The official grand opening of the Urban Loop is Monday, Jan. 23 at 11 a.m.
And if you would like to be one of the first to take a 39-mile trip around Greensboro on the entire Urban Loop, the last section between North Elm Street and US 29 is supposed to open to the public about noon on Monday, Jan. 23.
Officially, the Urban Loop involved 49 miles of construction, but that includes interchanges and collector roads.
The Urban Loop was originally called Painter Boulevard, named for Greensboro’s first city manager, Pennell Churchman Painter. It was originally proposed over half a century ago. At the time the plan was for a road more in keeping with Cone Boulevard or Wendover Avenue than the interstate highway that will open on Monday.
While Painter Boulevard was first proposed in 1967, not much got done for the first few decades. The 1977 Greensboro thoroughfare plan included the Urban Loop and was the first official adoption of the plan.
But it wasn’t until 1995 that the “record of decision” was approved that made construction possible. But even with that approval, construction didn’t take off. The first portion of the Urban Loop opened in 2002 and it was only a 2.2-mile section between I-40/85 and US 70.
The first major portion of the Urban Loop opened in 2004 and was a 12.9-mile segment that served as the southeast bypass for I-85.
It was four years before another section of the Urban Loop opened and that was an 8-mile segment in the southwest.
The 8-mile segment of the I-840 Western Loop from Bryan Boulevard to US 220/Battleground opened in April 2018. The last segment of the Western Loop from US 2020/Battleground to Lawndale Avenue was completed in December 2019.
A 2-mile segment of the final portion of the Eastern Loop from Lawndale Avenue to North Elm Street opened in December 2022.
The final segment of the Urban Loop from North Elm Street to US 29 is the portion that will open on Monday, Jan. 23.
The entire Urban Loop has cost $1.04 billion and taken 56 years to complete.