Interstate 40 West - Haywood County

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Interstate 40 West
Traveling westbound on I-40/U.S. 74 to the north of Canton in eastern Haywood County. Exit 33 joins the freeway with Newfound Road and Main Street next. Photo taken 08/13/04.
Use Newfound Road northeast for the Buncombe County community of Leicester northwest of Asheville. Newfound Road also travels to Newfound and Georgetown on the northeasterly trek out of Canton. Photo taken 09/12/04.
Exit 33 consists of a diamond interchange with Newfound Road at Canton. Newfound Road travels southwest 0.75 miles to Main Street and 1.7 miles to Bridge Street just north of U.S. 19/23 (Church Street) near downtown Canton. Photo taken 09/12/04.
1.75-mile guide sign for NC 215 (Exit 31) on I-40/U.S. 74 westbound after the Newfound Road interchange. Photo taken 09/12/04.
NC 215 spurs southward 1.9 miles into Canton (pop. 4,029) and West Canton (pop. 1,156) from Exit 31 on I-40/U.S. 74 westbound. The state highway joins U.S. 19/23 (New Clyde Highway) for one half mile east between Blackwell Drive and Penland Street. Photo taken 09/12/04.
Continuing westbound on I-40/U.S. 74 at the northern terminus of NC 215 (Exit 31). SR-1582 spurs north of the freeway into the nearby hillside north of Canton. Use NC 215 south for Woodrow, Sunburst, Rosman (pop. 490) and the Pisgah National Forest. Photo taken 08/13/04.
U.S. 74 departs Interstate 40 westbound for the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway at Exit 27. The US route quickly joins U.S. 19/23 outside of Clyde and Waynesville. U.S. 19 merges onto the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway for just three miles between Clyde and Waynesville before departing southbound for Delwood, Maggie Valley and Cherokee. Photo taken 08/13/04.
The Great Smoky Mountains Expressway derives its name from its connection to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The freeway / divided highway provides links to the park via U.S. 19, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and U.S. 441. U.S. 23 & 74 itself stays well south of the high mountains between Waynesville, Sylva (pop. 2,435), and Bryson City. Photo taken 09/12/04.
Auxiliary guide sign for Exit 27 displaying the communities of Bryson City (pop. 1,411), Cherokee, and Franklin (pop. 3,490). Cherokee is home to the resort area for the Great Smoky Mountains and Harrahs Casino, Bryson City exists where U.S. 19 and U.S. 74 merge, and Franklin is the Macon County seat along U.S. 23 & 441 southbound in the Nantahala National Forest. Use U.S. 74 west to Bryson City also for the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad (a tourist railroad out of Dillsboro and Bryson City). The Railroad consists of a scenic train ride on a branch line Norfolk Southern sold off in the late 1980s. Photo taken 09/12/04.
U.S. 74 westbound also serves Lake Junalaska and the West Carolina University campus at Sylva. Lake Junalaska resides just west of the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway off U.S. 19. The settlement and adjacent lake is a popular home of christian retreats. Photo taken 08/13/04.
One mile east of the split with U.S. 74 on Interstate 40 westbound. U.S. 74 travels another 107 miles in the Tar Heel State to the Tennessee state line with U.S. 64 west of Ranger. U.S. 23 departs the state at Norton into Georgia with U.S. 441. U.S. 19 leaves U.S. 64/74 with U.S. 129 into Georgia southeast of Ranger. Photo taken 09/12/04.
Another Exit 27 auxiliary guide sign. This assembly displays the U.S. 19 control points of Cherokee and Maggie Valley. The US route is not advised for truck traffic between the two towns as the highway follows a narrow winding roadway through Soco Gap. Photo taken 09/12/04.
Typical summertime fog takes a hold on Interstate 40 at the Exit 27 trumpet interchange with the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway. U.S. 74 leaves Interstate 40 for a five mile jaunt to Waynesville and 22 mile drive to Sylva. The highway in conjunction with U.S. 19 continues traffic southwest to Murphy and ultimately Atlanta, Georgia. Attached to the SR-1534 overpass in the background is the Exit 27 gore point sign. Photo taken 09/12/04.
Interstate 40 begins its northwest trek across the Appalachian Mountains at the Lake Junaluska area after the split with U.S. 74. Leading north from the adjacent town is NC 209 (Crabtree Road). Photo taken 05/01/05.
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NC 24 continues north six miles from the Exit 24 parclo interchange to Crabtree and 21 miles to Luck. Overall NC 209 totals 41 miles between Lake Junaluska and Hot Springs. Photos taken 05/01/05.
Continuing north, Interstate 40 next meets the north end of U.S. 276 (Johnathan Creek Road) at Exit 20. Photo taken 05/01/05.
Interstate 40 begins its dramatic climb over the Appalachians from Cove Creek north. The winding road switches back and forth several times, so truckers are advised to travel at 50 mph. However with that stated, the climb is dramatic enough that many trucks will not be able to maintain even that speed. Photo taken 05/01/05.
U.S. 276 totals a scant 108 miles between Interstate 40 (Exit 20) and Mauldin, South Carolina (Interstate 385). Exit 20 represents the last connection to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo taken 05/01/05.
A trumpet interchange facilitates the movements to U.S. 276 south from Interstate 40. U.S. 276 travels six miles south from Cove Creek to U.S. 19 at Dellwood. Maggie Valley lies four miles west on U.S. 19 from Dellwood. Photo taken 05/01/05.
Due to the forthcoming grade, trucks are prohibited from the left lane leading north from Exit 20. Photo taken 05/01/05.
Fines Creek Road meets Interstate 40 at the Exit 15 diamond interchange. Photo taken 05/01/05.
Westbound Interstate 40 at the Exit 15 off-ramp to Fines Creek Road. Fines Creek Road meanders east to Max Patch Road at Fines Creek itself. Photo taken 05/01/05.
Interstate 40 travels through Pisgah National Forest and remains within the park to the Tennessee state line. Photo taken 05/01/05.
Low clouds and fog are typical through Pigeon River Gorge during any time of year along Interstate 40. The freeway parallels Pigeon River closely from Cove Creek northward into the higher Appalachian Mountains. Pictured here is a typical scene along the four lane freeway near Hurricane Ridge. A high jersey barrier separates the movements between the two roadways throughout much of Pigeon River Gorge. Photo taken 11/12/04.
The final North Carolina interchange (Exit 7) lies one mile ahead at Cold Springs Road east and Harmon Den Road west. Photo taken 11/12/04.
Exit 7 serves an isolated area within Pigeon River Gorge from Interstate 40. Cold Springs Road stems east along Cold Springs Creek between Hurricane Ridge and Harmon Den Mountain. Harmon Den Road hugs the west bank of the Pigeon River before climbing toward Buzzard Roost. Photo taken 11/12/04.
Continuing north from Harmons Den toward Waterville. Photo taken 05/01/05.
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A pair of two-lane tunnels carries Interstate 40 through the south end of Dry Gap Ridge near Big Bend of the Pigeon River. The Pigeon River Gorge section of Interstate 40, including this set of tunnels, opened to traffic in 1968. These were the first tunnels along the Interstate system east of the Mississippi River.1
A rock slide in 1985 forced the closure of the westbound lanes for a period of time. During construction, a temporary eastbound bypass lane was added as westbound travelers were shifted into the eastbound tube. This bypass lane remains in place today, but is not open to traffic. Photo taken 05/01/05. Second photo taken 05/01/05. Third photo taken 11/12/04.
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The last Interstate 40 shield posted along the 421-mile freeway in North Carolina. Photos taken 05/01/05.


Photo Credits:

08/13/04, 09/12/04, 11/12/04, 05/01/05 by Carter Buchanan

Page Updated 10-20-2008.