SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Highway 421 is already heavily traveled in the greater Wilmington area, providing a pathway for shipping and trucking industries to reach the central areas of the state.
However, transportation officials are considering its transformation into Interstate 685. Highway 421, currently 85 miles, ends in Fort Fisher. If it were enveloped into I-685, the road would encompass just over 200 miles.
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The intestate would start near Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point and run to I-95 in Dunn, near Fayetteville and into Wilmington.
In mid-June, the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s technical coordinating committee unanimously approved a resolution for the North Carolina Department of Transportation to explore I-685’s extension into Wilmington. It would require drumming up support from other transportation planning organizations.
Seven counties in I-685’s path already have passed resolutions in support, including Harnett, Chatham, Alamance, Randolph, Lee, Sanford and Guilford.
“In addition, we would work with our local economic development partners and others in the area to seek their interest and support for this effort,” WMPO Director Mike Kozlosky explained to Port City Daily over the summer.
Kozlosky also said it would improve as a hurricane evacuation route for the region, primarily dependent upon I-74 and I-40.
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