Interstate 587 will overlay the U.S. 264 freeway east from its split with U.S. 64 (Future I-87) at Zebulon, to Greenville. The rural freeway joins Raleigh with Wilson as well, and partially coincides with Interstate 795 between I-95 and its continuation south to Goldsboro.
North Carolina applied for Interstate status along U.S. 264 to AASHTO in September 2016.1 While it appeared that AASHTO would reject the proposal,2 as announced by the office of Governor Pat McCrory on November 15, 2016, the Route Numbering Committee instead approved I-587. The decision adds the city of Greenville to the Interstate system, which supporters hope will further spur economic development in eastern North Carolina. This region of the state previously gained future Interstates 42 and 87 earlier in 2016.3
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the NCDOT application for Interstate 587 by November 21, 2016.4 Approximately $100 million in improvements are needed to bring the route to Interstate standards. Upgrades include expanding shoulders from the Wilson and Greene County line east to Exit 73. The outside shoulders along this stretch are presently only four feet in width, while Interstate standards require ten foot shoulders.5 Additionally some of the overpasses spanning U.S. 264 do not meet current clearance standards.1
Initial construction for the U.S. 264 freeway east from U.S. 64 at Zebulon appeared on the 1975-76 North Carolina Official Highway Map
Work to build the U.S. 264 freeway east from Wilson to Greenville underway – 1985 North Carolina Official Highway Map
East End – Greenville, North Carolina
Perspective from U.S. 264 east
U.S. 264 approaches a half built cloverleaf interchange (Exit 73B) with the Pitt County bypass around Greenville. The interchange includes grading for the future southwestern bypass (NC 11). I-587 will end here, with U.S. 264 arcing northeast around Greenville to U.S. 13 near House. Photo taken 07/28/13.
A grassy area alludes to the eventual Exit 73A for future NC 11 south to Kinston. The Quad-East plan calls for connecting four of the largest metropolitan areas east of I-95, including Greenville, Wilson, Goldsboro and Kinston. This is envisioned as an interstate quality loop, with I-795 constituting the Wilson to Golsboro leg and future I-42 representing the Goldsboro to Kinston segment. An extension is underway for the Felix Harvey Parkway (NC 148) freeway north from NC 58 to NC 11, while work on the southwestern bypass for NC 11 in Pitt County started in 2016. NC 11 between the two freeways will need future upgrades to Interstate standards to complete the loop.6 Photo taken 07/28/13.
U.S. 264 loops onto the Pitt County bypass as the freeway mainline transitions into Stantonsburg Road east to East Carolina University. Stantonsburg Road is not the old alignment of U.S. 264, as the US highway previously overlapped with U.S. 13 along Dickinson Avenue to the south. Photo taken 07/28/13.
West End Future – Zebulon, North Carolina
Traffic separates from U.S. 64 and 264 east at a trumpet interchange (Exit 436) on the north side of Zebulon.