GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Travel just got easier for those coming through Eastern North Carolina.
After years in the making, Greenville officially has an interstate highway, named Interstate 587. The North Carolina Department of Transportation unveiled new signage that will go up along the 37-mile stretch in Pitt, Greene and Wilson counties. Officials say that bringing US 264 up to interstate standards was a long time coming.
“When you start out, we had 264, then it was a two-lane, and then we made it into a four-lane, and then after that, we were able to get funding to take out all the intersections and make interchanges so that you don’t have any driveway access to the road. So once you get that, you get what we call an expressway, so it was up to interstate standards,” said Jeff Cabaniss, the Division 2 engineer for the NCDOT.
Once it meets interstate standards it’s up to the Federal Highways to grant interstate status. District 9 State Rep. Brian Farkas and Greenville Mayor PJ Connelly both said this change impacts everyone.
“Businesses drive on our roads, vacationers travel on our roads, and citizens use these roads and our bridges to move their goods and products to market,” said Farkas.
“Somebody that might be overseas, that might be looking at having a presence in the United States, they may not know anything about Eastern North Carolina and the fact that we did not have an interstate that ran to Pitt County. We were automatically disqualified from that list,” said Connelly.
At least 900 signs will be replaced over time, and some of the bigger signs will take longer to be replaced due to a shortage of raw materials, officials said.