The Roads To Get Here–
We are going to assume that you decided to take one of those road trips we described our note on what to do on the weekends. Or, you just need to get into the state from out of state. What roads are you driving in on and where do they go? Here’s your quick primer on the major interstate routes in and out of North Carolina.
- I‑26: I-26 is a mountain highway that enters the state from the northwest corner and exits the state at the southwest corner. Major cities on the route are basically Asheville in state and Charleston and Kingsport, TN out of state. If you don’t live in Charleston or Western North Carolina or northeast Tennessee, you probably won’t ever have a need to use I-26.
- I‑40: I-40 is our major east/west highway and the only highway other than I-85, to completely cross the state. It’s also one of the few interstate highways to completely cross the country, taking on in the western states some parts of the original Route 66. In North Carolina, it starts out as a four lane highway in Wilmington, then cranks up to highway speeds to become the key route through Raleigh, South Durham, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and the east/west route through Asheville, before bearing due northwest into Tennessee, eventually to hit Nashville, Memphis, Oklahoma City and ending in Barstow, California. If it seems like I-40 winds around forever, especially in the Triangle, that’s due to some issues with routing and political fights. Even now, the portion of I-40 going through Raleigh is being repaired again for the second time in only 6 years.
- I‑73: I-73 is one of a paired set of new interstates that will take a north/south route through the state and connect Michigan with Myrtle Beach eventually. Originally planed to take a south, then east bound route through North Carolina to Myrtle Beach, it now will enter South Carolina due south after Rockingham and work it’s way east in that state.
- I‑74: I-74 is the other part of the I-73 pair. Originally, both highways were to be the same, but thanks to money, politics and the actual road manual, they are separate entities. I-74 will be the North Carolinan route to Myrtle Beach and will also provide another interstate link to Lumberton, other than I-95.
- I‑77: I-77 is a completely north-south route that connects the state with Ohio, ending in Cleveland to the north and I-26 in South Carolina to the south. It is also the main north/south highway through Charlotte and Statesville, and also allows you to access Carowinds, our major state amusement park.
- I‑85: I-85 is what we like to call the other front door of the state, due to it’s sort of east-west/north-south cross state and country route. Thanks to routing and merging, you can go all the way from Los Angeles to Boston and not have to officially exit the road. I-85, along with I-40, I-73, and I-74 are the four highways we here in Greensboro start on to start our interstate-based journey anywhere. This is part of why the city is known as the Gate City.
- I‑95: That infamous I-95 that you know as the parking lot of the East Coast, comes into North Carolina just south of Lumberton (and north of the gaudy, but fun South of the Border amusement park), and then continues straight due north through Wilson, Rocky Mount and a few other towns until it meets Virginia. It will meet and merge with fellow north/south highway I-85 in Richmond, VA.
Looking at a map of the interstate highways nationwide, it’s easy to see that North Carolina is one of the most connected states in the country. Hence why the state is rapidly becoming a target for major manufacturing and distribution operations, filming, overseas shipping (via our port at Wilmington) and people looking for a better cost of living. Could that be you?
Today is Monday and we’re sure you are on the move. Here’s what not to miss about North Carolina for today.
Get to know our state’s poet laureate a little better.
Asheville’s about to spend more money than it ever has before on road construction and road paving.
Twenty-five charter schools are set to open statewide in August, but many aren’t ready to open by state standards.
According to scientists, our sea floor may possess the best chance for harvesting wind energy in the southeast.
A Charlotte-area mobile, pay-what-you-can, food market is doing very well.
The State of North Carolina is putting a drone to good use, by exploring a state historic site with it.