Highway 147 - Triangle Experssway / Durham Freeway

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North Carolina Highway 147 is a 16.08 mile route along the Triangle Expressway (TriEx) through Research Triangle Park (RTP) and the Durham Freeway, an urban loop to Downtown Durham.

Construction on NC 147 commenced in 1968 with the first segment opened to traffic between Alston Avenue (NC 55) and Chapel Hill Street (SR 1127) in 1970. Extension built in the 1970s followed west to Erwin Road (SR 1320) and east to Interstate 40 through RTP.

Road planning techniques in the 1960s would not be used in 1982 to develop the corridor northwest to Interstate 85 through the Crest Street neighborhood. Instead of relocating residents and razing properties, 181 houses were relocated to new foundations in the area, allowing residents to stay in the Crest Street community. This allowed work on the freeway to proceed with minimal disruptions to the area community. The Durham Freeway was completed to Interstate 85 on July 31, 1998.1,2

The NC 147 section of the TriEx opened to traffic on December 8, 2011.3 The toll road extends 3.11 miles south from I-40 to NC 540 (Western Wake Expressway) near Morrisville. The TriEx continues south from the end of NC 147 along NC 540 to Cary, Apex and Holly Springs.

Interstate 885 North Carolina

The East End Connector will join NC 147 along the Durham Freeway with U.S. 70 along S Miami Boulevard in Durham. A $142 million project started in February 2015, the East End Connector consists of both a new freeway linking NC 147 with U.S. 70 and upgrades along U.S. 70 north from the freeway to Interstate 85. Upon completion in November 2020, it will be established as Interstate 885. I-885 will also overlay NC 147 southward to the TriEx, completing the loop between I-85 and I-40.

NC Highway 147 North
NC 147 (Durham Freeway) meets Cornwallis Road (SR 1121) at a folded diamond interchange (Exit 6). Photo taken 01/17/19.
Construction underway from February 2015 to November 2020 upgrades the Durham Freeway north to the East End Connector. Photo taken 01/17/19.
The East End Connector (I-885) is partly a 1.25 mile long freeway linking NC 147 with U.S. 70. Construction of the connector also involves upgrading 2.75 miles of U.S. 70 north to I-85. Photo taken 01/17/19.
The two wye interchange with the East End Connector (Left Exit 9) represents the future separation of NC 147 west from Interstate 885 north. Photo taken 01/17/19.
A compact cloverleaf interchange (Exit 16) joins NC 147 (Durham Freeway) with the freeway along U.S. 15/501 northwest of Downtown Durham. Photo taken 12/15/16.
NC Highway 147 South

NC 147 (Durham Freeway) branches 1.95 miles southeast from Interstate 85 to U.S. 15/501 at a cloverleaf interchange (Exit 16).
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Navigating southeast through an S-curve, the succeeding exit on NC 147 is Fulton Street south / Hillandale Road north.
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The SPUI (Exit 15) with Fulton Street (SR 1321) lies north of Duke University Hospital.
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Continuing from the wye interchange with Elba Street, NC 147 meets Swift Avenue south of the Duke University East Campus.
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The parclo interchange (Exit 14) with Swift Avenue (SR 1322) connects with Broad Street north at U.S. 70 Business (Main Street).
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Advancing toward Downtown Durham, NC 147 approaches Exit 13 with Chapel Hill Street (SR 1127).
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Durham Bulls Athletic Park is located on the north side of NC 147 between Lackwell Street and U.S. 15-501 Business (Mangum Street).
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Downtown Durham
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A split diamond interchange joins NC 147 with U.S. 15-501 Business and Fayetteville Street (SR 1118) at Exit 12.
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A pedestrian bridge spans NC 147 from Lakeland Street at the parclo interchange (Exit 11) with NC 55 (Alston Avenue).
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A two-wye interchange was constructed along the Durham Freeway for the East End Connector (Interstate 885).
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Opening in November 2020, the East End Connector will take I-885 northward along side U.S. 70 to I-85/U.S. 15.
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Interstate 885 will overlap with NC 147 (Durham Freeway) south from Exit 9 to I-40.
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The succeeding exit is for Ellis Road (SR 1954) to Bethesda and the north side of RTP.
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NC 147 meets T.W. Alexander Drive (SR 2028) at diamond interchange (Exit 7) within RTP.
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The Triangle Expressway begins along NC 147, 1.75 miles south of T.W. Alexander Drive.
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Left Exit 5A departs NC 147 south for Interstate 40 east to Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and the city of Raleigh.
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West from Exit 5A, I-40 runs across south Durham and around Chapel Hill.
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Toll NC Highway 147 South

Spanning the TriEx, NC 54 parallels I-40 just to the south.
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A split diamond interchange (Exit 3) connects NC 147 (TriEx) with Hopson Road (SR 1978) and Davis Drive (SR 1999) at south RTP.
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NC 147 concludes at NC 540 (Western Wake Expressway), which leads northeast to I-40/540 near RDU Airport.
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The Triangle Expressway extends southward along NC 540 to Cary, Apex and Holly Springs.
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Stubs were built at the directional T interchange with NC 540 for a planned extension of NC 147 south to nearby Davis Drive (SR 1613).
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Tolls are collected along both ramps to NC 540 at Exit 1.
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Sources:
  1. "30-year, 12-mile project completed." The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), July 26, 1998.
  2. "Durham Freeway's last leg opens." The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC), August 1, 1998.
  3. "First Segment of Triangle Expressway Open." WUNC - North Carolina Public Radio, December 8, 2011.

    Connect with:
    Interstate 40
    Interstate 85
    Interstate 540 / Toll NC 540
    U.S. 15
    U.S. 501

    Page Updated 07-18-2020.