Interstate 73 in North Carolina
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Interstate 73 (I-73) is a partially completed Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina, traversing the state from south of Ellerbe to near Summerfield through Asheboro and Greensboro. When completed, it will continue south towards Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and north to Martinsville, Virginia.
Open segments of I-73 as of 2018 in red
|Maintained by NCDOT|
|Length||101.1 mi (162.7 km)|
|South end||US 220 near Ellerbe|
|North end||US 220 / NC 68 near Stokesdale|
|Counties||Richmond, Montgomery, Randolph, Guilford|
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2015)
As of April 2018[update], Interstate 73 begins south of Ellerbe, in concurrency with I-74 and US 220, to north of Asheboro. I-73 and I-74 travel north through northern Richmond County and into eastern Montgomery County. In Montgomery County, the Interstates pass between the county's eastern border and the Uwharrie National Forest. The freeway enters Randolph County and passes just west of Asheboro. In Randleman, I-74 splits northwest towards High Point and Winston-Salem. North of the I-74 split, I-73 passes over Randleman Lake, a reservoir formed by the blocking of the Deep River and passes into Guilford County. Entering Greensboro, it ends its concurrency with US 220 as it goes northwest along the Greensboro Urban Loop with US 421 after a brief parallel with I-85. At its connection with I-40, US 421 continues north (or geographically west) with I-40 to Winston-Salem, while I-73 continues and I-840 begins. At the Bryan Boulevard exit, I-73 separates from I-840, which currently ends on the partially completed Loop. I-73 then runs west to NC 68, near PTI Airport then north 8 miles to back to US 220 near the Haw River. It then proceeds 4 miles further north along a newly widened stretch of US 220 to the interchange with NC 68 which was completed in December 2017, but not signed as I-73 until March 2018.
Authorized by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), Interstate 73 was established as a north-south high priority corridor from Charleston, South Carolina to Detroit, Michigan.
In North Carolina, because several U.S. Routes were already planned for improvements in the Central Piedmont region, Interstate 73 was initially aligned to go through Rockingham, Asheboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, and Mount Airy. The route through High Point was approved in May 1993. However, in November 1993, an organization called Job Link, made up of business leaders from northern North Carolina and southern Virginia, wanted a major highway to connect Roanoke with the Greensboro area. It could be Interstate 73, the group said, but did not have to be. In April 1995, John Warner, who chaired the Senate subcommittee which would select the route of Interstate 73, announced his support for the Job Link proposal. This distressed Winston-Salem officials who were counting on Interstate 73, though Greensboro had never publicly sought the road. But an aide to US Senator Lauch Faircloth said the 1991 law authorizing Interstate 73 required the road to go through Winston-Salem. Faircloth got around this requirement, though, by asking Warner to call the highway to Winston-Salem Interstate 74. In May, Warner announced plans to propose legislation that made the plan for two Interstates official.
When I-73 crossed a border between two states, the federal law authorizing the road required that the two states agree that their sections meet. Originally, both Carolinas selected a route running south from Rockingham. However, North Carolina had more money to spend on roads, and on May 10, 1995, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved North Carolina's plan for I-73 to run eastward to the coast and enter South Carolina at North Myrtle Beach. Later that year, officials in both states agreed that I-73 would enter South Carolina south of Rockingham and that the other highway would be I-74. This raised the possibility of I-73 bypassing the Myrtle Beach area entirely, since I-74 would run to the Myrtle Beach area.
In May 1997, the first section of Interstate 73 was established, a 12.6-mile (20.3 km) section from south of Candor to Ulah. Signage of "Future Interstate 73" was also placed all along US 220, from Rockingham north to I-40 in Greensboro and south to Candor. On January 7, 2008, an 17-mile (27 km) extension south of Candor to Ellerbe was completed; however, because NCDOT had not applied to the FHWA to add the segment to the interstate system, signage along the new stretch of freeway was listed as Future Interstate 73, thus not an "official" addition to the interstate at that time. Federal approval was granted in 2010 to make this part of the interstate system at the conclusion of work to upgrade the highway in Asheboro. The route was given interstate signage in the summer of 2013.
The next section to be completed, and signed Interstate 73, was the 7.5-mile (12.1 km) southwestern section of the Greensboro Urban Loop, in concurrency with Interstate 40, in February 2008. The concurrency later changed to US 421 in September of same year (signage corrected by July 2009).
The newest sections of Interstate 73 to be completed are the eight-mile (13 km) stretch of US 220 freeway in Asheboro, the remaining parts of the US 220 freeway designated Future I-73 in 1997, and the six-mile (9.7 km) section from the Bryan Boulevard interchange northward back to US 220. The Asheboro section had several deficiencies that needed to be corrected before it could be designated an Interstate. Work started on this segment from Business 220/NC 134 south of Asheboro to US 220 Business/Vision Drive North of Asheboro in 2010. Work was completed in October 2012. When work was finished Interstate 73 (and 74) shields replaced the Future I-73(and I-74) shields along this portion of US 220. NCDOT had already reached an agreement with the FHWA that they could sign the entire length of the US 220 freeway south of Greensboro to Ellerbe as Interstate 73 once this project was completed. On July 11, 2012, NCDOT gave final approval an extension of Interstate 73 from Interstate 85 to Asheboro to be designated as part of its network. A contract to change the Future I-73 signs to I-73 shields and replace current exit signage with Interstate standard ones was let on December 11, 2012. On February 2013, work crews began converting a 70-mile (110 km) stretch of signage for Interstate 73; work was completed in December 2013. I-73 is thus signed continuously from US 220 north of Greensboro to US 220 in Ellerbe, a total of 84 miles (135 km). Part of the highway completed, but not signed currently as I-73 is the US 74 Rockingham Bypass, a total of about ten miles (16 km) but cannot be signed as an interstate since it is not connected to the rest of I-73. Therefore, North Carolina has completed a total of 104 miles (167 km) of current or future I-73 mileage.
Construction began in April 2014 on I-73 from NC 68, near PTI Airport, to US 220 near the Haw River. Seven miles of this section to US 220 in Summerfield opened May 19, 2017 while the remainder opened the evening of July 2, 2017. The latest segment of I-73 being completed was a four-mile (6.4 km) segment along a widened section of US 220 from near the Haw River north to its intersection with NC 68. Two contracts, one widening US 220, Project R-2413C, which started in May 2012, the other reconfiguring the NC 68 intersection into an interchange, started in September 2015, were completed in December 2017. The new NC 68 South interchange opened in May 2017. I-73 signs, including an End I-73 sign beyond the NC 68 exit, were put up in March 2018.
Interstate 73 from the South Carolina state line to US 74/NC 38 interchange is being planned and paid for by SCDOT. Environmental studies were completed in 2011, with a route that includes an interchange at Ghio Road and welcome centers at the state line. Time frame when construction will begin is unknown at this time.
The Western Rockingham Bypass, from the US 74/US 74 Bus interchange to US 220, near Ellerbe. Currently all right-of-way purchases have been completed along the proposed route. Construction on a 3.724-mile (5.993 km) section, along US 220 (south of Ellerbe), began in March 2014; with a contracted amount of $49.8 million, and was completed in April 2018. The remaining sections of the new bypass were scheduled to start construction by late 2017; however, under reprioritization of construction projects announced in 2014, they were first removed from the list of projects to be started through 2024 then had funding restored with a construction date of 2022 in the summer of 2016. In January 2017, however, the project though still funded was delayed 4 years, due to a low score in prioritizing projects for the 2018-2027 NCDOT State Transportation Improvement Program. In August 2018, NCDOT announced the project will be funded though in the upcoming 2020-2029 State Transportation Program document, first released as a draft in January 2019 and finalized in September 2019. The project will be let in October 2019 with construction to start soon after.
The northernmost section, 18-mile (29 km) along US 220 from NC 68 north to the Virginia border, may be the last segment completed with NCDOT waiting to see whether Virginia is going to commit to constructing their section of I-73 south of Roanoke before commitments are made for funding. The only action taken along this segment was to replace the existing Future I-73 Corridor signs with Future I-73 signs in 2016.
|County||Location||mi||km||Old exit||New exit||Destinations||Notes|
|Richmond||||I-73 south – Myrtle Beach||Future continuation into South Carolina|
|||Ghio Road||Future interchange (unfunded)|
Future I-74 east / US 74 east – Laurinburg
|Future interchange (unfunded) and future east end of I-74 overlap|
|||319||NC 38 – Bennettsville||Existing interchanges of US 74 (built to interstate standards, not signed due to no connection to interstate)|
|||316||NC 177 – Hamlet|
|Rockingham||311||US 1 to US 220 – Rockingham, Southern Pines, Cheraw|
|||308||15||Galestown Road – Cordova|
US 74 west / US 74 Bus. east – Wadesboro, Rockingham
|||20||Cartledge Creek Road||Future interchange to be built as part of Rockingham Bypass project|
|||22.4||36.0||22||US 220 south – Rockingham||Southern terminus of I-73. East end of I-74 overlap. Partial interchange (rest to be constructed 2023)|
|||23.2||37.3||23||Dockery Road / Haywood Cemetery Road|
|||24.9||40.1||8||25||US 220 north – Ellerbe|
|Ellerbe||27.5||44.3||11||28||To NC 73 west / Millstone Road|
|||29.9||48.1||13||30||Haywood Parker Road|
|||33.1||53.3||16||33||NC 73 – Windblow, Plainview|
|Norman||35.0||56.3||18||35||Moore Street – Norman|
|Montgomery||||39.0||62.8||22||39||Tabernacle Church Road|
US 220 south / US 220 Alt. north – Candor
|South end of US 220 overlap|
|Candor||44.0||70.8||44||NC 211 – Candor, Pinehurst|
|Biscoe||49.0||78.9||49||NC 24 / NC 27 – Biscoe, Carthage, Troy|
|Star||52.2||84.0||52||Spies Road – Star, Robbins|
US 220 Alt. – Ether, Steeds
|Randolph||||58.0||93.3||41||58||Black Ankle Road|
|Seagrove||61.3||98.7||45||61||NC 705 – Seagrove, Robbins|
|||65.4||105.3||49||66||New Hope Church Road||To North Carolina Zoo|
US 220 Bus. north / NC 134 south – Ulah, Troy
|To US 220 Alt|
|||US 64||Future interchange (under construction, to be completed 2020)|
|A: US 64 east / NC 49 north – Raleigh|
B: US 64 west / NC 49 south – Lexington, Charlotte
|To North Carolina Zoo|
|74.0||119.1||74||NC 42 – Asheboro||Left exit; western terminus of NC 42|
To US 220 Bus. north / North Fayetteville Street / Vision Drive
|Randleman||79.5||127.9||80||I-74 west – High Point, Winston-Salem||West end of I-74 overlap|
|80.5||129.6||81||Old US 311|
|82.2||132.3||82||Academy Street – Randleman|
|Level Cross||86.3||138.9||86|| |
US 220 Bus. south – Level Cross
|Guilford||||89.0||143.2||89||NC 62 – Climax, High Point|
|||93.6||150.6||77||94||Old Randleman Road|
|A: I-85 north / US 421 south – Durham, Sanford|
B: US 220 north to US 29 / US 70 – Charlotte, Burlington
|North end of US 220 and south end of US 421 overlap|
Continuation of I-73 northbound exit 95B and southbound exit 95
|96.9||155.9||122A||96||To Groometown Road / To Grandover Parkway||Northbound exit and southbound entrance only|
|A: US 29 north / US 70 east – Greensboro|
B: I-85 south / US 29 south / US 70 west – High Point, Charlotte
|Both southbound exits and northbound entrances|
|100.2||161.3||100||Gate City Boulevard||DDI|
|102.5||165.0||213||102||Wendover Avenue||To Guilford College Road|
|103.6||166.7||1||103||I-40 / I-840 begin / US 421 north – Greensboro, Winston-Salem||West end of I-840 and north end of US 421 overlap; northbound exit left|
|105.3||169.5||2||104||West Friendly Avenue|
|107.3||172.7||3||107||I-840 east / Bryan Boulevard – Downtown Greensboro||East end of I-840 overlap|
|109.0||175.4||109||Old Oak Ridge Road – PTI-GSO Airport|
|110.0||177.0||110||NC 68 south – High Point|
|111.0||178.6||111||NC 68 north – Oak Ridge|
|Summerfield||116.8||188.0||117||NC 150 – Summerfield, Oak Ridge|
|119||US 220 south – Summerfield, Greensboro||South end of US 220 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|Stokesdale||120||US 158 – Stokesdale, Reidsville|
|Rockingham||||122||NC 65 – Stokesdale, Reidsville|
|||123||NC 68 south – Stokesdale||Current northern end of I-73; continuation as US 220; no access to NC 68 southbound / from NC 68 northbound|
US 311 south / US 220 Bus. north / NC 704 – Madison, Wentworth
|Existing interchanges of US 220 (upgrade to interstate standards, unfunded)|
|Mayodan||US 311 north / NC 135 – Mayodan, Eden|
US 220 Bus. south – Stoneville
|Stoneville||NC 770 – Stoneville, Eden|
|||I-73 / US 220 north – Martinsville||Future continuation into Virginia|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
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- North Carolina Department of Transportation. "Project #I-4923". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 29, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
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- Media related to Interstate 73 in North Carolina at Wikimedia Commons
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