Interstate 87 (North Carolina)
|Maintained by NCDOT|
|Length:||10.4 mi (16.7 km)|
|Existed:||September 5, 2017 – present|
|South end:||I‑40 / I‑440 / US 64 in Raleigh|
|North end:||Rolesville Road, in Wendell|
Interstate 87 (I-87) is a partially completed Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Currently serving eastern Wake County, between Raleigh and Wendell, it is planned to continue northeast through Rocky Mount, Williamston and Elizabeth City, ending in Norfolk, Virginia. It is not contiguous with Interstate 87 in New York.
I-87 is a six-lane interstate highway that connects I-40, in Raleigh, to Rolesville Road, in Wendell; it is entirely concurrent with US 64. The speed limit for majority of the route is 70 miles per hour (110 km/h).
The southern terminus is at the interchange of I-40 and I-440 (Raleigh Beltline) in Southeast Raleigh, at I-40 exit 301/I-440 exit 16. I-87 north follows I-440 west for approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) before exiting the Beltline at exit 14 to follow the US 64/US 264 (former I-495) freeway, known locally as the Knightdale Bypass. Following the Bypass south of Knightdale, I-87 has interchanges with two local roads (New Hope Road and Hodge Road) before meeting the current eastern terminus of I-540. Two more local roads follow (Smithfield Road and Wendell Falls Parkway) before the I-87 designation ends at a complex interchange with US 64 Bus./Knightdale Boulevard/Wendell Boulevard and Rolesville Road.
Though decommissioned, a portion of this freeway (from I-440 to I-540) was formerly designated I-495. As of December 2017, I-495 has not been removed from existing signage, but I-87, on separate sign assemblies, has been added near existing signs.
Beyond Rolesville Road, the remainder of the US 64 freeway is designated as Future I-87, as it is currently not at Interstate standards; needing wider travel lanes, wider shoulders, and more resilient barriers in the grass median. Additionally, the rest of the route to the Virginia border beyond Williamston, North Carolina is not built as a freeway, it would involve upgrading or building new roads parallel to existing US highways, including US 13, US 17 and US 158. Some of these upgrades are part of the DOT 10-year plan released in 2017, with upgrading of highways around Elizabeth City given a start date of 2023.
The state of Virginia currently has no timetable to construct the northern portion of I-87 from the Virginia state line to Norfolk.
|Length:||4.09 mi (6.58 km)|
A portion of I-87, originally named I-495, was first designated as an Interstate Highway on February 20, 2013, when the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) submitted a request to AASHTO in order to establish Interstate 495 as a new auxiliary route of I-95. The proposed 44.99-mile (72.40 km) route would begin at I-440/US 64/US 64 Business in Raleigh and would end at I-95, in Rocky Mount, completely concurrent with US 64.
On March 15, 2013, AASHTO received a modified request from NCDOT requesting the establishment of I-495 from I-440 to I-540 (4.09 mi or 6.58 km) and Future I-495 from I-540 to I-95 (40.90 mi or 65.82 km). It was approved, though needed an additional approval from FHWA. On December 12, 2013, the proposed section was approved by the FHWA and was added to the interstate highway system. 
The freeway section, the part that was originally to be signed I-495 and continuing east to US 64 Business, was completed in 2006. From I-440 to Rolesville Road, the freeway was built to interstate standards; which is why the first official section of I-495 was able to connect between I-440 and I-540. East of Rolesville Road, the freeway was built in sections, since 1975. This older section of freeway will eventually be upgraded to interstate standards; which include road rehabilitation and wider lanes and shoulders.
Long-term plans by the Raleigh-Durham area's Regional Transportation Alliance (RTA) called for extension of the interstate east of I-95 toward Elizabeth City, then northeastward to the Interstate 64/Interstate 464 interchange in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach (Hampton Roads) metropolitan area. The NCDOT proposed the Interstate 44 designation for the Raleigh–Norfolk High Priority Corridor consisting of portions of the I-495 and US 64 in North Carolina and US 17 in North Carolina and Virginia. The route would connect two of the largest US metro areas lacking an Interstate connection: the Research Triangle area around Raleigh and the Hampton Roads metro area around Norfolk.
In November 2012, NCDOT requested the addition of the corridor to the Interstate Highway System through administrative options with the Federal Highway Administration as I-44. Congressman G. K. Butterfield introduced legislation in June 2014 to add the corridor to the Interstate Highway System through Congressional authority. An NCDOT policy paper said they were "seeking language in the reauthorization of surface transportation programs legislation to enhance the description of the Raleigh–Norfolk Corridor to include the route via Rocky Mount–Elizabeth City for clarity, and to designate the entire route from Raleigh to Norfolk as a future part of the Interstate system as I-44 or I-50." Had the I-44 designation been approved, it would have been discontinuous with the current I-44, which runs between Wichita Falls, Texas, and St. Louis, Missouri.
On December 14, 2015, the proposed corridor was officially designated as a future interstate with the passage of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). Soon, several other route numbers were discussed and the RTA set their preference on two more-likely candidates: Interstate 56 if an east-west designation were chosen, or Interstate 89 if a north-south designation were chosen. I-56 is not in use, while I-89 exists in Vermont and New Hampshire, far north of this corridor. For the upcoming AASHTO Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering, NCDOT proposed I-89 for this route. On May 25, 2016, AASHTO instead approved I-87 as the number for the highway. The new I-87 would be non-contiguous with the route with the same number in New York State. The Interstate 87 designation pays tribute to several important dates in the history of both North Carolina and Virginia. The Roanoke Colony was founded in 1587; James Madison's Virginia Plan helped to develop U.S. Constitution in 1787; and North Carolina State University was created in 1887.
On May 23, 2017, AASHTO approved the request by NCDOT to decommission existing I-495 and Future I-495; they are to be replaced with I-87 and Future I-87. NCDOT began resigning the highway on September 5, 2017. I-87 will continue east along US 64 to I-95 after the road is upgraded to interstate standards.
Current exit numbers are based on I-440 and US 64 mileage. The entire route is in Wake County.
|Raleigh||0.0||0.0||—||I‑40 west / US 64 west – Durham||Continuation as I-40 / US 64|
|16||I‑40 east / I‑440 begins – Wilmington, Benson||Western end of I-440 concurrency|
|419||I‑440 west / US 264 begins (US 64 Bus. east) – Wake Forest||Future exit 3; eastern end of I-440 concurrency; western end of US 264 concurrency; eastbound signed as exit 14|
|420||New Hope Road||Future exit 4|
|Knightdale||422||Hodge Road||Future exit 6|
|423||I‑540 west – Wake Forest, RDU Airport||Future exit 7|
|||425||Smithfield Road||Future exit 9|
|Wendell||427||Wendell Falls Parkway||Future exit 11|
US 64 Bus. (Wendell Boulevard/Knightdale Boulevard) – Knightdale
|Future exit 13|
|430||Rolesville Road – Rolesville||Future exit 14; northbound entrance and southbound exit|
|—||US 64 east / US 264 east – Rocky Mount, Wilson||Continuation as US 64 / US 264|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
Route map: Google
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- "AASHTO Electronic Balloting System - View Ballot - Agenda and List of Applications SM-2016" (PDF). AASHTO. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
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- Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (May 23, 2017). Written at Portland, ME. "Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 5. Retrieved June 9, 2017.