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
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.