Interstate 40 East - Orange & Durham Counties

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Interstate 40 East
Orange Grove Road spans Interstate 40 (Harriet Morehead Berry Freeway) just south of the split with I-85. The freeway veers southward by the Orange County seat of Hillsborough to Exit 261 in 1.75 miles. Photo taken 06/05/05.
The next exit joins I-40 east with former North Carolina 86. The old state route leads north from Exit 261 to Hillsborough and south to Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Eastbound Interstate 40 reaches Exit 261 for old North Carolina 86 to Hillsborough and Carrboro/Chapel Hill. This is not the most direct route to Carrboro or Chapel Hill, but it is a slower and mostly rural alternative to Interstate 40. Photo taken 06/05/05.
The next exit along eastbound Interstate 40 is Exit 263, New Hope Church Road. This is the two-mile advance sign for this diamond interchange. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Interstate 40 enters the Cape Fear River Basin and will remain in this drainage the rest of the way to Wilmington. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Use New Hope Church Road southwest to Former North Carolina 86 and northeast to North Carolina 86. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Eastbound Interstate 40 reaches Exit 263, New Hope Church Road. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Two miles ahead of N.C. 86 on I-40 east. N.C. 86, which was relocated from an earlier alignment, travels south to Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Photo taken 06/05/05.
North Carolina 86 begins at the interchange of U.S. 15-501 & North Carolina 54 and North Carolina 86 (South Columbia Street) just south of the University of North Carolina (UNC). The state route travels northwest from Chapel Hill, briefly paralleling Interstate 40 between Exits 263 and 266. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Exit 266 departs I-40 east for N.C. 86. Beyond Hillsborough, N.C. 86 aims northwest toward Yanceyville, then ends at an interchange with U.S. 29-58-360 along the state line, southeast of Danville, Virginia. Photo taken 06/05/05.
The subsequent eastbound exits also serve as connectors from Interstate 40 to the vicinity of Chapel Hill and West Durham. Photo taken 06/05/05.
U.S. 15-501, which follow a shared alignment between Laurinburg and Durham, offer a near-expressway alignment from Interstate 40 south toward Chapel Hill. While the old alignment of U.S. 15-501 (Franklin Street) enters downtown Chapel Hill, the new alignment follows a signalized bypass to the southeast of downtown. Continuing south from Chapel Hill, U.S. 15-501 continues as a multi-lane divided highway to Pittsboro, then downgrades to a two-lane highway until they reach U.S. 1 near Sanford. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Two major universities are within a half-hour's drive of each other via U.S. 15-501. Turn south on U.S. 15-501 to the University of North Carolina; aim north to reach private Duke University. Photo taken 06/05/05.
U.S. 15 and U.S. 501 both begin in South Carolina. U.S. 15 originates in Walterboro, while U.S. 501 begins in Myrtle Beach. The two routes commingle through two-thirds of their course through North Carolina, then separate north of Durham. U.S. 15 generally follows I-85 northeast to Oxford, then turns north toward Virginia. The highway eventually passes through Maryland and Pennsylvania before ending at Interstate 86 in New York. U.S. 501 traces a route north to Roxboro and South Boston, Virginia, before turning northwest toward Lynchburg and Lexington, where it ends. Photo taken 06/05/05.
U.S. 15-501 (Fordham Boulevard) heads south from Exit 270 to Chapel Hill and north along Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard to Durham. This diamond interchange is woefully underpowered, and delays can be very common here. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Shields for U.S. 15-501 posted along the off-ramp at Exit 270. Southeast of Exit 270, Interstate 40 changes names to the John Motley Morehead III Freeway. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Advancing east 1.5 miles, I-40 meets North Carolina 54 to Chapel Hill and Durham. North Carolina 54 begins in Burlington, travels southeast to Chapel Hill, then skirts the southern edge of Durham. The state route ends at Interstate 440 (Exit 3). Photo taken 06/05/05.
One mile east of Exit 273 with North Carolina 54 (Raleigh Road) on I-40. Photo taken 06/05/05.
North Carolina 54 (Raleigh Road) travels east from Exit 273 to Downtown Chapel Hill. A variety of hotels and related motorist services are available along Raleigh Road. During college football weekends, expect no vacancies and increased traffic. Photo taken 06/05/05.
N.C. 751 (Hope Valley Road) crosses paths with Interstate 40 in one half mile at Exit 274. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Eastbound Interstate 40 reaches Exit 274 for North Carolina 751 (Hope Valley Road) north to Downtown Durham and south to B. Everett Jordan Lake. Photo taken 06/05/05.
The succeeding three eastbound interchanges serve East Durham starting with Fayetteville Road (Exit 276) in 0.75 miles. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Forthcoming Exit 276 for Fayetteville Road connects I-40 east with the Streets at Southpoint Mall as well as south Durham destinations. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Eastbound Interstate 40 reaches Exit 276, Fayetteville Road south to Southpoint Mall and north to Durham. Photo taken 06/05/05.
The ensuing eastbound exit along Interstate 40 departs in one mile for North Carolina 55 to North Carolina 54. Photo taken 06/05/05.
North Carolina 55 heads south from Exit 278 to Parkwood, Carpenter and Apex. North Carolina 54 ties into the state route nearby between Chapel Hill and Raleigh via southern Durham. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Exit 278 leaves I-40 east for N.C. 55 north to Downtown Durham and south to Apex. This interchange is a folded diamond due to the proximity of the Durham and Southern Railroad that parallels N.C. 54. Photo taken 06/05/05.
A new sign bridge was installed at Exit 278 for the December 8, 2011 opened Triangle Expressway (North Carolina 147 Toll). The toll road stretches 3.5 miles from Interstate 40 (Exit 279A) to North Carolina 540 (Western Wake Expressway). Tolls along the expressway are collected by electronic transponders (NC Quick Pass) or pay by plate.1 Photo taken 12/17/11.
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N.C. 147 (Durham Freeway) loops through Durham to link with I-40 at the tolled Triangle Expressway. The state route extends south to N.C. 540.
The Triangle Expressway opened as Phase 2 of a three phase project involving the building of 18 miles of limited access highway connecting Interstate 40 with U.S. 64 and U.S. 1. Phase 3 extended N.C. 540 to N.C. 55 at Holly Springs.1 Photo taken 06/05/05. Second photo taken 12/17/11.
Interstate 40 and N.C. 147 meet at a directional cloverleaf interchange. Prior to construction of the Triangle Expressway, N.C. 147 curved west and ended at adjacent Alexander Drive. Photo taken 06/05/05.
New overheads and a sign bridge direct motorists onto the Exit 279A off-ramp to North Carolina 147 Toll (Triangle Expressway) south. Interchanges along the toll road include Hopson Road and Davis Drive in Research Triangle Park. Photo taken 12/17/11.
Eastbound Interstate 40 at Exit 279B for North Carolina 147 (Durham Freeway) north to Downtown Durham. Prior to the completion of Interstate 40 around Durham, North Carolina 147 had to take on the role of being the only freeway connection between Durham and Raleigh. Photo taken 06/05/05.
The next exit along eastbound is Exit 280, Davis Drive, followed by Exit 281, Miami Boulevard. Both of these interchanges are folded diamonds. Note that Interstate 40 is no longer as rural as it was near Chapel Hill. With four lanes in each direction, it is a very busy commuter route from here east to Raleigh. Photo taken 06/05/05.
The right lane becomes exit only for Exit 281, Miami Boulevard. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Eastbound Interstate 40 reaches Exit 281, Miami Boulevard. The next exit is Exit 282, Page Road, which also features a folded diamond design. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Exit 282 departs I-40 east for Page Road. Exit 283 follows with Interstate 540 north to U.S. 70 and North Carolina 540 (Western Wake Expressway) south to North Carolina 55. Photo taken 06/05/05.
North Carolina 540 opened between Interstate 40 (Exit 283) and North Carolina 55 on July 14, 2007. The 4.5-mile stretch of the Western Wake Expressway is Phase 1 of a three-phase project to build 18 miles of toll road linking Interstate 40 with Apex and Holly Springs. Originally slated to be a free route, tolls were implemented to speed along the project. Photo taken 12/17/11.
The right lane again becomes exit only, this time for the connection to Interstate 540 east to U.S. 70 and U.S. 1 and North Carolina 540 (Western Wake Expressway) west. Interstate 540 stretches east 26 miles to U.S. 64 & 264 (Knightdale Bypass). Photo taken 06/05/05.
Updated signage for Exit 283 (Interstate 540 east / North Carolina 540 west) posted along Interstate 40 east. N.C. 540 is under construction southward to U.S. 64 and southeastward from there to U.S. 1. When the road opens to U.S. 64 at Apex, tolls will be implemented along the Western Wake Expressway using NC Quick Pass or pay by mail tolling. Photo taken 12/17/11.
Eastbound Interstate 40 reaches the directional cloverleaf interchange (Exit 283) with Interstate 540 east and N.C. 540 west. When the initial 4.5-mile stretch of the Western Wake Expressway opened to traffic, it was signed as Future Interstate 540. It was quickly changed to N.C. 540 when it was determined that tolls will be used along the road. Photo taken 06/05/05.
Exit 283 was expanded into a two-lane off-ramp for Interstate 540 (Northern Wake Expressway) east and North Carolina 540 west. I-540 was commissioned in 1997 as a short connector to U.S. 70 by RDU Airport. Extensions opened between December 11 1999 and January 16, 2007 between Interstate 40 and Knightdale.
Completion of the Western Wake Expressway (N.C. 540 Toll) between Exit 283 and North Carolina 55, south of U.S. 1, is expected by December 2012. Photo taken 10/01/11.
A flyover ramp connects eastbound Interstate 40 to eastbound Interstate 540. The new mainline bridges that carry Interstate 540 south of Interstate 40 cross here. Photo taken 06/05/05.


Photo Credits:

  • 06/05/05 by AARoads.
  • 10/01/11 by Brent White.
  • 12/17/11 by Jamie Dzencelowcz.

Connect with:
Interstate 540 - Northern Wake Expressway
U.S. 1
U.S. 15
U.S. 64
U.S. 501

Page Updated 03-01-2012.