The Highways of North Carolina
N.C. 55 
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Photo: NC 55 ends at the Greens Creek bridge (Thomas Cole)
NC 55
N.C. 55  197 miles
The Road: Begins at US 501 Business Durham (Durham County) and ends the village of Oriental (Pamlico County).
Towns and Attractions: Durham Co.: Durham  
Wake Co.: Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina
Harnett Co.: Angier, Coats, Dunn
Sampson Co.: None
Johnston Co.: None
Sampson Co.: Newton Grove
Wayne Co.: Mount Olive, Seven Springs
Lenoir Co.: Kinston
Craven Co.: New Bern
Pamlico Co.: Bayboro, Oriental
History: NC 55 first appears on VDOT official maps and Rand Mcnally maps from 1929 which show NC 55 running from US 1/NC 50 (current US 1-A) Franklinton west to Durham. The 1929 NCDOT Official shows no route on this corridor. The 1930 Official Map shows this as part of NC 91 and shows NC 55 having replaced NC 13 from Durham north to Virginia along with US 501.
1929 VDOT Official
NC 55 Durham to Franklinton
1930 Official
NC 91 Durham to Franklinton

I have not found a map that shows NC 55 on both segments at the same time, so it is possible today's NC 55 is technically NC 55 #2.
1924 Official
Original NC 13
1930 Official
NC 13 becomes NC 55

In 1932, NC 55 was extended south with US 15/NC 75 through Durham, Apex and Fuquay Springs. NC 55 then jogged east with US 401/NC 21 to Cardenas, then replaced NC 210 #2 south through Angier and Erwin, then south as new routing to US 301/NC 22 Godwin.
1930 Official
NC 210 #2
1933 Official
NC 55 extended south from Durham

In the Great Renumbering in 1934, NC 55 was removed from US 501 from Durham northward. This route is still US 501 today except it used Main St through Roxboro and US 501 Business in northern Durham.
Also during the renumbering, NC 55 was rerouted at Erwin to continue east with US 421 to Dunn, then as new primary routing to Newton Grove, then replacing NC 117 through Mt. Olive and Kinston before ending at US 70 (now part of NC 55) Jasper. The Erwin to Godwin route became NC 82.

1932 Gousha
NC 117 Newton Grove to Jasper

1935 Gousha
NC 55 replacing NC 117

In 1938, NC 55 was rerouted at Cove City to connect further east on US 70 near Clarks. Cove City to Jasper became secondary and is today N. Main St and Old Dover Rd.
1936 Official
NC 55 ends at Jasper
1938 Official
NC 55 ends at Clarks

In 1940, NC 55 was rerouted between Mt. Olive and Seven Springs to its current route. Initially NC 55 used SR 1744 Indian Springs Rd.
In 1940, NC 55 was extended east with US 70 from Jasper to New Bern, then with US 17 across the Neuse River to Bridgeton. NC 55 then replaced NC 302 through Bayboro and to its end at Oriental.
In 1941, NC 55 and US 70 swapped routes between Kinston and Clarks.
1924 Official
NC 302 Bridgeton to Oriental
1940 Official
NC 55 extended to Oriental
1941-42 Official
NC 55 swaps with US 70
About 1948, NC 55 was rerouted from Durham to US 64 over new primary routing. The old route to US 64 became an extended NC 751 (to NC 54) and secondary routing to US 64 (now NC 751, too).
1941-42 Official
NC 55 with US 64 duplex
1953 Official
NC 55 rerouted to Apex

Between 1958-62, NC 55 was rerouted around the north side of Mt. Olive, leaving behind SR 1147 Smith Chapel Hwy, SR 1141-1004 Main St, and SR 1969 Church St.
1957 Wayne County map
NC 55 through Mt. Olive
1962 Wayne County map
NC 55 bypasses Mt. Olive

In December 2002 (mtr post from John Lansford), NC 55 was put on a new bypass west around Holly Springs, leaving behind NC 55 Bus.

Durham changes:
Initially NC 55 used Roxboro St/Mangum St south to Chapel Hill St, then west to Vickers Ave south to University and out of town.
In 1933, NC 55 switched to using Cleveland instead of Mangum, then east on Holloway then south on Roxboro/Pine, then southwest on Lakewood to Duke Ave.
In late 1934, NC 55 north ended at Geer St (US 15 then) from Roxboro St.
When NC 55 moved to a direct Apex route in 1948, it left Roxboro St at E. Main (then US 70A) and went east to Alston Ave which it followed south to Third Fork Creek before branching on new routing southward.
Between 1954-57, NC 55 was taken off Main St and Roxboro Rd and instead continued north on Alston to Avondale to end at US 501 Business, which is NC 55's routing still today through Durham.
1932 Texaco
NC 55 in Durham (1932)
1944 Durham County
NC 55 in Durham (1933-48)
1949 Durham County
NC 55 in Durham (1948-mid 50s)
1957 Durham County
NC 55 in Durham (since mid 50s)

Kinston changes:
Between 1945-49, NC 55 was reoruted within Kinston. After the US 70 swap, NC 55 entered from Greene St, then east on Vernon and northeast on Minerva St out of town with NC 11. Now NC 55 used Greene to King St east to East St north to Washington St east to Minerva St on out of town. The old route through central Kinston became NC 11-A.
In 1952, NC 55 was rerouted to use King St across the Neuse River as it runs today. This left behind US 70-258 and today's SR 1341 between Jacksons Store and US 258.
1944 Lenoir County map
NC 11-55 through central Kinston
1949 Lenoir County map
NC 11-55 rerouted away from central Kinston
1953 Lenoir County map
NC 11-55 rerouted onto King

New Bern changes: Initially (i.e. 1940), NC 55 used Neuse Blvd to Front St, then north to Queen St then northeast across the Neuse River to Bridgeton.
Between 1950-53, a new bridge was built and NC 55 (with US 17) stayed on Neuse Blvd straight through. In Bridgeton, the NC 55 split was further south than before - originally at C St and Bridge St - now at D St and Galloway. Some of C St was now US 17 and C St below D St became NC 55-A.
Around 2001, the Neuse Blvd bridge was closed and instead NC 55 followed US 70 Bus Front St over the Trent River, then picked up the new US 17 bridge over the Neuse River. In the process, NC 55 was taken off Galloway St in Bridgeton and it received new construction to leave US 17.
In 2003, NC 55 was rerouted again in New Bern. NC 55 now leaves Neuse Blvd at 1st St which turns into Pembroke Rd. This connects to the US 17-70 bypass which NC 55 follows to the current Neuse River bridge. The Neuse Blvd-Front St route remains US 70 Business.
1949 Craven County Map
NC 55 in New Bern (1940-early 50s)
1953 Craven County Map
NC 55 in New Bern (early 50s-2001)
2002 Official
NC 55 in New Bern (2001-2003)
2003 Official
NC 55 in New Bern (since 2003)

Adam Prince profiles the town of Oriental here.
Although NC 55 has a substantial N-S segment, it is signed as E-W everywhere.

Last Update: 9 August 2010

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