Interstate 440 North Carolina
Known as the Cliff Benson Beltline, Interstate 440 forms the northern two thirds of the 25.2-mile long Raleigh beltway. The 1960s-built freeway winds northeast from I-40 near Lake Jackson to North Carolina State University and U.S. 70 by Crabtree Valley Mall. U.S. 1 accompanies the route east to Exit 11, as I-440 turns back south. The freeway meets Interstate 495 west of Knightdale, where U.S. 64 combines with the beltline south back to I-40.
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 along the Cliff Benson Beltline, which was officially decommissioned by AASHTO at the same time.
When Interstate 440 was first signed, it used cardinal directions based upon the direction of travel. So along the portion through the east side of Raleigh, I-440 used north/south banners, while the stretch to the north used east/west signage.1 The signing of I-440 was later changed to use an inner and outer orientation, similar to those found on the I-277 inner belt freeway around Downtown Charlotte and the I-485 beltway around Mecklenburg County.
Prior to the designation of Interstate 440 along the Cliff Benson Beltline, U.S. 1, U.S. 64, U.S. 70 and North Carolina 50 utilized portions of the freeway between Cary and the temporary east end at Poole Road. U.S. 401 was added to the route when the Tom Bradshaw Freeway (I-40) portion of the beltway was completed in 1984 as U.S. 64 shifted to the new I-40. Motorist confusion led NCDOT to restore portions of the routes back through the city center in 1991, including U.S. 70, U.S. 401 and NC 50.1
Plans announced in August of 2003 removed the I-440 designation from the concurrency with I-40 along the southern third of the Raleigh belt line while restoring cardinal (east-west) direction banners along the remainder of the route. The renumbering was reinforced by local references to the I-440 segment as the “Beltline” and the I-40/440 portion as simply “I-40”.2 According to Brian LeBlanc’s former Wake County Roads web site, sign changes were made by 2009.
East End – Raleigh, NC
West End – Raleigh, NC
Mileage – 16.77
Cities – Cary, Raleigh
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-440 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
The initial potion of the Cliff Benson Beltline opened in 1960 as an extension of the U.S. 1 freeway from Chatham and southwest Wake Counties to end at Hillsborough Street. The route was extended another eight miles to Capitol Boulevard in 1963.
The I-40/440 concurrency was one of 2-digit Interstates overlapped with a branch route. Other entries include I-95/495 around Washington, DC, I-87/287 across the Hudson River in New York, I-94/694 in the Twin Cities, MN and I-80/580 at Berkeley, CA.
East End – Raleigh, North Carolina
West End – Raleigh, North Carolina
- The Baffling Beltline – A Photo Essay of the Raleigh Beltline’s Colorful Past (Adam Prince)
- Rhodes, S.D. “Raleigh Beltline to change signage yet again…” Online posting, Yahoo Groups – Southeast Roads and Transport, Aug. 30, 2002.
Page updated February 10, 2016.