Interstate 440, also known as the Raleigh Beltline, the Cliff Benson Beltline, or simply The Beltline, is a 16-mile Interstate highway surrounding the west, north, and east sides of Downtown Raleigh.

History

The first section of the Beltline was completed in 1960, with the segment between Walnut Street and the former eastern terminus of I-40 (today's Wade Avenue). The segment featured a seedling of the US 1 bypass around Cary and Raleigh. Later in 1963, the freeway was extended around the city, ending at Capital Boulevard (then known as North Boulevard). After the roadway was extended to New Bern Avenue in 1965, US 64 was rerouted outside of Downtown Raleigh to follow the new freeway all the way around the city. The final segment of the Beltline was completed in the mid-1980s along with the completion of I-40 around the south of Raleigh. Shortly after the opening of the segment, US 64 was realigned to its modern routing that follows I-40 around the south of the city, while US 70, NC 50, and US 401 were all routed along portions of the beltway. In response to driver confusion about which route ended where, NCDOT received federal approval to designate the entire Beltline as I-440. Following the official designation of the Interstate in 1991, all US and NC highways were restored to their former routes through Downtown Raleigh, with the exception of US 1 and US 64, which still run concurrently with the Interstate. Throughout the 1990s, the NCDOT upgraded much of the Interstate to modern standards, with the only section remaining four lanes wide being the segment from Walnut Street to Wade Avenue. In 2008, I-440 was removed from its concurrency with I-40, leaving behind the northern two-thirds of the route.

Route Description

I-440 begins at I-40's exit 293 in West Raleigh and travels due northeast through largely residential land. The freeway has an interchange with Western Boulevard, then with Hillsborough Street before proceeding north. After the Wade Avenue interchange, I-440 cuts through more residential as it makes its way past the Lake Boone exit, and curves around its northernmost arc, passing by Crabtree Valley and North Hills at Glenwood Avenue and Six Forks Road, respectively. The roadway then turns to the southeast to connect to Wake Forest Road, Capital Boulevard, and New Bern Avenue, before turning to the south. Two last intersections with the I-87/US 64/US 264 freeway and Poole Road meet the highway before it curves to the west and terminates at I-40's exit 301.

Exit List

Exit Number Intersecting Street/Highway Destination(s)
1 A-B I-40/US 1 South/US 64 Garner, Sanford, Asheboro, Durham
1 C Jones Franklin Road  
1 D Milburne Road  
2 Western Boulevard NCSU
3 NC 54 (Hillsborough Street) North Carolina State Fair, Downtown Raleigh, NCSU
4 Wade Avenue I-40, PNC Arena, Carter-Finley, RDU
5 Lake Boone Trail Rex Hospital
6 Ridge Road  
7 US 70/NC 50 (Glenwood Avenue) Durham, Benson, Creedmoor, Crabtree Valley Mall
8 Six Forks Road North Hills, North Raleigh
10 Wake Forest Road  
11 A-B US 1 North/US 401 (Capital Boulevard) Wake Forest, Henderson, Louisburg, Downtown Raleigh
12 East Yonkers Road  
12 West Brentwood Road  
13 A New Bern Avenue Downtown Raleigh
13 B Business US 64 East (New Bern Avenue) Knightdale, Wendell
14 I-87 North/US 64 East/US 264 (Knightdale Bypass) Knightdale, Wilson, Rocky Mount
15 Poole Road  
16 I-40/US 64 West/End I-87 Raleigh, Durham, Wilmington

Projects

In 2019, NCDOT will begin construction on a $93 million project that will widen I-440 from Walnut Street in Cary to Wade Avenue in Raleigh to six lanes. Completed in 1960, it is the oldest section of the beltway and is the last remaining section of I-440 to carry the original four lanes of traffic. The project will upgrade this notorious section of the Beltline to modern Interstate standards, which includes widening the shoulders, installing sound walls at nearby neighborhoods, and reconstructing several interchanges along the route, most notably at Western Boulevard, which features a left-lane entrance ramp, as well as building flyover ramps between the Hillsborough Street and Wade Avenue interchanges. Construction work is expected to last four years.

Other improvements include installing an interchange at Crabtree Valley Avenue and modifying the Glenwood Avenue exit, redesigning the Wake Forest Road exit as a diverging diamond interchange, and making improvements to the Capital Boulevard interchange.

See Also

I-40 - I-440's parent route

I-540/NC 540 - Raleigh's Outer Loop

I-87 - Raleigh's newest Interstate