North Carolina/Major roads/Main

From Wazeopedia

An exception currently to the USA Roads standard is North Carolina state highways. North Carolina has numbered state highways from Controlled Access Freeways down to Alleys. Because of this, North Carolina strictly uses Functional Classification to set road types for state highways and below.

Road Names

See Road types for general rules where North Carolina does not specifically differ.

See Military_Bases for a complete list of rules for mapping on Military Bases.

North Carolina has two classes of state funded roads, Primary State Highways, and Secondary Roads (aka State Rte or Road). Please carefully observe the following naming formats for roads in these categories.

Primary State Highways


State Highways are numbers under 1000 (1-3 digits) and bear the NC diamond shield. These roads should be named "NC-###"
Use a single hyphen and no spaces between NC and the route number.
This applies to both Primary and Alternate road names.

Secondary Roads (aka State Rte or Road)
NC Secondary Road Num.jpgNC Street Name Signs.jpgNC SR Num.jpg
Secondary Roads are route numbers of 1000 or greater (four digits or more).

  • These Roads are not signed with shields. Regular green or white road signs are most commonly used to designate secondary roads.
On green signs, the prefix "SR" should precede the road number.
On white signs (commonly attached to stop signs), it will just have the road number. (See pictures above)
  • These roads should be named "SR-####" Use a single hyphen and no spaces between SR and the road number.
  • These names are typically used as Alternate Road names, along with Primary names which match local road signage.
  • SR numbers can be found using the NCDOT Secondary Roads Database Lookup.

NOTE: North Carolina does not use County Road numbers. If found, these should be updated to the Secondary Road format

Road Function Class

See Road types as a general rule.
We have also incorporated the NC Functional Class Map into are road classification system:

This should be the first step in determining how a road should be type. The list below are minimums (e.g. a State Highway would be at a minimum a minor highway. It could also be a major highway or freeway depending on functional class)

  •  Freeway  - Interstates and all other roads with no at grade intersections.
  •  Major Highway  - US Highways, Interstates that have at grade intersections.
  •  Minor Highway  - State Highways, US Business Highways.
  •  Primary Street  - State Business Highways.

If the road is not defined as one of the above then please use the functional class to determine what type to qualify the road as.

Using the NC Functional Class Map: The NC Functional Class Map is divided into 9 road type classifications. Most road classifications will minimally be defined by the above criteria. For all other roads that do not fit into that criteria, please use the references below:

Functional Class Type - Waze Type

  • Interstate -  Freeway 
  • Other Freeway -  Freeway 
  • Other Principal Arterial -  Major Highway 
  • Minor Arterial -  Minor Highway 
  • Major Collector -  Primary Street 
  • Minor Collector -  Primary Street 
  • Local -  Street 

Contact the Area Manager or State Manager if you feel there is an exception to these rules. Consistency is key. Do not change a road type for routing sake or to make it appear on the map at a higher speed. Also, do not switch road types every few segments just because the functional class does (Contact the AM or SM for help).

Function Class Quick Reference Chart

Refer to this chart to determine the road type of a given paved public road based on the North Carolina functional class.

To use this chart, first determine the functional class of a road, and whether it is a signed, numbered highway in a particular highway system.

Where the column for the road's highway system and the row for the road's North Carolina functional class meet, you will find the proper road type for that particular road.

A number of examples are given below the chart.

Highway Systems


Interstate Business Loop/Spur US 20.svg.png

US Hwy
(incl. some special routes)

US Hwy BUS, SPUR, LOOP NC-84.jpg

State Hwy (incl. some special routes)

State Hwy BUS, SPUR[a], LOOP Locally-maintained
example I-95 N I-95 Business US-301 US-301 Business NC-87 NC-87 Business Robertson St


Interstate[b]  Fw  n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Other Freeway[c] n/a  Fw   Fw   Fw   Fw   Fw   Fw 
Other Principal Arterial[d] n/a  Major   Major   Major   Major   Major   Major 
Minor Arterial[e] n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   Minor   Minor 
Major Collector n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   PS   PS 
Minor Collector n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   PS   PS 
Local/not mapped n/a  Major   Major   Minor   Minor   PS   Street 

^a When a state highway "SPUR" route is used to connect a state highway with another state highway, a US highway, or an Interstate (i.e., when it is used as a connector/CONN route), use the first state highway column.

^b Also known as Principal Arterial - Interstate.

^c Also known as Principal Arterial - Freeway.

^d Also known as Principal Arterial.

^e Also known as Other Arterial.

For example,

  • An Interstate Business Loop classified as a Minor Arterial is a  Major Highway .
  • A US Highway classified as a Minor Arterial is a  Major Highway .
  • A US Highway Spur route classified as a Minor Arterial is a  Minor Highway .
  • A State Highway classified as an Other Freeway is a  Freeway .
  • A State Highway classified as a Collector is a  Minor Highway .
  • A locally-maintained road classified as an Other Principal Arterial is a  Major Highway .
  • A locally-maintained road classified as a Collector is a  Primary Street .

 Fw   Freeway 
 Major   Major Highway 
 Minor   Minor Highway 
 PS   Primary Street 
 Street   Street 

Speed Limits

See Speed limits as a general rule.
Do not assume! - Know the correct speed limit for a segment before setting a speed limit.
If you do not know the speed limit for a segment leave it blank. It is safer to not set a speed limit then to get it wrong.

North Carolina statutory speed limit laws are:

  • Within municipal corporate limits is 35 MPH unless otherwise posted.
  • Outside municipal corporate limits is 55 MPH unless otherwise posted.
  • Military Installations is 30 MPH unless otherwise posted.
  • Interstates (Freeways) all have posted speed limits and a maximum of 70 MPH.
Speed Limit Status
Function Class Status
 Freeway  100%
 Major Highway  100%
 Minor Highway  100%
 Primary Street  99.3%
 Street  26.6%
USA Score 98.5%
USA Rank 10
Updated 2018-08-13

Road Locking

In North Carolina we have a set minimum standard for locking roads based on segment type. Any road of a certain segment type must be locked at least to the rank (level) in the chart below. Roads may be locked higher for protection and special situations (areas with construction, tricky design, frequent mistakes, imaging inaccuracies, and the like), but should not be locked lower.

A great time to implement these locks is while bringing the road types of an area into compliance with the current US road type standards (FC and highway systems). Lock the roads based on type after they've been set to current US road type standards.

North Carolina Minimum Locking Rank Standard
Segment Type Statewide
 Freeway  5
 Ramp  Highest rank of connected segment
 Major Highway  4
 Minor Highway  3
 Primary Street  2
 Street  1
 • • • • Ferry • • • •   5
 |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-| Railroad |-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|-|  2

Note: Certain areas may be locked higher than the above minimums. Please do not lower locks unless approved by the RC or SM of North Carolina.