40 Bus in favor of I-440 designation for the entire Raleigh beltline.[16][17][18][19]


A 3.5-mile (5.6 km) stretch of Interstate 440, from Walnut Street to Wade Avenue, is to be redesigned and widened to six-lanes. Completed in 1960, it is the oldest section of the Raleigh beltline; it features the original four-lanes with narrow (or no) shoulders, substandard interchanges, and a merging left lane on-ramp. Currently in development, NCDOT has estimated the cost at $92 million, with right-of-way acquisition to start in 2016 and construction in 2018.[6][20][21][22]

As part of project Fortify the NCDOT are doing construction on the section of I-440 from US 64/US 264 to Interstate 40. The are working on new ramps for the I-40 interchange and replacing the old asphalt which has been crumbling due to a chemical reaction.[23]

Exit list[edit]

Exits are numbered by mile marker, beginning at Exit 1 in the southwest and continuing east.[24] With the truncation of I-440 and assignment of east/west direction, exits are now numbered west to east.

The entire route is in Raleigh, Wake County.

mi[2] km Exit Destinations Notes
0.0 0.0 US 1 south / US 64 west – Sanford, Asheboro Continuation as US 1/US 64
0.0 0.0 1 I‑40 / US 64 east – Benson, Rocky Mount, Durham Signed as exits 1A (east) and 1B (west); access to the RDU International Airport
1C Jones Franklin Road
0.8 1.3 1D Melbourne Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
2.3 3.7 2A Western Boulevard – Downtown Raleigh Westbound left entrance, access to the NC State University
2.4 3.9 2B Western Boulevard – Cary
3.3 5.3 3 NC 54 (Hillsborough Street) – Meredith College
3.8 6.1 4 To I‑40 west / Wade Avenue – Cameron Village, Durham Signed westbound as exits 4A (east) and 4B (west); access to the RDU International Airport
4.7 7.6 5 Lake Boone Trail
6.3 10.1 6 Ridge Road Eastbound exit and entrance; westbound exit is part of exit 7A
6.6 10.6 7 US 70 / NC 50 (Glenwood Avenue) / Ridge Road – Crabtree Valley, Durham Signed westbound as exits 7A (east) and 7B (west)
8.3 13.4 8 Six Forks Road – North Hills Signed as exits 8A (south) and 8B (north)
9.5 15.3 10 Wake Forest Road
10.8 17.4 11 US 1 north / US 401 (Capital Boulevard) – Wake Forest, Louisburg, Downtown Raleigh East end of US 1 overlap; signed westbound as exits 11A (south) and 11B (north)
11.5 18.5 12 Yonkers Road Eastbound exit and entrance
11.5 18.5 12 Brentwood Road Westbound exit and entrance
12.5 20.1 13A New Bern Avenue – Downtown Raleigh
12.6 20.3 13B
US 64 Bus. east – Knightdale
13.8 22.2 14 I‑495 north / US 64 east / US 264 east – Wilson, Rocky Mount West end of US 64 overlap
14.7 23.7 15 Poole Road
16.2 26.1 16 I‑40 east – Wilmington, Benson Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
16.4 26.4 I‑40 west / US 64 west – Durham Continuation as I-40/US 64
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b c "FHWA Route Log and Finder List - Auxiliary Routes". October 31, 2002. Retrieved 2006-12-24. 
  2. ^ a b c Google (December 28, 2012). "Interstate 440 (North Carolina)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ " I-440,540 and 640". Retrieved February 19, 2013. [unreliable source?]
  4. ^ a b c Hoar, Stephen (1991-08-19). "Beltline signs aim to aid confused". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. A1. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hoar, Stephen (1994-07-09). "Beltline widening accelerates". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B4. 
  6. ^ a b Siceloff, Bruce (December 3, 2012). "DOT will widen Beltline's last four-lane leg". The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  7. ^ Hoar, Stephen (1992-06-27). "Man fumes Beltline too close for comfort". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B2. 
  8. ^ Rand McNally Road Atlas, United States/Canada/Mexico, 1967
  9. ^ Rawlins, Wade (1992-09-04). "Diverting Beltline traffic puts load on downtown". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B2. 
  10. ^ a b Hoar, Stephen (1993-01-26). "Next Beltline phase to start Work to tackle Wake Forest to New Bern". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B4. 
  11. ^ Hoar, Stephen (1991-08-19). "Beltline drivers to face lane shift at bridge site". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B4. 
  12. ^ Eisley, Matthew (1998-11-13). "State delays major Raleigh transit projects". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B3. 
  13. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (2004-11-30). "4-lane stretch won't be widened soon". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B1. 
  14. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (2005-03-27). "Road plan imperils Triangle projects". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. A1. 
  15. ^ Hyman, Vicki (2000-08-08). "A tip for the confused: Pretend I- 440 is a clock". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. B1. 
  16. ^ a b Siceloff, Bruce (2008-08-24). "Redesigned Beltline signs to drop 'Inner' and 'Outer'". News & Observer (Raleigh, NC). p. A1. 
  17. ^ "Interstate Guide - Business 40 Routes". Retrieved February 19, 2013. [unreliable source?]
  18. ^ "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering to the Executive Committee" (PDF). AASHTO. June 10, 1991. p. 3. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Interstate 440 Route Change (07-16-1991)" (PDF). NCDOT. July 16, 1991. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  20. ^ Staff. "Project #U-2719". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  21. ^ Staff. "NCDOT: I-440 Improvements". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  22. ^ I-440 Improvements (PDF) (Map). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Fortify I-40/440 Rebuild Project". North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "Gribble Nation - I-440 (NC) Exits". Retrieved February 19, 2013. [unreliable source?]

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google