According to Biotionary, US 64 is a US Highway in the US state of North Carolina. The road forms a long east-west link from the western tip of the state to the easternmost tip of the state for 972 kilometers. The largest city on the route is the state capital Raleigh. The route is a motorway on several sections.
Western North Carolina
US 64 at Lexington.
The road begins double -numbered with US 74 west of Ranger at the Tennessee border. The road then continues as a 2×2 trunk road to Murphy, where US 74 heads northeast while US 64 continues east through the Appalachian Mountains. You pass mainly small towns and the road now and then has 2×2 lanes. The distances are quite large here, it is more than 200 kilometers from Tennessee to the first highway that one crosses, the Interstate 26 at Hendersonville. I-26 runs from Asheville to Spartanburg and Columbia. US 64 then winds through the state, alternating north and east. This portion of US 64 is a minor through route due to its proximity to I-40 and I-85. At Morgantown, one crosses Interstate 40, the highway from Knoxville and Asheville to Winston-Salem and Greensboro. After that, US 64 continues a little further north and crosses US 321 at Lenoir, the main road from Boone to Hickory.
Then US 64 runs east and at Statesville it crosses Interstate 77, the highway from Charlotte to Cleveland. Thereafter, US 64 crosses I-40 several times before turning southeast to Lexington, where it intersects US 52 and Interstate 85, which runs from Charlotte to Durham. It passes south of the Piedmont Triad conurbation, which consists of Winston-Salem and Greensboro. US 64 then continues southeast and crosses Interstate 73. at Asheboro, the highway from Greensboro to Rockingham. Then US 64 runs east and has 2×2 lanes but is not a highway. At Siler City, you cross US 421, the road from Greensboro to Wilmington on the Atlantic Ocean. After that, US 64 forms its first freeway stretch around Pittsburg, a small town.
Eastern North Carolina
The Washington Baum Bridge at Nags Head.
You then reach the agglomeration of Raleigh, where you first pass through the suburb of Cary, the largest suburb. US 64 then runs double-numbered over a number of highways in the metropolitan area of Raleigh, first US 1, then Interstate 40 and a bit over Interstate 440. On the east side of Raleigh, US 64 is the city’s eastern approach and US 64 is a 155-mile highway. At Zebulon, US 264 exits, a highway to Wilson and Greenville. Both roads converge in eastern North Carolina. US 64 then heads northeast and crosses Interstate 95 at the town of Rocky Mount, the highway from Fayetteville to Richmond and Washington. It then traverses a somewhat urbanized corridor along US 64. The freeway section lasts until Williamston, after which US 64 forms a main road with 2×2 lanes. One then enters the coastal region of North Carolina, which is formed by lagoons, swamps and peninsulas. From Plymouth to Columbia, US 64 again forms a 42-kilometer highway. This area is considerably less populated and the road is becoming quieter as you drive all the way to the end of the mainland. US 64 then continues to the “Outer Banks” of North Carolina, a row of sandbanks off the coast of the state. Here US 264 rejoins US 64 and the road ends after that.
The Bridal Veil Falls along US 64 at Highlands.
US 64 was created slightly later than the beginning of the US Highway system, namely in 1932. The route of US 64 has been modified several times in history. A major change followed in 1988 in western North Carolina, where US 64 was rerouted between Morganton and Statesville on a new northbound route. The old, more direct route became US 70. For a long time, the eastern terminus of US 64 was Fort Landing on the Alligator River. In 1951, US 64 was extended to Nags Head on the coast, with the opening of a ferry service at Fort Landing. Also, several parts of US 64 have been upgraded to 2×2 lanes, with a highway on several stretches.
US 64 has been upgraded to a limited extent in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. In 1974, a bypass of the town of Franklin opened to traffic. Presumably in the late 1970s and 1980s, a fairly long stretch of US 64 between the Tennessee and Murphy border was widened into a 2×2 divided highway. In 1979 Murphy’s diversion opened. In 2010, a new single-lane route of US 64 between Murphy and Brasstown, a 7-mile new road, opened, the old route has since been numbered NC-141.
Between Murphy and Franklin, US 64 runs over an approximately 1,170-meter high mountain pass, also known as the Black Gap. Between Franklin and Brevard, US 64 crosses the 1,280-foot Cowee Gap, the highest point of US 64 in North Carolina.
Morganton – Statesville
US 64 originally ran directly between Morganton and Statesville, a route of 80 kilometers. In 1988, US 64 was rerouted to the north via Lenoir and Taylorsville. This route is 95 kilometers long. The old route parallel to I-40 has since been numbered only as US 70. Significant upgrades have been made to the new route. In the early to mid-1990s, a 30-kilometer-long new route of US 64 was constructed between Taylorsville and Statesville.
Lexington – Raleigh
In 1949, the Lexington diversion opened to traffic, which is part of several US Highways and has also been crossed by the ‘Temporary I-85’ in the past. Various connections of the Lexington diversion were reconstructed in the period 2013-2018.
Between Lexington and Raleigh, a large part of the route has been upgraded to a 2×2 divided highway, mostly with at-grade intersections, but some parts have been upgraded with highway features. In the late 1990s, US 64 between Siler City and Pittsboro was widened to 2×2 lanes. In 2005 a diversion opened around Pittsboro, this section is designed as a freeway with grade separated connections.
Originally only the bridge over Jordan Lake had 2×2 lanes, west and east of it the road narrowed to single lane. In the second half of the 1990s, US 64 was completely widened here to 2×2 lanes between Pittsboro and Apex. Apex has since grown into a large suburb of Raleigh. In 2012, the interchange with State Route 540 on the west side of Apex opened to traffic.
On June 30, 2016, work began on the 23-kilometer Asheboro bypass. This bypass has been constructed 2×2 lanes and is completely grade separated. The project cost $335 million and the highway opened to traffic on December 18, 2020.
Raleigh – Rocky Mount
The freeway between Knightdale near Raleigh and Nashville was built in the 1970s. The Nashville diversion and interchange with I-95 opened in the 1980s. In July 2005, the highway east of Raleigh along Knightsville was opened, also opening up the city eastward by highway. This part was 18 kilometers long. This stretch later gained Interstate Highway status, first as I-495 in 2014 and then as Interstate 87 in 2017.
Rocky Mount – Williamston
In 1984, the Rocky Mount freeway bypass opened to traffic. The highway was built further east in the 1990s, past Tarboro and up to Williamston. The section between Rocky Mount and Tarboro opened in the mid 1990s. In 1997, a 30-mile stretch of freeway opened from Tarboro to Williamston.
Williamston – Nags Head
In eastern North Carolina, US 64 has several long bridges. In 1955, the 4.3-kilometer William B. Umstead Bridge at Manns Harbor opened to traffic. It was bypassed in 2002 by the 8.4-mile Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge, North Carolina’s longest bridge. In 1960, the Lindsay C. Warren Bridge opened over the Alligator River Bridge. This is a low bridge with a swing bridge in the middle and replaced a ferry service from 1951. In 2018 this bridge was renovated. In 1994, the Washington Baum Bridge opened between Manteo and Nags Head. This replaced a 1962 bridge.
In eastern North Carolina, a 40-kilometer stretch of freeway has also been constructed between Plymouth and Columbia, in the lowlands of Washington and Tyrell Counties. This freeway opened in 2003. This replaced an older section that was twisty and low-grade. The freeway also makes hurricane evacuations from shore easier.
The stretch through the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina largely employs around 3,000 to 4,000 vehicles per day, with somewhat higher intensities at the regional locations. On the section between I-26 and I-40, there are usually around 2,500 vehicles per day, the part further to Lenoir is somewhat busier with 8,000 vehicles per day. After that, 3,000 to 6,000 vehicles usually drive parallel to I-40 to Mocksville. After that, 8,000 vehicles drive to Lexington and 10,000 vehicles between Lexington and Asheboro.
In central North Carolina is a somewhat busier stretch between Asheboro and the Raleigh region, where intensities are between 15,000 and 20,000 vehicles per day, rising to a maximum of 45,000 vehicles through Apex, a suburb of Raleigh. The highway stretch that coincides with US 1 between Apex and I-40 near Raleigh has more than 100,000 vehicles per day. East of Raleigh, intensities drop from 80,000 to 50,000 vehicles at Zebulon and then 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles to I-95 at Rocky Mount.
In eastern North Carolina, 40,000 vehicles drive past Rocky Mount and 20,000 vehicles as far as Tarboro. Traffic volumes then gradually drop to about 8,000 vehicles at Williamston. The easternmost part from Williamston to Nags Head usually has between 4,000 and 8,000 vehicles per day.