North Carolina Highway 55
Route of NC 55 highlighted in red
|Maintained by NCDOT|
|Length:||193 mi (311 km)|
|Existed:||1957 – present|
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|
North Carolina Highway 55 (NC 55) is a 192-mile-long (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.
Although NC 55 is signed east–west, the route itself is more "L" shaped. Between Durham and Erwin, the eastbound direction physically heads south and westbound is physically north. After Erwin to its eastern terminus, the route follows a more directly eastward routing.
The western terminus is at US 501 Business (North Roxboro Street) just north of I-85. Here the road is locally known as Avondale Dr. Eastbound NC 55 heads south through Durham, leaving Avondale Dr. on a short connector road to join North Alston Ave. NC 55 stays on Alston Avenue, crossing NC 147 (Durham Freeway) and passing North Carolina Central University. After NC Central, the NC 55 leaves Alston Avenue. Locally it is signed south of this point as just "NC 55" but it carries a secondary designation as Apex Highway. As it passes through the western side of Research Triangle Park, it crosses first I-40, then NC 54, and the toll NC 540 as it leaves Durham County and enters Wake County.
Passing near the center of the unincorporated village of Carpenter, eastbound NC 55 goes southbound along the western edges of Morrisville and Cary. In Apex, it crosses US 64 near the large Beaver Creek Shopping center, and goes south of downtown Apex along Williams Street. Leaving Apex southbound, the road crosses US 1 before it splits into a business route (the original highway) and bypass route around the town of Holly Springs. 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. Next, NC 55 enters the town of Fuquay-Varina, forming the main road through the Varina Commercial Historic District. After Varina, the highway joins NC 42 and US 401 as a three way concurrancy crossing the north side of Fuquay, with eastbound NC 55 heading east through this area, before splitting off at the eastern edge of the town at the "Five Points" junction. Here, eastbound NC 55 goes due south through the unincorporated community of Kennebec leaving Wake County.
Entering Harnett County, eastbound NC 55 still continues in a primarily south/southeast direction, forming the main north-south routes through the center of the towns of Angier and Coats. Between Angier and Coats, traffic heading for Buies Creek and Campbell University would leave NC 55 at either Oak Grove Church Road or NC 27. Southeast of Coats, NC 55 passes through the sparsely populated unincorporated community of Turlington before joining US 421 and entering the town of Erwin. While the roadway that carries NC 55 continues through Erwin as NC 217, NC 55 itself joins US 421. The two highways cross into the city of Dunn together; shortly after a junction with I-95, NC 55 leaves US 421 and enters Sampson County. From the joining US 421 in Erwin, the eastbound route to its eastern terminus now follows a more directly eastern route.
NC 55 roughly follows the northern boundary of Sampson County, crossing several times between Sampson and Johnston County, joining NC 50 as the main east-west route through the town of Newton Grove. NC 55/NC 50 split at the border of Wayne County, with NC 55 heading eastward past the northern edge of the college town of Mount Olive, North Carolina, also known for the Mt. Olive Pickle Company. NC 55 passes through the town of Seven Springs, North Carolina before turning to the northeast to enter the city of Kinston in Lenoir County.
East of Kinston, NC 55 takes a winding path, roughly following the Neuse River to its mouth at New Bern, crossing at the Neuse and Trent rivers along a bridge concurrent with US 17 and US 70. East of New Bern, NC 55 forms the main east-west route through Pamlico County, passing through several small towns including the county seat of Bayboro. East of Bayboro, the road curves to the southeast and south before ending at the Pamlico Sound in Oriental.
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.
North Carolina Highway 117
|Location:||Newton Grove–Jasper, NC|
|Length:||114.7 mi (184.6 km)|
North Carolina Highway 117 (NC 117) was established in 1931 as a new primary spur from US 70/NC 10, in Jasper, to Dover. In 1932, NC 117 was extended west on new routing through Kinston and Mount Olive, before ending at NC 102, in Newton Grove. In 1934, NC 117 was decommissioned in favor of NC 55 extension.
North Carolina Highway 302
|Length:||25.9 mi (41.7 km)|
North Carolina Highway 302 (NC 302) was an original state highway that traversed from NC 30, in Bridgeton, east to Bayboro. In 1922, it was extended east to Oriental. In 1940, NC 302 was renumbered as NC 55.
US 501 Bus. (Roxboro Street)
|0.2||0.32||I‑85 / US 15 / US 70 – Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Oxford, Raleigh||Diamond interchange; exit 177 on I-85|
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|
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|
NC 55 Byp. east – Fuquay-Varina
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|
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|
US 70 Bus. west (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard)
|West end of concurrency with Business US 70|
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|
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
Holly Springs bypass
|Location:||Holly Springs, North Carolina|
|Length:||4.4 mi (7.1 km)|
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.
Bridgeton alternate spur
|Location:||Bridgeton, North Carolina|
|Length:||0.15 mi (0.24 km)|
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.
- North Carolina Bicycle Route 3 - concurrent with NC 55 from Old US 70 west of New Bern to SR 1600 east of Bridgeton
- North Carolina Bicycle Route 5 - concurrent with NC 55 in Angier
- North Carolina Bicycle Route 7 - concurrent with NC 55 from Old US 70 west of New Bern to Reelsboro
- NCRoads - NC 55[self-published source] Archived January 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Google (June 28, 2014). "North Carolina Highway 117" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
- North Carolina Primary Highway System (PDF) (Map). Cartography by NCDOT. North Carolina Department of Transportation. 1940. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- Google (November 23, 2013). "NC 55 Bypass - Holly Springs" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Wake County - Sheet 4 of 9 (PDF) (Map). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Wake County - Sheet 6 of 9 (PDF) (Map). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 23, 2013.