New Interstate 40 Interstate 73, a road locally known as Painter Boulevard, is now open to traffic southwest of Greensboro. Traffic cones and other barriers were removed the morning of February 21, 2008 on the newest section of North Carolina Interstate, a 7.5-mile stretch of freeway between Future Interstate 73 & 840 near Piedmont Triad International Airport and Interstate 85 & Business Loop Interstate 85 south of the city.

Interstate 85 south (and now Interstate 40 west) merge with Interstate 73 beyond the U.S. 220 interchange south of central Greensboro. Photo taken by Jamie Dzencelowcz (February 23, 2008).

Work on the $122 million project began in February 2004, that now fully relocates relocated Interstate 40 away from its in-city alignment until September 2008. Exit numbers along old Interstate 40 now carry a numbering scheme originating from the Business Loop through Winston-Salem, with an implied overlap along Interstate 40. This is similar to the scheme implemented along old Interstate 85 with an extension of Business Loop Interstate 85 northward from High Point.

The new freeway carries six lanes and a high speed design speed for through traffic interests between Winston-Salem and Durham. Interstate 73 joins the southwest bypass between Future Interstate 840 near PTI Airport and the U.S. 220 freeway leading south to Asheboro. The signing of Interstate 73 creates only the third set of three two-digit Interstates in the country (I-39/90/94 and I-55/64/70 being the other) to overlap.

Approaching Business Loop Interstate 85 north, Interstate 85, and U.S. 29-70 on Interstate 40 east (and Interstate 73 south). Photo taken by Jamie Dzencelowcz (February 23, 2008).

Additional work on the Greensboro beltway is slated for 2011 and beyond according to NCDOT’s draft seven year 2009-2005 STIP. Construction of Interstate 840 will next open the stretch between U.S. 70 (Exit 19) and the U.S. 29 expressway northeast of Greensboro. U.S. 29 of course, is part of the future Interstate 785, a corridor with seemingly no active construction. Other sections of the eventual Interstate 840 remain unfunded at this time.

AARoads contributor Jamie Dzencelowcz drove the new Interstate 40 on Saturday and provides us with detailed photos of the new roadway. See the following pages for new coverage:

NCDOT has a page covering the new route and the Greensboro Beltway overall at Greensboro Urban Loop

More coverage from Jamie Dzencelowcz involving Future Interstate 840 north of Interstate 40 will be added this week.