NCDOT released the plans Tuesday for the final contract to complete construction of the Fayetteville Outer Loop beyond US 401 to the All American Freeway. This contract to be let on June 17 does final paving work and sign installation for the two segments currently under construction, Murchison Rd to Bragg Blvd, which will probably open sometime this fall. And the piece from US 401 to Murchison Rd whose major work will be complete next month. The signage plans had one big surprise, the road will be signed, not as I-295 when work is completed sometime in 2015, but as NC 295. Previous signage plans for the Murchison Rd to Bragg Blvd segment had signs with blank spaces but marked as to be filled with I-295 signs in the future (when the entire roadway would open). What changed?
Apparently, NCDOT again overestimated the FHWA's leniency in regard to signing substandard freeways as interstates. There is a substandard bridge crossing of the Cape Fear River, but, probably the deal killer, to get from I-95 North to the Loop requires you to go through a signalized intersection (same for traffic headed for US 13 coming from I-95 South). The plans do show Future I-295 shields to remain, paired with NC 210 shields along the roadway, but all other Future 295 signs at on-ramps and on overheads along the open portion between I-95 and US 401 will be taken down. The mile markers in the plans (running from 22 to 34 in the plans if you're curious with Exit 21 being Bragg Blvd/All-American Freeway, Exit 23 Murchison Rd, Exit 25 McArthur Rd, Exit 28 US 401, Exit 30 River Rd and Exit 34 I-95) all have NC 295 shields implying this designation will be here for awhile. Given that there are no projects to upgrade the Loop/I-95 interchange, and no current funding for building the Loop's final 17 miles back to I-95, guess that's not surprising.
The sign plans can be accessed at http://dotw-xfer01.dot.state.nc.us/dsplan/2014%20Highway%20Letting/06-17-14/Plans%20and%20Proposals/Cumberland%20X-0002CC%20C203361/Roadway/