Interstate 240 and 42 in North Carolina


Get started Asheville
End Asheville
Length 9 mi
Length 15 km
  • 1 → Columbia / Knoxville1B Brevard Road
  • 2 Haywood Road
  • 3
  • 4 → Johnson City
  • 4C Downtown Asheville
  • 5A
  • 5B Charlotte Street
  • 6
  • 7 Tunnel Road
  • 8 Fairview Road
  • 9 → Winston Salem

Interstate 240 or I -240 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway forms the northern bypass of the city of Asheville in the west of the state. Interstate 240 is 15 kilometers long.

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Travel directions

Interstate 240 forms the primary outcrop of the city of Asheville, as Interstate 40 bypasses the city along its south side. The western portion of I-240 coincides with Interstate 26 and begins at an interchange with I-40. The highway has 2×2 lanes and has unfortunate connections with left-hand mergers and a TOTSO with US 74 Alternate.

Crossing the French Broad River in 2×4 lanes, I-26 turns north. This is also an unfortunate junction with left-hand entrances and exits and lanes without emergency lanes. The freeway then runs past Downtown Asheville with 2×2 lanes on a twisty, high-density, and off-ramp route. On the east side of downtown, I-240 cuts through a ridge and then has an unfortunate junction with left-wing ins and outs. On the east side of Asheville, I-240 again terminates at an interchange with I-40 and an exit for US 74 Alternate.

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Originally east-west traffic passed through Asheville on US 70, which passes through the 230-foot Beaucatcher Tunnel on the east side of town, which opened in 1929. The first bridge over the French Broad River opened to traffic in 1950 and was extended with a second span in 1968. The 2.5-kilometer bypass of Downtown Asheville was constructed in the early 1960s and was numbered as US 19/23. In 1966, Hanover Street on the west side of Asheville was also converted to a freeway and extended to I-40, completing the western half of the freeway.

At the time, there was no proper route through Asheville for through traffic, I-240 ended on the east side of Downtown, I-40 ended on the south side of the city and did not give direct access to US 70, so traffic was routed through the secondary road network. had to be. The eastern portion of I-240 was constructed between 1977 and 1980 with a major excavation through Beaucatcher Mountain, adjacent to the tunnel of then US 70. This portion was opened on October 31, 1980, completing I-240.

Before the highway was ready, the number I-140 was assigned to the route, which was never signposted. Interstate 140 in North Carolina is today assigned to the Wilmington bypass at the other end of the state. Since 1982, the entire route has been signposted as I-240.


The complex traffic situation at Asheville.

One project in progress is the I-26 Connector in Asheville, which will widen I-26/I-240 through west Asheville and build a new route that will swing through two interchanges with US19/23 and I- 240, including a new bridge over the French Broad River. The project includes 12 kilometers of freeway. The Environmental Impact Statement was published on February 4, 2020. The project will cost a total of $950 million.

Today’s I-26/240 through Asheville is very unhappily designed with cramped connections, left-hand in and outs, substandard interchanges on the west and north sides of Asheville, and a cramped TOTSO with US 74 Alternate. This is combined with high traffic volumes, making I-26/240 through Asheville a significant bottleneck for traffic flow and road safety.

Traffic intensities

I-240 is a busy highway for the extent of Asheville. 70,000 vehicles drive daily at the western starting point, rising to 100,000 vehicles for the I-26 interchange on the north side of Asheville. After that, 70,000 to 80,000 vehicles will drive on the east side of Asheville.

Interstate 42 in North Carolina

Get started Raleigh
End Morehead City
Length 142 mi
Length 229 km
  • → Raleigh / WilmingtonClayton (NC-42)
  • Ranch Road
  • Powhatan (US 70 Bus.)
  • Buffalo Road
  • Selma (to )
  • Selma (to )
  • Goldsboro (West)
  • NC-581
  • → Goldsboro / Wilson
  • North Goldsboro
  • Wayne Memorial Drive
  • Berkeley Boulevard
  • New Hope
  • Goldsboro (East)
  • Trenton/Cove City (NC-41)
  • Dry Monia Road
  • Clarks Road
  • → Jacksonville
  • New Bern (NC-43)
  • Glenburnie Road
  • dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Country Club Road
  • → New Bern / Washington

Interstate 42 or I -42 is a future Interstate Highway in the United States, located entirely in the state of North Carolina. I-42 is to replace US 70 between Raleigh and Morehead City. The planned length is 229 kilometers.

Travel directions

I-42 should branch off from I-40 at Garner, 10 miles south of the capital Raleigh. The existing road leads as a freeway along Clayton, after which there is a 2×2 divided highway to Selma. At Selma there is a short bypass that has been designed as a freeway, where the connection to I-95 is also. After this the route is again a 2×2 divided highway until before Goldsboro. Along Goldsboro is a long bypass that has been constructed as a freeway. It has an interchange with I-795. After Goldsboro, the route has been redesigned as a 2×2 divided highway with mostly level intersections. Important connections, such as at Kinston, are grade separated. Then there is another freeway from Dover to New Bern, which leads through the city of New Bern and has a semi-above water junction with US 17. The road then heads south through densely forested coastal plains, along an arm of the greater Pamlico Sound. The route here is again a mostly at-grade 2×2 divided highway, passing the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The planned I-42 then ends at Morehead City, a coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean.


Even before an Interstate Highway on this corridor was considered, several sections of US 70 were already constructed as freeway. The state of North Carolina originally wanted the number I-36 for this route, but AASHTO decided in 2016 to assign the number I-42, which fits better in the grid since the route is completely north of I-40. is. On March 16, 2022, the number I-42 was also approved by the FHWA.

Parts of the corridor that were operated as freeway until 2016;

  • I-40 – Powhatan (Clayton Bypass), 10 miles (opened 09-06-2008)
  • Selma Bypass, 6 kilometers (opened 1997)
  • Goldsboro Bypass, 33 kilometers (opened 2011-2016 as NC-44 )
  • Dover – New Bern, 42 kilometers (opened 1978-1979)

When the ‘Future’ Interstate number was assigned, 97 kilometers of the planned 229 kilometers had already been implemented as a freeway.

The rest of the route is already a 2×2 divided highway with mainly level intersections.

Opening history

From Unpleasant Length Date
dover New Bern 42 km 00-00-1978/1979
Selma Bypass 6 km 00-00-1997
powhatan 16 km 09-06-2008
Wayne Memorial Drive (Goldsboro) 5 km 16-12-2011
Goldsboro (west) 8 km 17-10-2015
Wayne Memorial Drive (Goldsboro) Goldsboro (East) 19 km 27-05-2016


With the assignment of the number I-42, the state of North Carolina can give priority to developing the rest of the route as a freeway. It will probably be possible to do this partly over the existing road, but diversions will probably also be necessary in places where there are too many buildings along the road.

On March 30, 2021, a $58.8 million contract was awarded to upgrade 8 kilometers of US 70 between US 70 Business in Powhatan and the bridge over the Neuse River to Interstate Highway. The project should be completed by the end of 2024.

Interstate 42 in North Carolina