According to foodezine, Interstate 95 or I -95 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway forms a north-south route through the east of the state, from the South Carolina border through Fayetteville and Rocky Mount to the Virginia border. It is a critical transit route for north-south traffic along the US East Coast. I-95 is 292 kilometers long in North Carolina.
I-95 at Dunn.
Typical view of I-95 in North Carolina.
Interstate 95 in South Carolina turns into North Carolina at Rowland. The road first follows a somewhat northeasterly course, later the road turns more to the north. The first major town on the route is Lumberton, which has an interchange with I-74. A little further on is Fayetteville, with more than 200,000 inhabitants the largest city on the route of I-95. The city is mainly known for the presence of military facilities such as Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. The highway passes some distance from the city, and the access roads to the city are grade separated main roads. Interstate 295 forms the main access road to Fayetteville.
After the town of Fayetteville, I-95 heads northeast again, crossing Interstate 40, which runs from Wilmington on the coast in the southeast to Raleigh, Durham, and the other conurbations in central North Carolina. This interchange is a cloverleaf interchange, with direct flyovers from Fayetteville to Raleigh. Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and is located just 25 miles to the north. The forests are getting thinner here, with more fields. A little further on you cross US 70, the main road between Raleigh and Goldsboro and further to the coast.
At the level of the town of Wilson, one crosses Interstate 587, a highway that connects Raleigh with Wilson and Greenville. A little further, at Rocky Mount, you cross the US 64, which has also been developed as a freeway. The last town to pass before the Virginia border is Roanoke Rapids, located on the Lake Gaston reservoir, part of the larger John H. Kerr Reservoir, a lake system that stretches at least 90 kilometers to the west. A little further on you reach the border with the state of Virginia and Interstate 95 continues in Virginia to Petersburg and Richmond.
According to bittranslators, before the construction of I-95, US 301 was the main north-south route in this part of the state. As early as 1960, parts of this route had been widened to 2×2 lanes, especially around Wilson and Rocky Mount.
Construction of I-95 was a low priority for North Carolina, as the highway does not connect major cities within North Carolina. Thanks to federal funding from the Interstate Highway program from 1956, I-95 was built relatively quickly through the rural areas of eastern North Carolina.
About 1960, the first sections of I-95 opened to traffic, the Lumberton bypass and a longer stretch from Fayetteville to Kenly, not far from Wilson. During the 1960s, the section opened from Lumberton to just south of Fayetteville, and I-95 was opened from Gold Rock to the Virginia border. In 1970, a number of sections were still missing, such as the route from the South Carolina border to Lumberton, the Fayetteville bypass, and a longer stretch from Kenly to Gold Rock. These sections opened in the 1970s, except for the Fayetteville bypass, which opened in the first half of the 1980s.
There are wishes to widen I-95 in its entirety to 2×3 lanes. Although the traffic intensities are not very high, the proportion of freight traffic is relatively high and there is periodically increased traffic from the northeast towards Florida, as a result of which driving on I-95 is experienced as tedious and monotonous.
For the state of North Carolina, however, the widening of I-95 was hardly a priority for a long time. The only town of interest on the route is Fayetteville, which has more than 200,000 inhabitants. Other larger towns on the route, however, have no more than 20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants. Relatively few commuters use I-95.
In February 2012, I-95 in North Carolina was designated as one of three nationwide pilot projects to enable large-scale modernization and widening through toll collection. Plans were to widen the entirety of I-95 in North Carolina to a minimum of 2×3 lanes, with portions of 2×4 lanes, particularly around Fayetteville. The cost of the widening was estimated at the time at approximately $4.5 billion and was planned to be completed in two phases. In the first phase, 98 kilometers had to be widened between mile markers 20 and 81, this is in the Fayetteville region. After that, the rest of the total 290 kilometers would be widened to 2×3 lanes. The toll would be about 19.2 cents per mile in phase 1 and 6.4 cents per mile in phase 2. The total cost to travel through North Carolina would then be about $19.40 for 290 kilometers, averaging $0.067 per kilometer. This is somewhat cheaper than most toll roads in Europe.
However, the plan had not made much concrete progress since then. Several studies have been conducted but no major decisions have been made. In 2016, the North Carolina Department of Transportation announced its inability to fund any significant expansions to I-95. Financing for roads in North Carolina is largely driven by hard data, leaving I-95 low on the priority list. Through traditional financing, it would take 60 years to widen I-95.
Widening the southern portion of I-95
Despite this, the widening of I-95 became a higher priority and it was eventually decided to tackle a 110-kilometer stretch between I-74 (mile marker 13) and I-40 (mile marker 81) as a matter of priority and close to the end of 2026. to be widened integrally to 2×3 and partly 2×4 lanes. I-95 will largely be completely newly built. A total of six contracts have been awarded through 2022 to extend the southern portion of I-95 between I-74 near Lumberton and I-40 near Benson for $1.7 billion. Only the part along Fayetteville will not be widened for the time being.
Phase one work began in January 2020 to widen a total of 40 kilometers of I-95 between Exit 56 at Fayettevile and Exit 81 (I-40) from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes. A contract was awarded in July 2021 for the second phase between Exit 71 and Exit 81. In September 2022, the widening of 13 kilometers of I-95 through Lumberton, between Exit 13 and Exit 22, began. This part will be widened immediately to 2×4 lanes and should be ready by the end of 2026. In October 2022, a $247 million contract was awarded to widen another 8-mile section between Exit 22 and Exit 29 to 2×4 lanes. This should also be ready by the end of 2026.
Every day, 34,000 vehicles pass the Virginia border, rising slightly to 38,000 vehicles for Rocky Mount, before dropping back to 33,000 vehicles. There are also about 33,000 vehicles at Wilson, rising slightly to 35,000 vehicles near I-40. This increases further to 47,000 vehicles just north of Fayetteville, declining slightly to 42,000 vehicles near downtown Fayetteville, bypassing I-95 quite a distance. There are 43,000 vehicles south of Fayetteville, dropping to 33,000 vehicles southwest of Lumberton on the South Carolina border.