Interstate 440 North Carolina

Interstate 440 in Raleigh is signed with shields such as this one to indicate the direction of the loop (inner loop is clockwise, while outer loop is counterclockwise). Photo taken 07/12/05.


Known as the Benson Beltline, Interstate 440 composes the Raleigh beltway. The freeway currently includes an eight mile overlap with Interstate 40 south of the North Carolina capital city. Christened in the late 1980s, portions of the Raleigh Beltway have existed since the late 1960s. Those portions of the highway carried U.S. 1 and 64 before Interstate 440 was signed.

Interstate 440 reassurance shields have either INNER or OUTER banners. When the designation first came into existence, it was signed with cardinal directions. These banners were dependant upon where they were posted in relation to the geographic orientation of the roadway. Therefore at U.S. 64 to the east, Interstate 440 was signed as north/south. At U.S. 401 to the north, Interstate 440 was signed as east/west. See Adam Prince's The Baffling Beltline for more about this original configuration.


AASHTO approved the numbering of Interstate 40 from an application by the state of North Carolina on June 9, 1991. Interstate 440 replaced Business Loop I-40, which was officially decommissioned by AASHTO at the same time that Interstate 440 was created. The business loop looked more like a beltway and less like a traditional business route through a city.

Future Aspirations

Announced August of 2003, a planned truncation of Interstate 440 to remove the Interstate 40 overlap will see the return of cardinal direction banners to the freeway. Since the route will only consist of the northern portion of the belt line at that time, east and westbound cardinal directions will be implemented. Apparently locals refer to just the Interstate 440 segment north of Interstate 40 as the "Beltline". Any stretch along the overlap is simply known as "I-40". Thus the change will not be a difficult sell. No time table has been set for the signing changes.1 For more on Interstate 440 see Brian LeBlanc's Wake County Roads. In spite of this, maps still show Interstate 40 and Interstate 440 overlapped as of the 2005 Mapquest and Rand McNally road atlases.

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 40 - southwest Raleigh, North Carolina
Perspective from Interstate 40/440 west (inner loop)
The Inner Beltline of Interstate 40/440 westbound as it nears the Interstate split. U.S. 64 also leaves the Beltline for the U.S. 1 freeway south toward Apex. The overpass in the background is that of Avent Ferry Road. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/13/03).
Interstate 40 continues with two westbound through lanes to the north as the highway transitions from the beltline to the Tom Bradshaw Freeway. An exit-only lane facilitates the Interstate 440 Inner mainline as it joins U.S. 1 to the northeast. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/13/03).
The Exit 293 collector/distributor roadway for Interstate 440 Inner and U.S. 1/64 westbound departure from the Raleigh Beltway. This interchange would have been the northern terminus of Interstate 140 had AASHTD approved the designation for the U.S. 1 freeway between Raleigh and Sanford. The proposal however, was denied. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/13/03).
A view of the Exit 293B departure of Interstate 440 Inner/U.S. 1 north from the Interstate 40 westbound mainline. The two routes overlap with one another until U.S. 1 departs the beltline via Exit 11. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (06/13/03).
Perspective from Interstate 440/U.S. 1 south (outer loop)
Now traveling south on Interstate 440 (Raleigh Beltline Outer Loop) and U.S. 1, Exit 1 connects the circular freeway with Interstate 40. Through this interchange, through traffic on Interstate 440 outer loop must use a cloverleaf loop ramp to continue. The two left lanes transition directly onto the U.S. 1-64 freeway south toward Sanford and Pinehurst. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Continuing south after the Jones Franklin Road interchange (Exit 1C), southbound Interstate 440 and U.S. 1 approaches Exits 1B-A, Junction Interstate 40 and U.S. 64. To continue on U.S. 1 south and U.S. 64 west, use the left two lanes. To continue on Interstate 440 east (outer loop), use the right lane. To Interstate 40, use the right lane. Photo taken 07/12/05.
A trailblazer for Interstate 440/Outer Beltline is posted prior to the offramp to Interstate 40. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Interstate 440 south and U.S. 1 south split at this point. The left two lanes follow U.S. 1 south and U.S. 64 west to Apex, Sanford, and Asheboro. Interstate 440 exits from itself, following the collector-distributor lanes to connect to Interstate 40 west (Exit 1B) and to Interstate 40 east (Exit 1A). Photo taken 07/12/05.
This diagrammatic sign shows the connections to Interstate 40 from southbound Interstate 440. Note that Interstate 440 is omitted on the overlap with Interstate 40 east, even though the beltline transitions onto Interstate 40 east and is fully signed as Interstate 40-440/U.S. 64 east. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Looking from the U.S. 1-64 southwest main lanes, these signs are posted on the collector-distributor lanes for the connection to Interstate 40 west to Raleigh-Durham International Airport and to Durham (Exit 1B). The continuation of Interstate 440 east is signed as Exit 1A. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Interstate 440 inner loop merges onto Interstate 40/U.S. 64 east en route to Benson. U.S. 1 south and U.S. 64 west continue straight ahead toward Sanford. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Perspective from Interstate 40 east
The first appearance of Interstate 440 shields on eastbound Interstate 40 are located on the approach to the Wade Avenue interchange (Exit 289). Use Wade Avenue east to Interstate 440's inner loop and to north Raleigh. Photo taken 07/12/05.
A second diagrammatic sign advises that Wade Avenue provides the best route to north Raleigh while the connection to downtown Raleigh is best served via Interstate 40 east. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Continuing east, the right two lanes prepare to transition onto Wade Avenue to U.S. 1 and Interstate 440. The left two lanes continue east on Interstate 40. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Interstate 40 and Wade Avenue split at Exit 289. This freeway spur once carried Interstate 40 to Raleigh and U.S. 1; now, the freeway now acts as a connector between Interstate 440/U.S. 1 and Interstate 40. East of Interstate 440, Wade Avenue reverts to a city street. After this interchange, the next two exits are Exit 290, Junction North Carolina 54 and Exit 291, Cary, followed by Exit 293, Junction Interstate 440 and U.S. 1-64. Photo taken 07/12/05.
The next appearance of Interstate 440 occurs about three miles after the Wade Avenue split at Exit 289. This interchange is a cloverleaf, meaning the connection to the inner loop of Interstate 440 is accomplished at a much slower speed. Photo taken 05/30/07.
For U.S. 64 west, use Exit 293A (Junction U.S. 1 south U.S. 64 west). For U.S. 64 east, use Interstate 40 east/Interstate 440 outer. Note that the Interstate 40 pull-through sign in the distance does not mention Interstate 440 outer loop but does show U.S. 64 east. Photo taken 05/30/07.
East on Interstate 40 meets Exit 293, Junction Interstate 440 and U.S. 1-64. This exit ramp connects the freeway to the collector/distributor roadway for Exits 293A-B, Junction U.S. 1-64 southwest (Exit 293A) and Junction Interstate 440 Inner Loop/U.S. 1 north (Exit 293B). This is the second opportunity for Interstate 40 motorists to access the Interstate 440 Inner Loop. The first option is to depart Interstate 40 at Exit 289/Wade Avenue. Photos taken 05/30/07 and by Chris Curley (10/00).
Prior to the transition ramp to Interstate 440/U.S. 1 northeast to Wake Forest and U.S. 1-64 southwest to Apex, an Interstate 440 inner beltline trailblazer is posted on the side of the freeway. Photo taken 05/30/07.
Now on the transition ramp, the first exit connects Interstate 40 east with U.S. 1 south and U.S. 64 west. Continue straight ahead for the loop ramp that connects to Interstate 440 inner and U.S. 1 north. Note the signage in the distance for the actual ramp to Interstate 440 inner loop and compare it to the 2001 vidcap shown next. Photo taken 05/30/07.
The next ramp connects Interstate 40 east with Interstate 440 inner and U.S. 1 north (Exit 293B). Note this vidcap from 2001 shows U.S. 64 east following Interstate 440 inner, which is no longer the case. Instead, U.S. 64 today follows the Interstate 40 east/Interstate 40 outer loop to the Knightdale Bypass. This vidcap was taken on a rainy winter night at the Interstate 40/440/Exit 293 sign bridge. The control cities of Exit 293 are for U.S. 1 with Sanford to the south and Wake Forest north of the Exit 11 departure from Interstate 440. Vidcap taken 02/14/01.
Perspective from Wade Avenue east
Now traveling east on Wade Avenue, the entire eastbound route is signed as To Interstate 440. This shield is located after the Edwards Mill Road interchange and prior to the Blue Ridge Road exit. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Trucks are advised to exit Wade Avenue and use Interstate 440/Raleigh Beltline. Photo taken 07/12/05.
These shields advise of the Interstate 440 outer loop south (first exit) and inner loop north (second exit). Photo taken 07/12/05.
Indeed, the first ramp connects to Interstate 440/U.S. 1 south to Interstate 40 and U.S. 64. The second ramp connects to Interstate 440/U.S. 1 north. Photo taken 07/12/05.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 40 - southeast Raleigh, North Carolina
Perspective from Interstate 40 west
One mile south of the Interstate 40 entrance onto the Raleigh Beltway. An exit-only lane is in place for Interstate 440 Outer, with its primary function as displayed by this overhead to connect with U.S. 64 east at Exit 13. U.S. 64 is a main corridor between the city of Raleigh and Interstate 95, Rocky Mount, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Interstate 540 is presently being extended eastward from its current terminus at U.S. 1 to U.S. 64 east of the city at Knightdale. With the opening of that segment motorists will be able to travel non-stop from western Raleigh to Nashville, Rocky Mount, and Tarboro. Photo taken 05/30/07.
Interstate 40 westbound one half mile south of the Interstate 440 east parent junction and eventual eastern terminus. Interstate 40 is close enough to the city of Raleigh to use Durham as the westbound control city. Downtown Durham is 30 miles to the northwest of this junction. Photo taken 05/30/07.
Interstate 440 Inner and Outer guide sign for Raleigh points of interest. In the background is the Rock Quarry Road overpass. Just beyond this bridge is the Exit 301 interchange. Photo taken 05/30/07.
Interstate 40 at the westbound beginning of Interstate 440/Exit 301. The first interchange for Interstate 440 Inner travelers is Exit 15/Poole Road. For Interstate 40/440 west the next exit is Exit 300 for Sanderford Road. Photo taken 05/30/07.
Perspective from Interstate 40/440/U.S. 64 east
Diagrammatic overhead on Interstate 40/440 eastbound, one mile before their split at Exit 301. Interstate 440 receives no control cities at this parent junction. The Beltway does not receive any control points at Exit 293 either. Vidcap taken 02/14/01.
One half mile to the west of Exit 301 is this overhead. Interstate 40 sees two east control cities: Benson at the junction with Interstate 95/Exit 328 and the terminus location of Wilmington, 119 miles to the southeast. Vidcap taken 02/14/01.
The third in a series of diagrammatic overheads for Exit 301 on Interstate 40 east. Interstate 40 turns to the southeast as it leaves the Cliff Benson Beltway and resumes as the Tom Bradshaw Freeway. Photo taken by Chris Curley (05/00).
Interstate 440 receives two lanes at Exit 301 via Interstate 40 east. Ramps from Interstate 40 west and at the west parent junction only allocate one lane for Interstate 440. Vidcap taken 02/14/01.


  1. Rhodes, S.D. "Raleigh Beltline to change signage yet again..." Online posting, Yahoo Groups - Southeast Roads and Transport, Aug. 30, 2002.

Page Updated July 14, 2007.

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State North Carolina
Mileage 16.77
Cities Raleigh
Junctions Interstate 40
Source: December 31, 2015 Interstate Route Log and Finders List