Interstate 495 and 540 in North Carolina

Interstate 495 in North Carolina

Begin Raleigh
End Rocky Mount
Length 45 mi
Length 72 km
→ Raleigh LoopEagle Rock


→ Greenville



Spring Hope



→ Richmond / Savannah

Interstate 495 or I -495 was an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. I-495 ran from the capital Raleigh to I-95 at Rocky Mount and was 45 miles long. In 2017, I-495 was renumbered Interstate 87.

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Travel directions

I-495 has been signposted between 2013 and 2017.

I-495 began at Interstate 440 on the east side of Raleigh and runs 2×3 lanes east through Raleigh’s eastern suburbs. After a few miles, Interstate 540 joins Raleigh’s outer ring. I-495 has 2×3 lanes until it connects at Wendell, then the highway has 2×2 lanes and heads east to Zebulon, where US 264 branches off. Then I-495 heads northeast through less populated forest. The highway loops around Nashville and then ends at a cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 95 at Rocky Mount. US 64 in North Carolina will then go as a freewayon to Rocky Mount, Tarboro and Williamston.

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Most of the highway was built in the 1970s, between Knightsville and Nashville. The Nashville bypass and connection to I-95 at Rocky Mount were completed in the 1980s. Finally, the westernmost section between I-440 and Knightsville was constructed directly with 2×3 lanes. This 18 km long section opened to traffic in July 2005. The highway is signposted as US 64.

Route number

On February 20, 2013, the North Carolina Department of Transportation applied for I-495 status to the AASHTO for US 64 between I-440 in Raleigh and I-95 in Rocky Mount. On December 12, 2013, the westernmost section in Raleigh between I-40 and I-540 was added to the Interstate Highway network. The rest between I-540 and I-95 is the Future I-495. In April 2014, “Future I-495” signs were installed.

On May 24, 2016, the AASTHO approved the number Future I-87 on the route from Raleigh to the Virginia border south of the Hampton Roads region. It coincides with I-495 between Raleigh and Rocky Mount, but I-87 is planned further east into Virginia. In 2017, I-495 was renumbered I-87.

Traffic intensities

Every day, 62,000 vehicles drive between I-440 and I-540 and 63,000 vehicles east of I-540. This drops to 51,000 vehicles between Knightsville and Zebulon and 44,000 vehicles between Zebulon and the interchange with US 264. After that, 18,000 vehicles drove to Nashville and 33,000 vehicles between Nashville and I-95 at Rocky Mount.

Interstate 540 in North Carolina

Begin Apex
End Knightdale
Length 43 mi
Length 69 km
1 → Durham / Raleigh2 Aviation Parkway

3 Lumley Road

4 Raleigh – Durham Highway

7 Leesville Road

9 Creedmoor

11 Six Forks Road

14 Falls of Neuse Road

16 Capital Blvd

17 Triangle Town Blvd

18 Louisburg Road

20 Buffaloe Road

24 Knightdale

26 → Raleigh / Rocky Mount

54 SR-55

55 Old Holly Springs-Apex Road


57 Old US 1


62 Green Level Road

64 Morrisville Parkway

66 SR-54

67 → Durham

1 → Durham / Raleigh

Interstate 540 or I -540 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway forms the northern and western bypass of the capital Raleigh and is 69 kilometers long.

Route numbers

The northern part of the road is signposted as I-540. The western part is still signposted as NC-540, but should eventually become Interstate 540 completely.

Travel directions

I-540 on the east side of Raleigh.

Interstate 540 forms the outer ring of Raleigh, where Interstate 440 forms the inner ring. I-540 runs almost entirely through Wake County, which is a sprawling suburban area. I-540 is 10 to 20 miles outside of downtown Raleigh. The highway has 2×3 lanes almost everywhere, with here and there short sections with 4 lanes in each direction. The main section is on the west side of Raleigh, where the highway passes through the Research Triangle, the largest research and development area in the United States. This is also where the Raleigh-Durham International Airport is located. I-540 is still incomplete, the southern part is still missing. I-540 has interchanges with US 1, Interstate 40, and Interstate 87. Also special is the interchange with US 70 on the west side of Raleigh.


Beginning in the 1960s, Wake County began to grow strongly, not only in Raleigh but also in the surrounding area. Planning for a ‘Northern Wake Expressway’ began in the 1970s, but has not yet got off the ground because I-40 had to be completed first. By 1990 Wake County had more than 400,000 residents and traffic on the minor road network outside of Raleigh was beginning to become problematic. The rural roads remained, but the area urbanized, resulting in far more traffic than planned using these roads.

Construction on the first section of I-540 began in 1992. In January 1997, this 5-mile section opened between I-40 and US 70 on the west side of Raleigh. The remaining sections opened along the north side of Raleigh between 1999 and 2007. On July 14, 2007, a section a few miles west of I-40 opened to State Route 55, but this section is formally State Route 540. On August 1, 2012, a 7-mile stretch opened from Apex to NC -55 west of Raleigh and on December 20, 2012, the final section of the Triangle Expressway opened to SR-55 in Holly Springs.

Opening history

Van Unpleasant Length Datum
1 I-40 4 US 70 4,8 km 21-01-1997
4 US 70 7 Leesville Road 4,1 km 11-12-1999
7 Leesville Road 9 Creedmoor Road 4,3 km 21-12-2000
9 Creedmoor Road 14 Falls of Neuse Road 7,0 km 29-06-2001
14 Falls of Neuse Road 16 US 1 4,2 km 12-08-2002
16 US 1 26 US 64 / US 264 15,2 km 16-01-2007
66 NC-55 1 I-40 6,5 km 14-07-2007
61 US 64 66 NC-55 10,7 km 01-08-2012
56 NC-55 61 US 64 9,0 km 20-12-2012



The route is part of a full 112-kilometer Raleigh ring road, but could take up to 2030 to be completed. It was originally planned to build the missing section in two phases, from Holly Springs to I-40, and a north-south section from I-40 to Knightdale. These have been combined in one study, which is called ‘Complete 540’. The intended route was adopted on 3 February 2016 and the final environmental impact statement was adopted on 22 December 2017. On December 4, 2018, the first of three contracts to build the remaining part of the ring road was awarded. The first $403 million contract includes the portion between US 401 and I-40 south of Raleigh. This part started construction in early 2019 and is due to open in mid-2023. On February 28, 2019, the second contract was awarded for the section between Pierce Olive Road and US 401. In August 2019, NCDOT and opponents reached an agreement to suspend the lawsuits against the construction of I-540. On August 9, 2021, a $500 million federal loan was granted to the project.


The western section, numbered NC-540, is an electronic toll collection toll road. The local transponder NC Quick Pass is accepted, as well as SunPass and E-ZPass.

Traffic intensities

22,000 to 29,000 vehicles drive daily on the toll road section, rising to 45,000 vehicles for the I-40 interchange. This peaks at 105,000 vehicles per day between I-40 and US 70 near the airport. 90,000 to 100,000 vehicles per day drive through the northern suburbs, declining to 55,000 to 65,000 vehicles on the eastern ring road.

Interstate 540 in North Carolina

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