North Carolina Highway 55

From the AARoads Wiki: Read about the road before you go
Jump to navigation Jump to search

North Carolina Highway 55

Route of NC 55 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NCDOT
Length193.0 mi (310.6 km)
Major junctions
West end
US 501 Bus. in Durham
Major intersections
East endOriental Road in Oriental
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesDurham, Wake, Harnett, Sampson, Johnston, Wayne, Lenoir, Craven, Pamilico
Highway system
NC 54 NC 56

North Carolina Highway 55 (NC 55) is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It serves as a traffic artery connecting Durham with Cary and numerous small cities and towns in The Triangle on its way toward the Pamlico Sound. A portion of NC 55 extends through Research Triangle Park. NC 55 is a major artery in the central part of The Triangle region, and is a four lane, divided highway between Durham and Cary and Apex. NC 55 is also a divided highway between Apex and Fuquay-Varina.

Route description

Although NC 55 is signed east–west, the route itself is more "L" shaped. Between Durham and Erwin, the eastbound direction physically heads south and westbound is physically north. After Erwin to its eastern terminus, the route follows a more directly eastward routing.

The western terminus is at US 501 Business (North Roxboro Street) just north of I-85. Here the road is locally known as Avondale Dr. Eastbound NC 55 heads south through Durham, leaving Avondale Dr. on a short connector road to join North Alston Ave. NC 55 stays on Alston Avenue, crossing NC 147 (Durham Freeway) and passing North Carolina Central University. After NC Central, the NC 55 leaves Alston Avenue. Locally it is signed south of this point as just "NC 55" but it carries a secondary designation as Apex Highway. As it passes through the western side of Research Triangle Park, it crosses first I-40, then NC 54, and the toll NC 540 as it leaves Durham County and enters Wake County.

Passing near the center of the unincorporated village of Carpenter, eastbound NC 55 goes southbound along the western edges of Morrisville and Cary. In Apex, it crosses US 64 near the large Beaver Creek Shopping center, and goes south of downtown Apex along Williams Street. Leaving Apex southbound, the road crosses US 1 before it splits into a business route (the original highway) and bypass route around the town of Holly Springs (as of October 3, 2019, NC 55 is officially routed along the Bypass route, the NC 55 route through town is now designated as SR 6107).[2] Extensive reconstruction of the roadway in this area, widened in anticipation of higher traffic volumes from NC 540 and construction in Apex and Cary, was completed in 2007. NC 55 is a major highway in western Wake County and is a direct link connecting the Triangle cities of Durham and Cary via the Research Triangle Park. Next, NC 55 enters the town of Fuquay-Varina, forming the main road through the Varina Commercial Historic District. After Varina, the highway joins NC 42 and US 401 as a three way concurrency crossing the north side of Fuquay, with eastbound NC 55 heading east through this area, before splitting off at the eastern edge of the town at the "Five Points" junction. Here, eastbound NC 55 goes due south through the unincorporated community of Kennebec leaving Wake County.

Entering Harnett County, eastbound NC 55 still continues in a primarily south/southeast direction, forming the main north-south routes through the center of the towns of Angier and Coats. Between Angier and Coats, traffic heading for Buies Creek and Campbell University would leave NC 55 at either Oak Grove Church Road or NC 27. Southeast of Coats, NC 55 passes through the sparsely populated unincorporated community of Turlington before joining US 421 and entering the town of Erwin. While the roadway that carries NC 55 continues through Erwin as NC 217, NC 55 itself joins US 421. The two highways cross into the city of Dunn together; shortly after a junction with I-95, NC 55 leaves US 421 and enters Sampson County. From the joining US 421 in Erwin, the eastbound route to its eastern terminus now follows a more directly eastern route.

NC 55 roughly follows the northern boundary of Sampson County, crossing several times between Sampson and Johnston County, joining NC 50 as the main east–west route through the town of Newton Grove. NC 55/NC 50 split at the border of Wayne County, with NC 55 heading eastward past the northern edge of the college town of Mount Olive, also known for the Mount Olive Pickle Company. NC 55 passes through the town of Seven Springs before turning to the northeast to enter the city of Kinston in Lenoir County.

East of Kinston, NC 55 takes a winding path, roughly following the Neuse River to its mouth at New Bern, crossing at the Neuse and Trent rivers along a bridge concurrent with US 17 and US 70. East of New Bern, NC 55 forms the main east–west route through Pamlico County, passing through several small towns including the county seat of Bayboro. East of Bayboro, the road curves to the southeast and south before ending at the Pamlico Sound in Oriental.[1]


NC 55 was first routed from NC 50 and US 1 (current US 1A) in Franklinton to Durham. In 1930 maps showed that NC 91 had replaced NC 55 route from Franklinton to Durham and instead NC 55 took the place of NC 13 north of Durham to the Virginia state line. In 1932 NC 55 was extended south through Apex and Holly Springs. The road then turned east to go to US 401 and NC 21 in Cardenas. NC 55 then replaced NC 210 through Angier and Erwin. It then ended at US 301 and NC 22 in Godwin. In 1934 NC 55 was removed from its routing north of Durham and US 501 got the route. At the same time that year NC 55 was routed east along US 421 from Erwin to Dunn then as a new primary route to Newton Grove (near present-day I-40). Then it would replace US 117 through Mount Olive and Kinston and then ended at US 70 in Jasper. The route from Erwin to Godwin became NC 82. In 1938, NC 55 was rerouted further east through Tuscarora and ended at US 70 in Clark. In 1940, NC 55 was rerouted from Mount Olive to Seven Springs which is its current routing. Also that year NC 55 was routed from Jasper to New Bern then crossed the Neuse River along with US 17. The same year was extended along NC 302 from Bridgetown to Oriental. NC 302 was dissolved. In 1941 US 70 and NC 55 "swapped" routes from Kinston to Clarks. In 1948, NC 55 was rerouted along new primary routing to avoid an overlap with US 64. The old route became NC 751. Between the years of 1958 and 1962, NC 55 was rerouted along the north side of Mount Olive.

North Carolina Highway 117

North Carolina Highway 117

LocationNewton GroveJasper
Length114.7 mi[3] (184.6 km)

North Carolina Highway 117 (NC 117) was established in 1931 as a new primary spur from US 70/NC 10, in Jasper, to Dover. In 1932, NC 117 was extended west on new routing through Kinston and Mount Olive, before ending at NC 102, in Newton Grove. In 1934, NC 117 was decommissioned in favor of NC 55 extension.[4]

North Carolina Highway 302

North Carolina Highway 302

Length25.9 mi (41.7 km)

North Carolina Highway 302 (NC 302) was an original state highway that traversed from NC 30, in Bridgeton, east to Bayboro. In 1922, it was extended east to Oriental. In 1940, NC 302 was renumbered as NC 55.

Major intersections

US 501 Bus. (Roxboro Street)
Western terminus
0.20.32 I-85 / US 15 / US 70 – Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Oxford, RaleighDiamond interchange; exit 177 on I-85
US 70 Bus. / NC 98 (Holloway Street) – Wake Forest, Youngsville
2.54.0 NC 147 (East-West Expressway) – MorrisvilleDiamond interchange
7.812.6 I-40 (John Motley Morehead III Freeway) – Greensboro, WilmingtonPartial cloverleaf interchange; exit 278 on I-40
8.213.2 NC 54 (Nelson Chapel Hill Highway) – Chapel Hill, Raleigh

NC 540 Toll (Triangle Expressway) to I-540 – Raleigh
Exit 66A-B on NC 540
Apex19.431.2 US 64 – Pittsboro, CaryPartial cloverleaf interchange
22.536.2 US 1 (Claude E. Pope Memorial Highway) – Moncure, Wake ForestDiamond interchange

NC 540 Toll north – Triangle Expressway
Temporary southern terminus of NC 540; exits 54A–B on NC 540

US 401 south / NC 42 west (Main Street) – Lillington, Sanford
West end of concurrency with US 401 and NC 42
US 401 north (Main Street) – Garner, Raleigh
East end of concurrency with US 401
NC 42 east – Clayton, Wilson
East end of concurrency with NC 42
HarnettAngier40.965.8 NC 210 (Depot Street) – Lillington, Smithfield
Coats48.978.7 NC 27 (Stewart Street) – Lillington, Benson

US 421 north (Jackson Boulevard) / NC 82 east (13th Street) – Sanford, Godwin
West end of concurrency with US 421; western terminus of NC 82
Dunn58.894.6 US 301 (Clinton Avenue) – Eastover, Benson
59.595.8 I-95 – Fayetteville, Rocky MountDiamond interchange; exit 73 on I-95
US 421 south (Cumberland Street) – Clinton
East end of concurrency with US 421
Sampson66.5107.0 NC 242 (Benson Highway) – Salemburg, Benson
JohnstonNo major intersections
SampsonNewton Grove69.0111.0
NC 96 north – Selma
Southern terminus of NC 96
NC 50 north (Johnston Highway) – Benson
West end of concurrency with NC 50
73.3118.0 I-40 – Raleigh, WilmingtonDiamond interchange; exit 341 on I-40
74.6120.1 US 13 (Fayetteville Highway) / US 701 (Clinton and Main streets) – Eastover, Goldsboro, Clinton, Four OaksSix-way intersection with a traffic roundabout
NC 50 south (Julius Sutton Highway) – Faison
East end of concurrency with NC 50
WayneMount Olive92.0148.1 US 117 – Calypso, GoldsboroDiamond interchange
US 117 Alt. (Breazeale Avenue)
NC 403 west (Williams X Road) – Faison
Eastern terminus of NC 403
Hines Crossroads103.0165.8 NC 111 – Beulaville, Goldsboro
Lenoir107.7173.3 NC 903 – Kenansville, La Grange
Parrott Fork118.5190.7
NC 11 south – Pink Hill
West end of concurrency with NC 11
Kinston122.0196.3 US 70 / US 258 (New Bern Road) – La Grange, Snow Hill, New Bern, Richlands
123.3198.4 US 70 / US 258 / NC 58 (Queen Street) – Cape Carteret, Snow Hill
NC 11 north – Grifton
East end of concurrency with NC 11
CravenNew Bern158.6255.2 NC 43 (Washington Post Road) – Vanceboro, Greenville

US 70 Bus. west (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard)
West end of concurrency with US 70 Bus.

US 70 Bus. east (Broad Street)
East end of concurrency with Business US 70

US 17 south / US 70 west – Dover, Pollocksville
West end of concurrency with US 17/US 70; partial diamond interchange
James City164.2264.3

US 70 east / US 70 Bus. west – Havelock
East end of concurrency with US 70; eastern terminus of Business US 70; partial cloverleaf interchange
US 17 north (D Street) – Vanceboro
East end of concurrency with US 17
PamlicoGrantsboro178.0286.5 NC 306 (Point Road) – Arapahoe, Aurora
NC 304 east (Vandemere Road) – Vandemere
Southern terminus of NC 304
Oriental193.0310.6Oriental RoadEastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Special routes

Former Holly Springs Bypass

By-pass plate.svg

North Carolina Highway 55 Bypass

LocationHolly Springs, North Carolina
Length4.4 mi[5] (7.1 km)

North Carolina Highway 55 Bypass (NC 55 By-pass) was established in 2002 as a new primary route that bypass west of Holly Springs. Usually, the old alignment would become a business loop, but instead the NC 55 mainline remained unchanged. The bypass was built as an expressway, that is semi-controlled and superstreet intersections; it also has a full interchange with NC 540.[6][7] On October 3, 2019 NCDOT officially placed NC 55 on the Bypass, the route through the city was designated as SR 6107.[8]

Bridgeton alternate spur

North Carolina Highway 55A

LocationBridgeton, North Carolina
Length0.15 mi (240 m)

North Carolina Highway 55 Alternate (NC 55A) was established around 1950-1953 as a renumbering of a piece of mainline NC 55 in Bridgeton. It was created thanks to a new bridge carrying US 17/NC 55 over the Neuse River and a spur was needed to be made to connect each highway. Between 1958-1962, this short road was downgraded to a secondary road; today it no longer exists.

See also


  1. ^ a b NCRoads - NC 55 Archived January 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Route Changes, Division 5, Wake County, North Carolina Department of Transportation, Certificate if Rule Making, October 3, 2019, p. 7. Downloaded from:, Oct. 14, 2019
  3. ^ Google (June 28, 2014). "North Carolina Highway 117" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  4. ^ North Carolina Primary Highway System (PDF) (Map). Cartography by NCDOT. North Carolina Department of Transportation. 1940. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  5. ^ Google (November 23, 2013). "NC 55 Bypass - Holly Springs" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  6. ^ Wake County - Sheet 4 of 9 (PDF) (Map). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 23, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Wake County - Sheet 6 of 9 (PDF) (Map). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 23, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Certificate of Rulemaking, October 3, 2019" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 14, 2019.

External links