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Fayetteville Outer Loop

First Section Opened: 2003

Full Completion Date: After 2023

Completed Sections:

River Road to US 401 Opened: June 2003

I-95 to River Road Opened: July 2005

Current Sections Under Construction:

Murchison Rd. to Bragg Blvd., to be completed-March 2014.

US 401 to Murchison Road, to be completed-July 2015.

History of the Fayetteville Outer Loop

A western bypass of Fayetteville has been in the planning stages for decades. Construction, however, did not begin until 2001. The total 36-mile Outer Loop route's projected path (1) will take the freeway from I-95 at its current intersection with US 13 to the west and south of Fayetteville reconnecting with I-95 north of St. Pauls in Robeson County. Currently seven and 1/2 miles are open to traffic. The opened portion, signed as Future Interstate 295, consists of the first segment of the highway completed in June 2003 which ran three miles from US 401 (Ramsay Street) across the Cape Fear River to River Road (2) and a second segment, about 4 miles, connecting I-95 to River Road that was completed in July 2005.

Current and Future Construction

Funding for another 5 miles to the All-American Freeway was approved in November 2008, however construction was split into several staggered contracts due to NCDOT budget problems. The first of these segments to open will be from NC 210 to Bragg Blvd in 2014. The next section will be from US 401 to NC 210 in July 2015. It is unknown whether NCDOT will open the 2 mile NC 210 to Bragg Blvd segment before the connection to the current Loop is complete. Most of the remaining segments west and south of the All American Freeway back to I-95 near St. Pauls are currently not funded, and these projects will likely not start until after 2023.(3) There are more detailed listings about all these future segments below.

Here's the current NCDOT schedule for the completed and under construction sections of the I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop between Fort Bragg and I-95/US 13(4):

Segment Location Length Start date  Completion date
B West of NC 24-87 (Bragg Blvd) to East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd) 1.0 Miles June 2009 March 2013
BC East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd) to 1.1 Miles East of NC 210 1.1 Miles March 2011 Jan. 2014
BB West of NC 24-87 (Bragg Blvd) to East of NC 210 (Murchison Rd)-Paving of Sections B and BC 2.1 Miles Jan. 2013 March 2014
CA 1.1 Miles East of NC 210 to East of SR 1600 (McArthur Rd) 2.0 Miles March 2011 Feb. 2014
CB East of SR 1600 (McArthur Rd) to West of US 401 2.1 Miles March 2011 Feb. 2014
CC 1.1 Miles East of NC 210 to to West of US 401-Paving Sections CA and CB 4.1 Miles March 2014 July 2015
DA West of US 401 to East of SR 1714 (River Road) 3.3 Miles June 2000 June 2003
DB East of SR 1714 (River Rd) to US 13/I-95 4.8 Miles August 2003 July 2005

Photos along opened sections of the Outer Loop

These were taken along the opened part of route from US 401 east to I-95:

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop Sign Assembly-Eastern End.Sign assembly at the current beginning of the Outer Loop at US 401, showing the future I-295 signage, currently none of the 295 shields have a directional banner.

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop at Cape Fear River.This is going eastbound just west of the US 401 interchange headed toward the bridge over the Cape Fear River. (Feb. 2005)

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop, River Road exit sign.View from the Cape Fear River bridge with the first sign for the River Road exit, where the Outer Loop ended before the next section was completed in July 2008. Notice the narrowness of the right and, particularly the left shoulders, which appear to not meet Interstate standards. (Feb. 2005) The exits do not have numbers, these will be installed when the next section of the Loop is completed.

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop, River Road Shields.New signage at the Outer Loop interchange at River Road, the only previous marker was a street sign listing Future 295 (July 2005).

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop, I-95 interchange signage, image by Adam 
Prince.Here's the end of Northbound Future I-295 at the I-95 interchange. There is a high-speed flyover to I-95 North (Photo courtesy of Adam Prince).

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop, End Future 295 and Begin US 13 signs.The End 295/Begin US 13 sign at the eastern (northern) end of the Loop, beyond the I-95 interchange.

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop, US 401 exit signage, image by Adam Prince.This is the current end going westbound (south) at US 401 (notice the 0 on the shield doesn't quite mix with the other numbers (photo courtesy of Adam Prince).

History of Route Number

NCDOT originally petitioned to have this roadway designated as I-195. The odd-number designation as an interstate spur route probably was chosen (at least as a temporary designation) because a funding source was not secured at the time to construct the entire 35-mile loop. The I-195 designation, however, was rejected by AASHTO in June 2003. Later in that year funds were secured to extend the route further south making it a true loop back to I-95.(5) NCDOT then decided the route should be called I-295 and this number subsequently appeared on several NCDOT publications.* AASHTO followed the FHWA's lead and approved the I-295 number designation at the May 6, 2005 meeting of the organization's Special Committtee on U.S. Route Numbering.(6)

Though the Interstate 295 number is now official, NC is currently signing the road as Future I-295. This is probably due to design aspects of the highway that do not meet interstate standards (such as the narrow shoulders on the Cape Fear River bridge (noted in the photo above) and the US 13 interchange (see photo below) which does not at present allow freeway to freeway access from I-95 North. There are no projects in the latest 2014-2023 Draft STIP to upgrade the roadway, however, according to plans for the current construction projects, the entire route is to be designated I-295 when completed in 2015.

* Though several other route numbers appear for the Loop on other documents. The official 2005 state highway map listed it as NC 13. NCDOT called the route the 'NC 24 extension' on its contract listing for the US 301 to I-95 section in previous TIP documents.

I-295 Fayetteville Outer Loop, NC state map image. Here's Future I-295's first appearance on a map, the 2006 North Carolina State Transportation Map, that is.

Photo showing deficiency in current I-95/Future 295 interchange which
requires a left turn across oncoming traffic, photo courtesy of Adam PrinceThis photo shows that traffic coming from I-95 south must take a left turn crossing the west- (south) bound Loop. (courtesy of Adam Prince)

Details of Current Construction

Before the budget problems cropped up construction of the next section from US 401 to the Bragg Blvd. was scheduled to start in late 2008. With the passage of the economic stimulus bill in February 2009, NCDOT got $385 million for highway construction, the project was then split up into three contracts: X-0002BC, X-0002CA, and X-0002CB. Only one of which qualified as a 'shovel-ready' project and could start using the stimulus funds. Construction was started on a 1.5 mile (2.5 km) section from west of Bragg Blvd. to Murchison Road in July 2009. This section is seperated from the completed section east of US 421 by 3 miles and is due to be completed in March 2013.(1) This does not include, however, final paving, structures, and signing which were let in a separate contract in October 2012. Work started in January 2013 and this project is to be completed by the end of 2014.(8)

The next part of the project was at the western end, 1/2 mile from Bragg Blvd. to the All-American Freeway, started in the fall of 2009. These projects were meant only to build the highway to a graded surface. Paving of this part of the highway and the building of the remainder east from Murchison Road to connect to US 401 were put off until the end of the final project.(9) Originally, all remaining construction projects were to be let by July 2012, but contractor delays and funding issues have pushed back the dates for starting some of these segments. The need to find funding for the last section, and qualified bidders pushed back the project several times to a March 2011 letting. Under the terms of this contract, work is to be completed by March 2014. As of early February 2013, the project was about 52% complete.(10) Work then started on a small (about 1 mile or 1.92 km) segment of the Loop west of the All American Freeway in November 2011. This segment to just east of Yadkin Road and as of February 2013 is 28.7% completed and is expected to be finished in July 2015.(11)

Future Construction

Until late 2011 construction on the rest of the Loop, even with a continued significant proportion ($258 million, 19% for current construction) of highway trust fund moneys available (2,12), was to be a decade or more away.(12) However, in the fall of 2011 the NC government announced its intention of funding construction of additional priority highways, which would include I-295. In September 2012 NCDOT announced it will fund a $104.6 m illion extension of I-295 from the All American Freeway to Cliffdale Road. The project will be put out to bid in May 2014. The segment will have two interchanges with Reilly Road near a Fort Bragg gate and at Cliffdale Road The remainder of the route will be built sometime after 2023. The current construction schedule can be found on this map(7).

The proposed path and potential interchanges for the unbuilt sections are in the map below:

Map of unbuilt section of Fayetteville Loop, courtesy of Winston-Salem 
Journal, June 2004

Map courtesy of Winston-Salem Journal 6/18/04 (12)

The plans for the next section of roadway indicate the route will become full I-295 upon completion and also listed exit numbers that will be placed at all interchanges from the vicinity of Bragg Blvd back to I-95.
The exit number plan, as of now, is: (14)
Exit 36           Interstate 95
Exit 31           River Rd
Exit 28           US 401
Exits 25A-B    McArthur Rd
Exit 23           NC 210 Murchison Rd
Exit 22B-C     All-American Freeway
Exit 22A        Bragg Blvd (NC 24/87)