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The westbound lanes use a rock cut through Hurricane Mountain.

A short distance after the tunnel is the North Carolina Welcome Center.

This post was authored by guest contributor Gene Hyde, Head of Special Collections at University of North Carolina Asheville Undergraduate research is a hallmark of the University of North Carolina Asheville, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University.

As part of this institutional mission, we in Special Collections work closely with the History Department and other departments to incorporate primary materials into the research process.

In 1958, the first section of completed interstate highway in the state was I-40 along the East–West Expressway in Winston-Salem.

I-40 received two extension approvals; the first in 1969 to Interstate 95 (I-95), to be routed in or near Smithfield, and the second in 1984 to Wilmington.

I-240 and I-40 have another interchange before I-40 leaves the Asheville area.

Shortly after it leaves the Asheville area, I-40 encounters a steep grade, Old Fort Mountain, with winding roads that poses a hazard to truck traffic.

In North Carolina the original highway was to run from the Tennessee state line to Greensboro where the freeway would end at Interstate 85.Throughout the state the freeway is known as the Blue Star Memorial Highway a name shared with multiple interstates across the state.From the Guilford-Alamance county line to one mile east of NC 54, in Graham, I-40/I-85 is known as the Sam Hunt Freeway.At a total of 423.55 miles (681.64 km), it is the longest interstate highway in North Carolina.There are five auxiliary Interstates in the state related to I-40, as well as one business loop which currently runs through Winston-Salem.

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