Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Atlside

What North Carolina metro area has the best grand entry in to their area via freeway?

50 posts in this topic

Discuss the most interesting grand freeway entries into North Carolina's metro areas via the Interstate system. Meaning when does it start to feel and look like you are entering a major metropolitan area.

Please keep in mind that this is tread is not meant to be a better than yours topic. It is simply a discussion topic to talk about grand entries into metro areas via freeways.

Example: Atlanta's grand entry into the metro is south bound I-85 on the northeast side near US 316 in Gwinnett County. This is where I-85 becomes huge. Atlanta's I-75 on the northwest side get huge too, southbound after I-575. But, the I-85 entry into the urban metro is where you can really tell Atlanta is huge. This is where you're later greated by the Spaghetti Junction massive interchange with I-285.

Entry into the Raleigh-Durham metro area via I-85/I-40 is grand. But, the freeway loses its grand urban impact after the split. I-85 becomes massive right after the interchange with the Durham Freeway.

47.jpg

Durham entry

i-085_nb_exit_172_04.jpg

A nice entry now to Durham is on the newly finished widened I-85 southbound into Durham from Virginia at US 70 interchange. No photo of this one.

But, this is that interchange during construction but, looking northbound instead of southbound.

i-085_nb_exit_178_03.jpg

Raleigh entry

i40-bridge4.jpg

i-040_eb_exit_289_01.jpg

i-040_eb_exit_293_03.jpg

Entry into Greensboro/Winston-Salem metro via I-85/I-40.

Maybe Green I-85 can be removed and just become stand alone I-40, seeing it is still I-40

70.jpg

Greensboro entry from south heading north

i-085_nb_exit_119_01.jpg

i-085_nb_exit_120_01.jpg

metro Charlotte entry

Begins at Gastonia

i-085_nb_exit_014_01.jpg

Charlotte entry at I-485 northbound I-85 shown before completion of interchange

i-085_nb_exit_030_01.jpg

I-77 north entry into Charlotte from South Carolina is a little like the entry into Atlanta on I-85 south.

This photo is actually looking south.

i-077_sb_exit_001_01.jpg

I-85 southbound will look great in the future once the I-485 interchange is rebuilt. The question is will this interchange be impressive like the I-77 and I-85 interchange?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I will let this thread stay open since you put so much work into it, but please review the rules. We don't do best of threads here anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Charlotte has the most impressive looking transition as you enter the metro, either on I-85 in Cabarrus County, or the I-77/I-485 interchange.

The second best transition might be on I-40 in RTP... just west of the I-540 interchange--marking the transition into Wake County.

The triad is blurry because I-85/I-40 is 8 lanes between Greensboro and Durham, complete with street lights and all--so it's hard to tell when you've "arrived". Also, despite the large number of high speed interchanges in the Triad, all of them are relatively flat and understated... so a passive observer may not notice much. It would be cool if those interchanges were like some of the ones on I-77 in Charlotte or I-540 in Raleigh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Greensboro photos are quite impressive. If from Atlanta, you would think this would be Atlanta north by seeing so many lanes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is "grand" about an interstate highway that mercilessly cuts through a landscape of suburban sprawl? It doesn't give you a clue as to what you'll be encountering once you actually "arrive" into Greensboro or Durham or whatever. What is revealed in all of the photos is that the interstate has been a tool to facilitate and continually reinforce the homogeneity of the American landscape. It doesn't matter what name is on the sign - it could just as easily say Tulsa or Peoria as it does Greensboro, Gastonia, etc.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Raleigh is disqualified for lack of any semblance of urbanity. Raleigh's interstates look like they are going though the Black Forest, not a major metropolitan area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I initially thought this thread was about skyline views from the interstate making for a grand entrance; as is, I don't really see what's so "grand" about wide interstates and a bunch of cars on them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


metro Charlotte entry from the southside actually begins down in Rock Hill and Ft. Mill, South Carolina

live views

Rock Hill, SC I-77 & US-21 & SC 5

http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/cams/Di...y=1158433069734

Rock Hill, SC I-77 & North of US 21& SC 5

http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/cams/Di...y=1158433116296

Rock Hill, SC I-77 & Cherry Road

http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/cams/Di...y=1158433149187

Rock Hill/Fort Mill, SC I-77 & South of Dave Lyle Blvd.

http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/cams/Di...y=1158433184421

Fort Mill, SC I-77 & Exit 88 Gold Hill Road

http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/cams/Di...y=1158433226812

South Carolina side of I-77 & Carowinds Blvd

http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/cams/Di...y=1158433332296

I-77 & NC/SC State Line

http://www.dot.state.sc.us/getting/cams/Di...y=1158433354625

Live view of the new Durham I-85 freeway widening

I-85 at Roxboro Rd.

http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/cameras/v...oxboro-i-85.jpg

I-85 at Guess Rd.

http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/cameras/v...=guess-i-85.jpg

I-40 entering southeast Durham County

I-40 Davis Dr.

http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/cameras/v...=davis-i-40.jpg

I-40 Miami Blvd.

http://www.ncdot.org/traffictravel/cameras...miami-i-40.html

Live view of I-40 entering Wake County from Durham County

http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/cameras/v...irport-i-40.jpg

Greensboro live view

I-40 west bound near Guilford College Exit

http://www.ncdot.org/traffictravel/cameras...ordcollege.html

West bound I-40 Gilimore Dairy Rd.

http://www.ncdot.org/traffictravel/cameras...imoredairy.html

I-40 westboud heading in the direction of Winston-Salem (near Forsyth County)

http://www.ncdot.org/traffictravel/cameras...sandyridge.html

Winston-Salem entry

I-40 at Jonestown exit westside of Winston-Salem

http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/cameras/v...0-JONESTOWN.jpg

Charlotte live views

I-77 northside southbound at Alexandreana Rd

http://apps.dot.state.nc.us/tims/cameras/v...0020-51_img.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is "grand" about an interstate highway that mercilessly cuts through a landscape of suburban sprawl? It doesn't give you a clue as to what you'll be encountering once you actually "arrive" into Greensboro or Durham or whatever. What is revealed in all of the photos is that the interstate has been a tool to facilitate and continually reinforce the homogeneity of the American landscape. It doesn't matter what name is on the sign - it could just as easily say Tulsa or Peoria as it does Greensboro, Gastonia, etc.

I agree that a freeway is a freeway--they look very similar and it's really just the signage and nearby geography that identifies exactly where in the world you are.

Love them or hate them, but freeways are one of the primarily reasons why the urban areas of our state enjoy their success today. It keeps us connected with eachother and the rest of the nation.

Poor freeway design is a bad thing. Loops that encourage "economic development" aka "sprawl" take away from in-fill and promote more low density garbage development. However, I am very thankful we have interstate freeways connecting our cities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heading north into North Carolina from South Carolina on I-77 does one thing for me. It reminds me what a piss poor job the NCDOT does in designing, building, and maintaining its highways compared to almost any other state. This despite having the highest gasoline tax in the nation to pay for the things.

Once you cross the state line into NC, you leave a nice 8 lane well lit smooth highway, and enter the hell of pot holes, burned out lights, trash everywhere, and pavement that is so unlevel that you need a dose of dramamine to keep from throwing up your guts after traveling on it for a few miles. North Carolina builds roads like they came from Walmart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought this thread was going to be about skyline views from interstates/freeways as well, I was going to say I love the view of downtown Durham from the Durham freeway when heading northbound from Raleigh, but since it seems as if the thread is more about width of the highway and overpasses I really don't have much to say lol.

I will say that it has always bugged me how at the I-85/40 split it doesn't say "I-85 North Northern Durham/Downtown" and "I-40 East Southern Durham/Raleigh" on the big overhead sign, just that dinky sign they added on the side of the highway as an afterthought, b/c I think it must confuse alot of out of town people who are going to, say, Southpoint in Durham which is off of I-40 in Durham, and they take I-85 towards Durham b/c the big sign says to get to Durham you take I-85 not I-40. I think they could also mention Chapel Hill on the big overhead sign as well as it is a major town/city in the Triangle and you pretty much have to take I-40 to get there. Just my 2 cents...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heading north into North Carolina from South Carolina on I-77 does one thing for me. It reminds me what a piss poor job the NCDOT does in designing, building, and maintaining its highways compared to almost any other state. This despite having the highest gasoline tax in the nation to pay for the things.

I thought many other states (including SC) have the ability to borrow money for infrastructure projects with the intention of paying it back over 10 years or so, but our state constitution with its annual balanced budget rule won't allow for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Raleigh is disqualified for lack of any semblance of urbanity. Raleigh's interstates look like they are going though the Black Forest, not a major metropolitan area.
I agree, we need lights on those interstates .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

40 to S. Saunders to Dawson is a good 'grand entry' for Raleigh, since you can see the skyline the whole time, and it is all technically freeway.

http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&a....107975&t=h

As for seeing overpasses from the highway, I never found that particularly grand. It just means an area planned worse. Usually overpass clusters are overkill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Discuss the most interesting grand freeway entries into North Carolina's metro areas via the Interstate system. Meaning when does it start to feel and look like you are entering a major metropolitan area.

Please keep in mind that this is tread is not meant to be a better than yours topic. It is simply a discussion topic to talk about grand entries into metro areas via freeways.

Example: Atlanta's grand entry into the metro is south bound I-85 on the northeast side near US 316 in Gwinnett County. This is where I-85 becomes huge. Atlanta's I-75 on the northwest side get huge too, southbound after I-575. But, the I-85 entry into the urban metro is where you can really tell Atlanta is huge. This is where you're later greated by the Spaghetti Junction massive interchange with I-285.

I see what you are saying-when you see the wider freeways, with advanced interchanges and signage, it signals the presence of a city. I also think it is interesting to see the change in the highway. I think North Carolina needs to work on the highways more, not just to handle the increasing traffic, but to make sure North Carolina is competitive with advanced infrastructure in the modern world. The interstate highway system has helped give the U.S. the most advanced transportation infrastructure in the world, and is one of the biggest boons to continued investment and growth in the nation. From the pics, Greensboro looks the most visually impressive to me. Charlotte will be more impressive when the I-485 interchanges are completed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is "grand" about an interstate highway that mercilessly cuts through a landscape of suburban sprawl? It doesn't give you a clue as to what you'll be encountering once you actually "arrive" into Greensboro or Durham or whatever. What is revealed in all of the photos is that the interstate has been a tool to facilitate and continually reinforce the homogeneity of the American landscape. It doesn't matter what name is on the sign - it could just as easily say Tulsa or Peoria as it does Greensboro, Gastonia, etc.

Ding ding ding!! We have a winner. This is the correct answer to this question- entering a NC city (or most other) by freeway guarantees a crappy introduction to urbanity because the freeway is inherently an anti-urban form. I couldn't have said it better myself. Bravo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not quite sure what you mean by "grand", but the view that you get as you come into Asheville on I-240 from the west is quite impressive. You're in the middle of suburban schlock, then you come over the hill and through the cut, and boom - you're in the middle of town. It's even more impressive on Tunnel Road, and would be even more awesome had a tunnel been built rather than the massive Beaucatcher cut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ding ding ding!! We have a winner. This is the correct answer to this question- entering a NC city (or most other) by freeway guarantees a crappy introduction to urbanity because the freeway is inherently an anti-urban form. I couldn't have said it better myself. Bravo!

I second that thought.

What really makes me wonder is the statement earlier about the "grandness" of the I-77/85 interchange. I would figure that would be the most anti-grand of all interchanges ever. Nothing says big city like "Oh my god slow down!!!! :stop:"

I believe what would make a grand introduction to a city is the sudden emergence of a skyline around a bend like in W-S and Asheville. I know this is about NC cities, but the absolute best example country wide of a "grand entry" from the interstate is Pittsburgh via I-279 bar none that I've seen. Thus, I have to agree with you orulz, a tunnel would have been more impressive than Beaucatcher cut. Even though it in itself is a pretty cool site (until you think about the ecological harm.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Greensboro photos are quite impressive. If from Atlanta, you would think this would be Atlanta north by seeing so many lanes.

Also keep in mind, part of the grand entries include the landscape around the freeways. You know when you are getting ready to enter Greensboro from the south when you see Grandover. Triad Tower will serve that purpose on the westside of Greensboro off of I-40. I agree the new freeways make Greensboro look much bigger. I-40 in West Greensboro is 10 lanes and in a small section 12 lanes, The double stacked bridge interchange at I-40 and future I-840 give Greensboro that urban touch. I like they way the bridges and ramps curve over the freeway at the urban loop interchanges. Very impressive interchange designs. Its great to see that engineers are doing a much better job at interchange design

here are all the interstates that will follow Greensboro's urban loop.

40px-I-40.svg.png40px-I-73.svg.png40px-I-85.svg.png50px-I-785.svg.png50px-I-840.svg.png

This sign shows 4 of the state's 5 big cities

i-85-exit126-prince1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree that this thread is a little odd (no offense intended - I have myself been guilty of being proud, knowing it's implications, that Greensboro has five lanes per side on I-40 out near the airport :)), but I would like to humbly post here to ask a somewhat related question - as for the downtown/downtown entry photos taken of Charlotte, why don't we see the approach shot taken on highway 74, heading west onto 277? I've approached all different angles, and that [to me] is much more impressive than the ones usually taken and displayed on web sites and post cards. There are a few members here who maintain DT Charlotte pics, I apologize if I've overlooked some of these, but don't distinctly remember seeing any shots at this angle there either. I was attempting to take pictures this past weekend to post here but ended up being too difficult while driving. Another visit I will pull over and park, good camera in tow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Try pulling over at Wendover Road or closer off Independance (off the top of my head, any other suggestions?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I was definitely thinking closer in than Wendover, maybe at about 1/2 mile from actual DT and just still on 74/Ind., though you'd have to have the camera/lens to get a good wide angle or panoramic at that distance, and may not be a safe spot to pull over, though there could be a side street nearby that would allow you to hop over the guard rail..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the sign that showes the four of the five largest cites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that since the I-85 widening through Durham has been completed, it makes the city feel more like a city of it's size. It is 8-10 lanes wide out past the 15-501/I-85 interchange going north. Quite impressive. The interchange at the I-85/US 70 split northeast of town is pretty cool, too. I wish I had a picture. The ramps are fun to drive on!! :shades:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.