Interstate 87 North Carolina
The 13.09 mile long route of Interstate 87 originates at the exchange joining I-40 and I-440 in southeast Raleigh. I-87 route overlaps with I-440 north to U.S. 64/264, and along the Knightdale Bypass east to U.S. 64 Business near Eagle Rock. The remainder of I-87 east is designated a Future Route.
Future I-87 replaces Future I-495 along the freeway taking U.S. 64 east from the Triangle to I-95 at Rocky Mount. East of Rocky Mount, Future I-87 continues along U.S. 64 to Tarboro and Williamston, where it overlays the freeway along U.S. 13/17 north toward Windsor.
Future I-87 continues along the U.S. 17 corridor east from Windsor to Elizabeth City and north to into Chesapeake, Virginia. The initial proposal for I-87 measures 179 miles from I-40 in Raleigh to the Virginia state line. Through cooperation with Virginia, the long term plan continues I-87 northeast to I-64/464 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.
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-87 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: 2016 NCDOT AADT Mapping Application.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) sought an Interstate designation joining Raleigh with the North Carolina/Virginia border north of Elizabeth City. The corridor overlaid portions of U.S. 13, U.S. 17, U.S. 64, U.S. 158 and U.S. 264. U.S. 64 east from I-440 at Raleigh to I-95 at Rocky Mount was previously designated as Interstate 495 / Future I-495 in 2013. State officials later applied for the designation of Interstate 89 on both the numbered section of I-495 around Knightdale, 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 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting held on May 24, 2016.1 The state instead received approval for Interstate 87.2
N.C. gets approval to add I-42 and I-87 as interstate highways, both in the eastern part of the state. https://t.co/NqD0H7Pmxe
— NCDOT (@NCDOT) May 25, 2016
These routes were identified as a high priority future Interstate corridor, as indicated by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act enacted on December 4, 201511. Ultimately I-87 would provide a direct connection between Raleigh and Norfolk, Virginia.
The I-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.
Exit numbers along U.S. 64/264 between I-440 and U.S. 64 Business were renumbered by NCDOT by July 2019.
- Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering meeting scheduled for May 24, 2016, agenda packet, AASHTO 2016 Spring Meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.
- “North Carolina Gains Names for Two New Interstate Designations.” North Carolina Department of Transportation, press release. May 25, 2016.
- The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or “FAST Act”, website
- Interstate Routes Binder (2016), American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) website.
Page updated July 9, 2021.