Interstate 42

Interstate 42 North Carolina

Proposed Routing

U.S. 70 between Raleigh and Morehead City plays importants roles, including being a primary hurricane evacuation route as well as being a major corridor for freight transport. Defined as High Priority Corridor #82 from the December 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, U.S. 70 between Garner and Morehead City became designated as a future interstate corridor. While a few designations have already been proposed (I-46 by the Transportation Alliance and I-50 by the Super 70 Corridor Commission), the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) had submitted Interstate 36 for the 137-mile corridor. The I-36 proposal was discussed at the May 24, 2016 AASHTO Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting, but instead of the I-36 designation, AASHTO officials approved Interstate 42 for the U.S. 70 corridor.3 Now that an official number has been assigned for the corridor between I-40 and Morehead City, "Future I-42" signs can now be installed along various segments, pending approval from the Federal Highway Administration.3

Future Interstate 42 would generally follow the U.S. 70 corridor southeasterly, connecting Garner, Clayton, Smithfield, Selma, Goldsboro, Kinston, New Bern and Havelock with the Port of Morehead City. I-42 would begin at the current systems interchange with I-40 near Garner and follow U.S. 70 southeast toward Smithfield, Selma and I-95. Near Goldsboro, I-42 would overtake the U.S. 70 Bypass around the north side of the city. A possible new bypass, currently unfunded1 would carry I-42 around the south side of Kinston connecting with the existing controlled-access and freeway portions east to New Bern. Southeast of New Bern, Future I-42 would follow another new bypass to the west of Havelock. Ultimately I-42 would end near the Port of Morehead City.

In addition to connecting Morehead City with the Raleigh area, I-42 would also link Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station to the Interstate system.

Also, unlike Interstate 36, the Interstate 42 designation will fit into the Interstate system number grid, following a path completely north and east of I-40.

Converting U.S. 70 to Interstate 42

The remaining controlled-access portions of U.S. 70 between Clayton and Morehead City are gradually being upgraded to freeway standards, and as each new section is constructed or upgraded, they will be submitted for inclusion into the Interstate system.

Background / History

Several highway projects are currently underway or planned to convert U.S. 70 into an Interstate corridor, including:

  • U.S. 70 Goldsboro Bypass - from just west of N.C. 581 in Wayne County to just east of Promise Land Road in Lenoir County. Built in three stages, the western half of the 20-mile bypass was complete from U.S. 70 in Wayne County to Wayne Memorial Drive by October 2015. The remaining 12.5-mile connection back to U.S. 70 in Lenoir County opened May 27, 2016.4
  • U.S. 70 Kinston Bypass - no longer a funded project according to the NCDOT 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Plan.2 A southern alternative of a U.S. 70 bypass near Kinston was preferred over several northern alternatives. Estimated cost would have been $181 million.2
  • U.S. 70 Improvements in James City - still in the early planning and development stages, this project would see to improvements to the U.S. 70 corridor through the James City area from south of the exchange with U.S. 17 through to south of Garner Road. Construction could being by 2021.
  • U.S. 70 Havelock Bypass - from north of the Havelock City limits and extends south for approximately 10 miles to north of the Craven-Carteret county line. At an estimated cost of $172, the limited-access bypass is expected to begin construction in 2018 with a 2021 completion date.

High Priority Corridor

Proposed Interstate 42 is part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act high priority future Interstate corridor, which is designated as Corridor 82.

Western Terminus - Interstate 40 - Garner, North Carolina
Trumpet interchange (Exit 309) between Interstate 40 and U.S. 70 (Clayton Bypass) between Garner and Clayton.
Eastern Terminus - Morehead City, North Carolina
This terminus location is just an approximation at the current time. Therefore we didn't try to photograph the location and submissions of potential termini not requested at this time.


  1. U.S. 70 Kingston Bypass, NCDOT website.
  2. Strategic Transportation Investments, NCDOT website.
  3. North Carolina Gains Names for Two New Interstate Designations, NCDOT website.
  4. "U.S. 70 Goldsboro bypass opening Friday", (news and TV).

Page Updated May 25, 2016.

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