I-40 craziness in Greensboro

I’m a transit nerd.  I like learning about roads, bridges, highways, trains, neighborhoods, and all sorts of elements of history of cities.  In Greensboro, there is a part of I-40 that is just ridiculous.  I-40, along with I-85, used to go through downtown Greensboro, through a section that they call Death Valley.  They decided to build a road that goes around the city instead of through it, called the Urban Loop, and they routed I-40 and I-85 around the city instead of through it.  They renamed the Death Valley route Business I-40 and Business I-85, and that was supposed to have been that.

Except that the people who lived around the Urban Loop complained about the noise that the two highways brought in.  This is out in the suburbs, so the people there have the money to complain.  After a couple of months, the NC DOT decided to route I-40 back through the Death Valley route, but leave I-85 out on its new route on the Urban Loop.  Now, part of this reasoning was pragmatic: without a real interstate on the Death Valley route, it lost all of its federal upkeep money.

But while the change back was happening, its led to some weird routage.  I first noticed this when I was driving to Virginia, and the I-40 route I took while going west went through Death Valley, and the I-40 route I took east went on the Urban Loop.  I didn’t know the names at the time, I was just really confused that the signs told me to take one route west and one route east.  They’ve been in the process of resigning basically even since I moved to North Carolina, and they’re supposed to be done round about now.  Its just an interesting process, and kinda weird that its taken it almost a year to change all of the signs to reroute I-40 back through downtown Greensboro.

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