U.S. 70 is one of the primary east-west corridors across eastern North Carolina. It is a major connection between Raleigh, Smithfield, Goldsboro, Kinston, Havelock and the Port of Morehead City.
The corridor is heavily used for moving freight, and is just a few miles south of the
North Carolina Global TransPark. It also provides vital connections to two military bases just off the highway.
The corridor is also a major hurricane evacuation route, and a popular way for travelers to reach the Crystal Coast beaches during the summer. Traffic volumes vary along the corridor but are highest around Clayton and Goldsboro.
The U.S. 70 Corridor plays an important role as part of the
National Highway System and the
Strategic Highway Network. It's also a
North Carolina Strategic Transportation Corridor and is an important link to and from rural areas.
In 2016, the N.C. Department of Transportation received conditional approval from the American Association of State and Transportation Officials to designate U.S. 70 between Raleigh and Morehead City as the future Interstate 42. The route must be upgraded to interstate standards first.
On March 7, 2022, the Federal Highway Administration granted NCDOT approval to designate a 10-mile segment of U.S. 70 in Johnston County and a 22-mile segment of U.S. 70 in Wayne and Lenoir counties as Interstate 42, because they meet interstate standards. The new I-42 signs are expected to be installed later in 2022.
Corridor Improvement Projects
The N.C. Department of Transportation is working to improve passenger and freight movement along the U.S. 70 Corridor from Raleigh to the Port of Morehead City.
Several highway improvement projects along the corridor are either being studied, in development, or under construction.