Interstate 277 (North Carolina)

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Interstate 277

Brookshire Freeway
John Belk Freeway
I-277 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-77
Maintained by NCDOT
Length4.41 mi[1][2][3] (7.10 km)
Existed1981–present
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-77 / US 21 / US 74 / NC 27
Major intersections
North end I-77 / US 21 / NC 16
Location
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesMecklenburg
Highway system
US 276 NC 279

Interstate 277 (I-277) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway in the US state of North Carolina. It serves as a 4.41-mile (7.10 km) partial loop around Uptown Charlotte.

Route description

Starting at the exit 9 interchange on I-77/US 21, the route begins in concurrency with US 74/NC 27 as it goes counter-clockwise around Uptown Charlotte. Known as the John Belk Freeway, this section of the interstate is above-grade at both ends, but below-grade of local streets in the middle, with office and residential buildings flanking both sides. At mile marker 1.6, the freeway turns from a southeasterly to northeasterly direction. At approximately the midpoint of the route, the freeway splits two-lanes left to continue along I-277/NC 16 via the Brookshire Freeway and two-lanes right to continue along US 74/NC 27 via the Independence Expressway/Boulevard. At mile marker 2.8, the freeway turns from a northeasterly to northwesterly direction. The Brookshire Freeway is mostly above-grade with a viaduct over a diamond crossing of CSX and Norfolk Southern. The route ends at the exit 11 interchange on I-77/US 21, with NC 16 (Brookshire Freeway/Boulevard) continuing northwesterly towards I-85.

I-277 is signed both north–south and with inner–outer directions. Lane counts vary from six to eight, with a posted speed limit mostly throughout at 50 mph (80 km/h). The interstate is one of three partial/full ring roads serving the city, the other two being Charlotte Route 4 and I-485.

History

Northwest Expressway / Brookshire Freeway

As part of the urban renewal plans of both Greenville and First Ward in the 1960s, the Northwest Expressway was a proposed freeway from Bellhaven Boulevard, east of I-85, to Independence Boulevard, east of Central Avenue, removing cross-through traffic in Uptown Charlotte.[4][5] The first segment of the Northwest Expressway opened by 1968, from Graham Street to Central Avenue and had no interchanges.[6][7] By 1970, interchanges for Tryon Street to Davidson Street were added.[8] By 1971, the freeway was extended east from Central Avenue to Independence Boulevard with an interchange and connector south to Trade Street.[9] By 1972, a western segment of the Northwest Expressway opened between Bellhaven Boulevard to newly constructed I-77; and by 1973, the gap between I-77 and Graham Street was constructed, completing the Northwest Expressway.[10][11] On August 1, 1974, NCDOT rerouted NC 16 onto the Northwest Expressway, from Bellhaven Boulevard to Graham Street.[12] On September 8, 1975, the Northwest Expressway was renamed to Brookshire Freeway, in honor of Stan Brookshire, Mayor of Charlotte from 1961–1969.[13]

John Belk Freeway

A freeway removing cross-through traffic along Independence Boulevard through Uptown Charlotte was first proposed during the 1960s urban renewal of Brooklyn/Second Ward. In June 1978, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the designation of I-277 for the yet name freeway, that would begin at the intersection of I-77 and US 74, travel counter-clockwise around Uptown Charlotte, and onto Brookshire Freeway, to end at the intersection of I-77 and NC 16.[14] That same year, the interchange with Central Avenue was permanently closed and the interchange and connector to Trade Street was closed for reconstruction.[15][16] On September 11, 1981, the new freeway was named the John Belk Freeway, in honor of John M. Belk, businessperson and Mayor of Charlotte from 1969–1977.[13] The first segment of the John Belk Freeway opened sometime between 1982 and 1984, it followed the former connector from the Brookshire Freeway south to 3rd/4th streets and Independence Boulevard. It is around this time signage for I-277 appeared on both the John Belk and Brookshire freeways; also in 1982, NC 16 was rerouted from Graham Street to 3rd and 4th streets, eliminating its former alignment along Graham, Trade, Elizabeth, and Hawthorne.[17][18]

By 1988, the rest of the John Belk Freeway was completed from the I-77/US 21 and US 74 interchange to 3rd/4th streets and Independence Boulevard; this included a new interchange (exit 1E) for College Street and Independence Boulevard (the later becoming an extension of South Boulevard) and a reconfiguration of Independence Boulevard immediately exiting at exit 1D from I-77 (later becoming Carson Boulevard).[19] In 1990, US 74 was rerouted into a concurrency with I-277 along the John Belk Freeway from exit 1D to exit 2B; Independence Boulevard through Uptown Charlotte was eventually renamed at various sections by either extensions of other existing roads or renamed entirely.[20][21]

21st century

I-277, as well as parts of I-77 and I-85, was notorious for being dark at night because its streetlights were not in working order.[22] There were many different plans to replace the streetlights on this freeway, most of which had been in place since the early 1970s. A proposal to replace the streetlights with solar power was denied in 2007 because these lights weren't deemed bright enough (however, two solar-powered streetlights were operating on I-77 at the LaSalle Street exit until November 2007 and mounted on the same poles as their older counterparts but halfway down), so new electric-powered high-pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights would have to be installed instead. A relighting project finally got underway in October 2008, which involved setting up new light towers at the Independence Boulevard and I-77 exits, as well as installating new lights and removing the old nonworking ones on the Brookshire portion of the Interstate. This project was completed by the spring of 2009.[23] A similar project was also done for the Belk portion of the Interstate. In addition, highly reflective signs were also installed on the entire loop to give drivers better vision at night without the aid of additional lighting. In 2018, new LED high-masts were installed at the southern I-77, South Boulevard, and Independence Boulevard interchanges, as part of a statewide conversion project; as of 2019, the HPS lights on both I-277 and the Independence Expressway approach have been replaced with LED.[24]

In April 2010, the new color-coded attraction guide signs were added along I-77 and I-277 to help visitors reach popular destinations, including: Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame among others.

On September 1, 2019, the inner lanes of I-277 and their associated ramps were closed to vehicles for the first time, as part of a route for the city's inaugural Around the Crown 10K marathon that took place entirely in Uptown Charlotte. The runners raced counterclockwise on the Interstate between the Hill Street onramp to the Belk and the 11th Street offramp from the Brookshire.[25]

In November 2019, as part of the I-77 Express Lanes project, new entrance/exit ramps connecting the Brookshire Freeway were officially opened since construction began to reconfigure the exit 5 interchange in 2018. The two new flyover ramps connect directly to the Express Lanes that traverse north towards Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, and Mooresville. The project also made modifications to the existing interchange ramps, which included reconstruction of an existing flyover from I-277/NC 16 north onto I-77/US 21 south.[26][27][28]

In 2021, NC 27 was rerouted onto the John Belk Freeway between Freedom Drive and Independence Expressway; its former alignment along Morehead, McDowell, and 7th Street were transitioned to secondary roads.[29]

Exit list

I-277/US 74 directional signs at South Boulevard and Stonewall Street; note the "North/South" and "Inner/Outer" banners being displayed concurrently
Typical overhead sign and milemarker along Brookshire Freeway

The entire route is in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County.

mi[3]kmExitDestinationsNotes
0.00.0
US 74 west (Wilkinson Boulevard)
Continuation as US 74
1A

NC 27 west to US 29 / Freedom Drive
West end of NC 27 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance
0.10.161B

I-77 south / US 21 south – Columbia
1C

I-77 north / US 21 north – Statesville
0.60.971DCarson BoulevardNorthbound exit and entrance only
1.01.61ENorthbound: College Street, South Boulevard, Caldwell Street
Southbound: Brooklyn Village Avenue, Kenilworth Avenue, South Boulevard, Caldwell Street
Brooklyn Village Avenue was known as Stonewall Street until 2021
1.93.12A
NC 16 south (Third Street / Fourth Street) / Kenilworth Avenue
South end of NC 16 overlap
2.74.32B

US 74 east / NC 27 east (Independence Expressway)
East end of US 74 and NC 27 overlap; semi-directional T interchange
3.25.13ANorthbound: Twelfth Street, Davidson Street, Brevard Street, Tryon Street
Southbound: Brevard Street, Davidson Street, McDowell Street
3.65.83BNorthbound:

To US 29 / NC 49 (Graham Street) / Church Street
Southbound: Eleventh Street, Church Street, Tryon Street
To AvidxChange Music Factory
3.86.14 US 29 / NC 49 (Graham Street)Southbound exit and northbound entrance
4.47.15A



I-77 north / US 21 north to I-85 north – Statesville
5B
I-77 north (Express Lanes)
Northbound exit and southbound entrance of HOV3+/toll lanes
5C

I-77 south / US 21 south – Columbia
Northbound left exit



NC 16 north (Brookshire Freeway) to I-85 south
Continuation as NC 16
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

== See also ==* Bank of America Corporate Center

References

  1. ^ "FHWA Route Log and Finder List – Interstate Highway System – National Highway System – Planning – FHWA". www.fhwa.dot.gov. Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "Table 2 – Auxiliary Routes – FHWA Route Log and Finder List – Interstate Highway System – National Highway System – Planning – FHWA". www.fhwa.dot.gov. Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Google (January 22, 2012). "Interstate 277" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "Greenville - Historic Charlotte Neighborhoods". University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  5. ^ Charlottte, First Ward Urban Renewal. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. 1973. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  6. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1967). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  7. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1968). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  8. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1970). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  9. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1971). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  10. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1972). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  11. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1973). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  12. ^ "NC Route Changes (1974-08-01)" (PDF). North Carolina State Highway Commission. August 1, 1974. Retrieved February 2, 2023.
  13. ^ a b "North Carolina Memorial Highways and other Named Facilities" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 19, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  14. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (June 29, 1978). "Route Numbering Committee Agenda Showing Action Taken by the Executive Committee" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Retrieved February 3, 2023 – via Wikimedia Commons.
  15. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1977). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  16. ^ North Carolina State Highway Commission (1978). North Carolina Official Highway Map (Map). Raleigh: North Carolina State Highway Commission. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  17. ^ North Carolina Transportation Map 1984-85 (Map). Cartography by NCDOT. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Transportation. 1984. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  18. ^ "NC Route Changes (1982-01-01)" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. January 1, 1982. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  19. ^ North Carolina Transportation Map 1988 (Map). Cartography by NCDOT. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Transportation. 1988. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  20. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (June 4, 1990). "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering to the Executive Committee" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  21. ^ "US Route Changes (1990-08-10)" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. August 10, 1990. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  22. ^ "State DOT To Test Solar-Powered Street Lights On I-277". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  23. ^ "News 14 Carolina: "After 5 years, drivers on I-277 are no longer in the dark"". Archived from the original on June 23, 2022. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  24. ^ "NCDOT installing new LED light fixtures on major interstates". Raleigh, NC: WRAL-TV. July 24, 2017. Archived from the original on October 8, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  25. ^ "Nearly 5,000 runners hit I-277 for Charlotte's Around the Crown 10K". Charlotte, North Carolina: WBTV. September 1, 2019. Archived from the original on September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  26. ^ Boraks, David (February 12, 2019). "New I-277 Ramp To I-77 Opens After 4-Month Detour". WFAE. Retrieved February 5, 2023.
  27. ^ Marusak, Joe (May 31, 2019). "First part of I-77 toll lanes finally opened Saturday. Here's what you need to know". The Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  28. ^ Hagerty, Anne Marie (November 18, 2019). "Final stretch of I-77 Express now open, toll lane construction completed". Charlotte, North Carolina: WBTV-TV. Archived from the original on December 10, 2019. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  29. ^ Lesh, Erin (November 17, 2021). "2021 District 2 Road System Changes". Letter to Brett D. Canipe. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. HTO_060_09-21.

External links