Highway 87

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N.C. 87 travels the height of the state between Southport, near the Cape Fear River outlet to the Atlantic Ocean and the Virginia state line north of Eden. Virginia Route 87 continues the highway northwest 4.10 miles to U.S. 220 at Ridgeway via Morehead Road / Avenue.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway - Fayetteville

N.C. 87 leading north into the city of Fayetteville is part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway. The freeway runs 7.5 miles from a cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 95 to Ramsey Street north of Downtown. N.C. 87 combines with U.S. 401 Business north from Robeson Street to N.C. 24 (Rowan Street). U.S. 401 Business follows the remainder of the freeway north from Rowan Street.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway was dedicated by the city of Fayetteville on July 27, 1997. The urban expressway was previously the Central Business District Loop, or CBD Loop.1 The CBD Loop arose out of an early 1960s comprehensive traffic and road plan for relieving traffic congestion in Downtown Fayetteville. Property acquisition for the loop began in 1962, and a short segment was constructed from 1970 to 1973 between Hay Street south of NC 24/87 (Bragg Boulevard) and Ramsey Street (U.S. 401 Business).2,3

Succeeding work on the CBD Loop was included in the 1988-96 Transportation Improvement Project adopted by the state Board of Transportation. Construction of the CBD Loop south from Hay Street to Robeson Street (U.S. 401 Business) was approved by the board on February 13, 1988. Subsequent phases (II) would lengthen the freeway south to Gillespie Street and (III/IV) from Gillespie Street to East Mountain Drive.2

Hampered with delays, the Central Business District Loop opened to traffic between Robeson Street and Hay Street opened to traffic on the afternoon of February 11, 1991. Work on the $7.5 million extension commenced in June 1988.4 Following delays for the state to acquire wetland permits in 1994 and heavy rains from Hurricane Fran in 1996, the remainder of the freeway south finally opened on April 17, 1997. The 5.6 mile route cost $60 million overall.3

North Carolina Highway 87 North

NC 87 upgrades to a freeway north from Wilmington Highway (SR 2337 / old NC 87) at Grays Creek. A cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 95 follows in 0.83 miles.
12/13/17

North from Interstate 95, NC 87 is a part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway into Fayetteville.
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A diamond interchange (Exit 100) joins NC 87 with Owen Drive (SR 1007) to the northeast of Fayetteville Regional Airport (FAY).
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Owen Drive is part of SR 1007, an 11.50 mile long route which extends north along the All American Freeway into Fort Bragg.
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Business Loop I-95/U.S. 301 (Eastern Boulevard) pass just east of Downtown Fayetteville between NC 87 at Exit 102 and NC 24/210 (Grove Street).
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Entering the six-ramp parclo interchange (Exit 102) with Business Loop I-95/U.S. 301 (Eastern Boulevard) on NC 87 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway) north.
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Gillespie Street is the first of three streets connecting Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway with Downtown Fayetteville.
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A parclo interchange (Exit 104) joins NC 87 with U.S. 401 Business (Robeson Street) south and SR 3828 along Robeson Street north toward Downtown Fayetteville.
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U.S. 401 Business combines with NC 87 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway) north to bypass Downtown Fayetteville.
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North Carolina Highway 87 South

NC 87 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway) continues from U.S. 401 Business (Robeson Street) south from Downtown Fayetteville.
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A folded diamond interchange (Exit 103) joins NC 87 with Gillespie Street (SR 2311) north to Downtown Fayetteville.
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Curving southeast, NC 87 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Freeway) converges with Business Loop I-95/U.S. 301 (Eastern Boulevard) at a six-ramp parclo interchange (Exit 102).
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NC 87 leaves the intersection with NC 11 and the town of Sandyfield by this reassurance marker.
06/24/10

Old Lake Wilmington Road (SR 1740) ties into NC 87 from the community of Armour ahead of this shield assembly.
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NC 87 southbound at the community of Riegelwood.
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Waccamaw Road, a residential road, and John Riegel Road, an access road to an International Paper plant, come together at this traffic light with NC 87 at Riegelwood.
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Old 87 Road loops east to Acme while NC 87 advances 2.24 miles south to U.S. 74/76 at Delco.
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U.S. 74/76 combine for 31 miles west to Whiteville and Chadbourn and 17 miles east to the outskirts of Wilmington. NC 87 joins the four lane divided highway east five miles through Sandy Creek and Maco.
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U.S. 74 U.S. 76 East North Carolina Route 87 South

NC 87 angles six miles southeast from NC 11 through Riegelwood to combine with U.S. 74/76 east at Delco.
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U.S. 74/76 reach Wilmington in 18 miles. NC 87 drops southward to U.S. 17 at Bishop to conclude its 239-mile course in 34 miles at Southport.
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Entering Brunswick County midway between Delco and Sandy Creek along U.S. 74-76 east/NC 87 south.
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NC 87 parts ways with U.S. 74/76 at Maco opposite Northwest Road.
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The state route winds nine miles southeast to merge with U.S. 17 south at Bishop. Northwest Road loops north from U.S. 74/76 to Northwest, becoming Fertilizer Road west to Acme in Columbus County.
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NC 87 continues south from U.S. 17 at Bell Swamp to Boiling Spring Lakes and NC 211 outside Southport.
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Sources:
  1. "MLK Freeway." Fayetteville Observer, The (NC) July 27, 1997.
  2. "CBD-Loop Work Gets State's OK." Fayetteville Observer, The (NC) February 13, 1988.
  3. "Fayetteville Loop Finished." Fayetteville Observer, The (NC) April 16, 1997.
  4. "Section of Downtown Loop Opens." Fayetteville Observer, The (NC) February 12, 1991.

    Connect with:
    U.S. 74
    U.S. 76
    Highway 11

    Page Updated 07-09-2020.

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