This report is from a daytrip into northeastern North Carolina on October 5, 2002.

Northeastern NC daytrip (long)

Multi-mission trip (to throw some military jargon out there) today.  Headed out and around northeastern North Carolina today to check on existing N.C. 3 for Adam Prince, collect my last 2 counties in the area (Dare and Tyrrell), and pick up a few route endings along the NC/VA border that I've been meaning to get. Wound up getting a bunch of NC ends for Gribblenation in the process. Some surprises mixed in as well.

General route taken: various "backroads" in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, VA/NC 168, US 158, US 64, NC 32, US 17, NC 45, US 158, NC 305, NC/VA 186, VA/NC 35, various backroads in northern Northampton/Hertford Counties, US 258, VA 189, VA 272, US 58, I-264, back to the house.

- While travelling south on Princess Anne Rd in Virginia Beach (semi-signed VA 165), the road goes from an 8-lane divided highway to a 2-lane rural road within the span of a half-mile (as one crosses Dam Neck Rd). Given how VDOT and Virginia Beach operate together, this sort of setup does not surprise me.

- Through old Princess Anne, where VA 165 and VA 149 junction, further proof that the city of Virginia Beach does not know what a Virginia state highway shield looks like. The shields they used at the intersection, relatively new shields, are reminiscent of the 3-digit shields in Mississippi (black on white oval). At least they didn't use US shields (like what's at US 60/"US" 225 near my place).

- Remnant SR 720 trailblazer still exists in southern Chesapeake, east of VA 168.

- 'Twould be nice if NCDOT could delineate between a 4-lane divided and 5-lane undivided on the N.C. state highway map. I'm sure many folks (out-of-state tourists in particular) get surprised every year, expecting a 4-lane divided (as shown on the map), and finding out what the roads TRULY are. Some examples: the whole run of NC 168, US 158 between NC 168 and US 64 (minus the bridge across Currituck Sound), and NC 24 between Cedar Point and US 70.

- For Adam Prince: NC 3 shields still exist along the short section in Currituck County, although some are either missing, or never existed.  On EB 158, you don't know it's NC 3 until you're right on top of it (i.e. no advance signage), and only one reassurance shield spotted: EB after turning from US 158.

- US 158 along the Outer Banks is a traffic mess, even though tourist season is basically over. I can only imagine how bad it is during the peak of tourist season. Haven't NCDOT and the local communities ever heard of access management?

- Big news (for R.V. Droz and Adam Prince): US 264 no longer extends to Whalebone Junction. Apparently in conjunction with the new Croatan Sound bridge opening, NCDOT has truncated it back to where it intersects US 64 west of Manns END EAST US 264 shield has been placed at that intersection.

- Also related to the bridge opening, the intersection of US 64/former US 264/NC 345 has been reengineered into a 4-way intersection. The new bypass/bridge extends west from this junction (with a brand new rest area/visitor center between NC 345 and the bridge), and is signed as BYPASS US 64, while the old route is still signed as mainline US 64.

- The bridge itself is 4-lane divided (Jersey barrier median) with a partial right shoulder (about 5-6')....just under 5 miles according to my tachometer. At the west end, another 4-way intersection engineered, tying it into the old route, though with stop-control on the old route/side road. The 4-lane extends west to US 264.

- Found a windfall at an antique store in Manns Harbor. Picked up a bunch of old maps, including 52 ON, 55 VA, 72 VA, 86/87 VA, 85 NC, 92/93 NC, 89 SC, and 90 WY.

- Excellent sight distances along US 64 from Manns Harbor to Columbia.  That said, I could still see the need for some passing lanes. Passed A LOT of platoons heading eastbound toward the Banks, and many drivers were noticeably frustrated at not being able to pass slower vehicles.

- US 64 crosses the Alligator River on another long bridge, complete with drawbridge near the western end.

- Construction, clearing, and grading (depending on location) noticeably visible starting on the western outskirts of Columbia. Looks like some new alignment to the south between Woodley and Columbia, a northern bypass of Creswall, and at least an overpass near Scuppernong.

- NC 32 is concrete between NC 37 and NC 94.

- Some odd BUSINESS US 17 signage in Edenton....the shield itself is not the standard US shield, has BUS inside the shield, and is on a green sign.

- NCDOT must not like state route END shields in the northeastern part of the state. The ONLY route I noticed that had one was NC 42 in Colerain.

- VA 189 is concrete between US 258 and VA 272, as is the length of VA 272.

- (also for R.V. Droz) Enough signage has been installed for the SW Suffolk Bypass for one to see that US 13 will be rerouted to it and the US 58 Suffolk bypass once it opens. Existing US 13 through Suffolk will revert back to the routes it duplexes with: VA 32, VA 337, and BUSINESS US 58.

One more note for anyone doing future expeditions: potential exists for some "Lost Highway" installments along NC 168, as well as US 64 between Manns Harbor and Columbia.

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(C) 2007, Adam Froehlig