Reimagine Durham Freeway

The City of Durham Transportation Department is launching the Reimagine Durham Freeway study. This study aims to develop a community-led vision for the Durham Freeway corridor (also known as NC 147) through central Durham.

As of January 2024, the study is in the initial kickoff stages and is expected to last approximately until the summer of 2025. More detailed information about the project, including upcoming engagement and input opportunities, project deliverables, and more will be posted on this webpage. Stay tuned for more to come!

Project Background

The Durham Freeway was initially built during the 1970s to provide a high-speed vehicle connection from Research Triangle Park (RTP) to central Durham. The entire length of NC 147 is a limited access freeway, linking the East End Connection (I-885) with I-85 through downtown Durham. The Freeway’s path through Durham destroyed well-established Black communities such as Hayti and Brookstown. As a result, African-American businesses, homes, and places of worship were separated or demolished, and residents were permanently displaced. Today, the Durham Freeway serves as a primary route through Durham with between 44,000 and 87,000 vehicles driving the corridor every day. However, the impact on adjacent communicates can still be felt, and the Durham Freeway represents a significant barrier to access for many Durham residents.

To mitigate the damage that the construction of the Durham Freeway caused, a community-led study to reconnect communities in central Durham adjacent to the corridor is needed to determine the future of the Freeway. The Reimagine Durham Freeway study aims to develop a vision plan for the Freeway that:

  • Acknowledges and evaluates the impacts of the Durham Freeway;
  • Reimagines the future character of the corridor; and
  • Reconnects vital communities in the heart of Durham.

The study is federally funded, with a local funding match from the City. The City has contracted with WSP USA Inc. for technical planning and design services. Guided by the Equitable Community Engagement Blueprint, the City has also partnered directly with two organizations with unique linkages to historic Durham communities, Aidilisms, LLC and Iset Excelsior DBA Be Connected Durham, to lead community engagement efforts.

Contact Information

Erin Convery
Transportation Planning Manager
City of Durham Department of Transportation
919-560-4366 ext. 36400
[email protected]