Ken Thorn: Spurred by interstate highway numbers

December 16, 2013 

Regarding the Dec. 13 news article “U.S. 64 will become I-495 between Raleigh, Rocky Mount”: It seems that the DOT believes that two wrongs make a right when it assigns highway route numbers. When a highway around the north of Raleigh was planned, a dozen or more years ago, it was designated as a spur even though the highway was intended to go around Raleigh and connect with an interstate on both ends. What should have been designated I-640 was strangely designated I-540 in ignorance or disregard of interstate highway standards.

Now, a spur running from I-95 to Raleigh is to be designated I-495. Spur route numbers are defined and specified as being a primary highway number plus an odd number prefix. Clearly, the new route should be I-195, I-395 or I-595.

Of course, to many drivers the route numbers mean little. The Raleigh spur or the Raleigh bypass could be I-9876, and it would mean nothing to some drivers. But to those who can read and understand map routes, why deviate from an established and explainable standard? When most of the nation uses the interstate standards, why are we trying to demonstrate a lack of comprehension in North Carolina?

Ken Thorn


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