Interstate 87 North Carolina

Interstate 87
North End
South End
Future Interstate 87 corridor sign posted along U.S. 17 Bypass north beyond the split with U.S. 13 and ahead of the Cashie River. Photo taken 12/14/17.

Proposed Routing

I-87 has been specified as beginning at the I-40/440 exchange in southeast Raleigh then preceding north and east to supersede I-440 to I-495 and U.S. 64/264 east. From that point I-87 would replace I-495 along the U.S. 64 freeway to I-95 and Rocky Mount. East of Rocky Mount, U.S. 64 would carry I-87 to Tarboro and Williamston, where it would join the U.S. 13/17 freeway north toward Windsor. At Windsor, Interstate 87 would split with U.S. 13, following U.S. 17 northeast to the Elizabeth City bypass. North of Elizabeth City, I-87 would beeline for the Virginia border along U.S. 17. The present proposal would have the I-87 designation totaling approximately 179 miles, with an end at the state line. Through cooperation with Virginia, an eventual continuation northward would take I-87 to a point near Norfolk.

High Priority Corridor

Proposed Interstate 87 is part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act high priority future Interstate corridor, which is designated as Corridor 13.

Route Information

  • North End – VA state line (U.S. 17)

  • South End – Raleigh, NC

  • Branch Routes (future) – 1

  • Mileage – 12.90

  • Cities – Raleigh, Knightdale

  • JunctionsI-40 I-440 Future I-587

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-87 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
I-40 to Poole Rd. 90,000
Poole Rd. to I-440 97,000
I-440 to New Hope Rd. 85,000
New Hope Rd. to Hodge Rd. 90,000
Hodge Rd. to I-540 86,000
I-540 to Smithfield Rd. 70,000
Smithfield Rd. to Knightdale-Eagle Rock Rd. 59,000
Knightdale-Eagle Rock Rd. to U.S. 64 Bus. 54,000

Source: 2016 NCDOT AADT Mapping Application.


NCDOT sought an Interstate designation for portions of U.S. 13, U.S. 17, U.S. 64, U.S. 158 and U.S. 264 between Raleigh and the North Carolina/Virginia border. The stretch of U.S. 64, from I-440 to I-95 was previously designated as Interstate 495 / Future I-495 in 2013. State officials later applied for the designation of Interstate 89, for both the numbered section of I-495, and for the remainder of the corridor leading east from Rocky Mount to Hampton Roads, Virginia. An application for I-89 was sent to the AASHTO Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting held on May 24, 2016.1 The state instead received approved for Interstate 87.2

These routes have been identified as a high priority future Interstate corridor, as indicated by the December 4, 2015 enacted Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act11. Ultimately I-87 would provide a direct connection between Raleigh and Norfolk, Virginia.

The Interstate 89 designation was primarily chosen due to increasing difficulty in identifying an Interstate number that meets the criteria and is not currently in use.3,4 It is unclear what determined Interstate 87 to be the favorable route, given that NC 87 forms part of a 241-mile multi state route from Southport and the Atlantic coast to Ridgeway, Virginia.

North End  – US 17 – Virginia state line

The northern end of Interstate 87 will be located along U.S. 17 at the North Carolina-Virginia state line.

South End I-40 I-440 – Raleigh, North Carolina

The southern end of Interstate 87 is at the directional interchange between I-40 (Exit 301) and I-440 in southeast Raleigh.


  1. Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting scheduled for May 24, 2016, agenda packet, AASHTO 2016 Spring Meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.
  2. “North Carolina Gains Names for Two New Interstate Designations.” North Carolina Department of Transportation, press release. May 25, 2016.
  3. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or “FAST Act”, website
  4. Interstate Routes Binder (2016), American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) website.

Page updated September 29, 2018.