Construction of the new Greensboro bypass, otherwise known as Painter Boulevard, resulted in the relocation of Interstate 85 from the city onto the southeastern section of the new road in 2004 and then Interstate 40 on both the sections of the new bypass in February 2008. The new bypass was constructed in an effort to alleviate the through-city route of Interstates 40 and 85 and their “Death Valley” interchange south of downtown. Painter Boulevard carries six overall lanes of traffic with a 65 mph speed limit.

Interstate 85’s original alignment was renumbered to Business Loop Interstate 85 in 2004, and the majority of motorists now travel the bypass if they are not headed toward Greensboro. The shield swap did not cause problems in the long run and the designations stuck. Interstate 40’s relocation did its job of relocating through traffic away from the city through the southwest suburbs, but at the dismay of area residents who complained about the noise level associated with the many trucks that use the cross-country route. That problem was compounded with numerous complaints leveled at the Business Loop vs. Interstate 40 designations and the confusion that they caused. So just seven months after opening the new Interstate 40, the designation was returned to its original alignment through the city.

The September 2008 relocation of Interstate 40 back into Greensboro left new Interstate 73 alone along Painter Boulevard between Future Interstate 840 and the merge with Interstate 85. Additionally Interstate 73 follows a portion of the northwest Greensboro beltway with Future Interstate 840 to Bryan Boulevard.

The numbering debacle that arises is that area freeways will receive their third exit renumbering in four years. Interstate 40’s exit numbers will return to the short-lived Business Loop and they will replace the Business Loop Interstate 85 numbering convention used between “Death Valley” and junction Interstate 840. But that is not the end of it, as Painter Boulevard’s southwest quadrant will also be renumbered to match the mileage of the easy-to-follow Interstate 73.

The Exit numbering scheme of the Greensboro Interstate system after the February 21, 2008 opening of new Interstate 40 & 73.

How the exits will be renumbered with the mid-September announcement that Interstate 40 will return to its original route.

Through all of this, Interstate 40’s statewide mileage will again be accurate. During the Business Loop Interstate 40’s time, the mileage figures from Durham eastward were significantly off from the actual distance to Tennessee due to the additional mileage gained from the Greensboro bypass. U.S. 421 also was shifted from its in-city routing along the Joseph M. Hunt Jr. Expressway and Interstate 40 to Interstates 85 and 73 along the bypass route. No other changes are expected in the Greensboro area until the completion of Interstate 840 and the building of Interstate 785, two projects still many years away due to funding needs.

Painstakingly done, all of our North Carolina guides affected by the return of Interstate 40 to Greensboro are now updated. Additionally Interstate 73 gets its own guide for the first time on SouthEastRoads:

Exit number maps created by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). See their press release on the Interstate 40 relocation here