The rivers that served North Carolina’s early transportation needs are little used for commercial purposes today. Only the Cape Fear River can be considered a waterway to the state’s interior. It has a 2.4 m (8 ft) channel and is navigable to Fayetteville, located at the Fall Line.
A section of the Intracoastal Waterway System, a protected route for all types of boats from Massachusetts to Texas, serves the entire Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. Numerous coastal shippers, together with many small local fishing, freight, and pleasure crafts, use the waterway. Wilmington and Morehead City are ports of entry for ships from foreign countries. They have improved harbors and channels deep enough for oceangoing vessels that connect the harbors to the open Atlantic.
In 1840 the Wilmington to Raleigh Railroad was finished between Wilmington and Weldon on the Roanoke River. Its length of 259 km (161 mi) made it the longest railroad in the world at that time. It connected with the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, creating an interstate railroad that served to increase trade between Virginia and North Carolina and to enable Wilmington to grow into a major port. In 2004 North Carolina had 5,230 km (3,250 mi) of rail lines. Principal products shipped by rail and originating in the state were lumber and wood (12 percent of total weight), chemicals (23 percent), nonmetallic minerals (19 percent), and pulp and paper (7 percent). North Carolina’s major transportation asset is its road system. Highway improvements were launched by the Highway Act of 1921.
It led to an era of unprecedented construction, which soon brought fame to North Carolina as the “Good Roads State.” The state had 168,035 km (104,412 mi) of public roads and highway in 2007, of which 1,785 km (1,109 mi) were national interstate highways. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a particularly scenic drive along the crest of the Blue Ridge, is part of the National Park System. Several airlines and 15 airports and airfields serve the state. Several modern airports have been built since 1950, of which Douglas International Airport in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham International Airport are the busiest. "North Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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