U.S. Route 21

  (Redirected from U.S. Route 21 in North Carolina)

U.S. Route 21 or U.S. Highway 21 (US 21) is a north–south United States Numbered Highway in the Southeastern United States that travels 394 miles (634 km). The southern terminus is in Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina, 14.4 miles (23.2 km) of US 21 Business and South Carolina Highway 802 (SC 802) in Beaufort. The northern terminus is in Wytheville, Virginia at an interchange with Interstate 81 (I-81) and US 52. It travels through the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. It also connects through major Southeastern cities such as Columbia, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. The northern portion of the road travels parallel to I-77 in northern South Carolina and North Carolina. The road also has three interchanges with I-26 in Lexington and Calhoun counties in South Carolina.

U.S. Route 21 marker

U.S. Route 21
Route information
Length394 mi[citation needed] (634 km)
Existed1926[citation needed]–present
  • McTeer Bridge Scenic Byway
  • US 21 Scenic Byway
Major junctions
South endHunting Island State Park, SC
North end I-81 / US 52 in Wytheville, VA
StatesSouth Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia
CountiesSC: Beaufort, Hampton, Colleton, Bamberg, Orangeburg, Calhoun, Lexington, Richland, Fairfield, Chester, York
NC: Mecklenburg, Iredell, Yadkin, Surry, Wilkes, Alleghany
VA: Grayson, Wythe
Highway system

SC 20SCSC 22
NC 20NCNC 22
SR 20VASR 22

Route descriptionEdit

South CarolinaEdit

US 21 travels 233.2 miles (375.3 km) through the state. Beginning at Hunting Island State Park, US 21 travels west toward Beaufort, where it widens to four lanes. The route bypasses Beaufort to the south, going through Port Royal, Shell Point, and Burton. In the Beaufort area, US 21 passes by the entrances to Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort, the major Marine Corps installations in the area. North of Beaufort, US 21 continues as a four-lane divided highway and intersects with US 17. The route travels in a wrong-way concurrency with US 17 south for seven miles (11 km) before turning north towards Yemassee, South Carolina, where it becomes a rural two-lane road and intersects with US 17 Alternate. North of Yemassee, US 21 splits off and crosses Interstate 95 (I-95) at exit 42.

The two-lane route continues through rural portions of the state. US 21 goes through Smoaks and Branchville, South Carolina and bypasses Orangeburg. North of Orangeburg, US 21 runs roughly parallel to I-26 until Gaston where it conjoins US 321 and becomes an urban highway. US 21 passes through Cayce, West Columbia, and Columbia.

North of Columbia, US 21 splits from US 321, reverting to a rural two-lane road parallel to I-77. In York County, US 21 enters urban areas again, connecting Rock Hill and Fort Mill. Near the North Carolina state line, US 21 merges with I-77 near Carowinds, then enters North Carolina.

North CarolinaEdit

US 21 begins as a concurrency with I-77 in Charlotte, which it repeats three times within the state. Its first break with I-77 is along Statesville Avenue, then proceeding through Huntersville and Cornelius, however, because of its close proximity to I-77 and North Carolina Highway 115 (NC 115), it has no interchange with I-485. The second break with I-77 occurs at Mooresville, where US 21 travels through the city and then northwest into Statesville. After Statesville, US 21 travels northeast to Harmony and Brooks Crossroads, before merging back with I-77 near Jonesville. North of Elkin, US 21 splits with I-77 for the last time and goes north to Sparta, passing the Blue Ridge Parkway after a major, curvy section. North of Sparta, at Twin Oaks, US 221 overlaps with US 21 before entering Virginia. US 21 travels 124.5 miles (200.4 km) through the western Piedmont of North Carolina, either combined with I-77 or as a two-lane rural road; from the South Carolina state line to Elkin, travelers can easily skip a majority of US 21 via I-77.


View south along US 21 at SR 805 in Grayson County, Virginia

After a few miles crossing the state line, US 21 reaches the town of Independence, where it splits with US 221 and continues north. The route goes through the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area before entering the city of Wytheville. After a short concurrency with US 11 in downtown Wytheville, it goes north and ends at the intersection of I-81/US 52. US 21 travels 35 miles (56 km) through western Virginia, mostly as a two-lane rural mountain road.


Southern terminus of US 21 at Hunting Island, South Carolina

US 21 in the pre-Interstate era was a north–south highway connecting the area around Lake Erie and the coastal South. One of the few true north–south routes to cross the middle Appalachian Mountains, it became an important corridor for motor traffic between northeastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, (with US 19) and western New York state with central North Carolina, central and southeastern South Carolina, and (by connecting with other highways) coastal Georgia and most of Florida.

US 21 originally (in 1926) connected Cleveland, Ohio, and Yemassee, South Carolina. In 1935 it was extended to Beaufort, South Carolina, and again in 1953 to its current southern terminus at the Atlantic Coast at Hunting Island State Park, between the city of Beaufort and Fripp Island.[1]

In the Interstate Highway era much of US 21 became an obvious corridor for a long-distance expressway. The West Virginia Turnpike between Charleston, West Virginia, and Princeton, West Virginia, was the first segment of a planned series of toll highways along or near US 21 from Cleveland to Charlotte, North Carolina. All of the other toll highways were shelved in favor of freeways built with Interstate funding; these freeways and the West Virginia Turnpike became I-77, which completely supplanted old US 21 as a long-distance through route. I-77 was later extended to Columbia, South Carolina, also within a few miles of US 21.

Between Cleveland and Charleston, all but a relatively short segment of US 21 was completely deleted in favor of I-77, the relics being State Route 21 (SR 21), SR 821 between Byesville and Marietta, Ohio, and Guernsey County Road 35 and Tuscarawas County Road 3 (Salt Fork Road), named Old Twenty-One Road and closely follows the route of US 21 from Byesville, Ohio to the village of Newcomerstown, Ohio. County Road 35 briefly becomes a variety of street names as it passes through Cambridge, such as Byesville Road, North Avenue, 11th Street, and Clark Street, before reverting to Old Twenty-One Road on the north side of Cambridge. From there, much of the old US 21 is still intact, however, some sections were demolished and redirected in favor of I-77. Once crossing the Guernsey/Tuscarawas county line, it becomes Salt Fork Road for about a mile, before joining Ohio State Route 258, which takes it the rest of the way to Newcomerstown. In total, the entire section of Old Twenty-One Road between North Cambridge and Newcomerstown is a total of 22.5 miles. The section of US 21 between Mineral Wells and Charleston is now signed as County Route 21 in all four counties along the route (Wood, Wirt, Jackson, and Kanawha).

Between Charleston and its current northern terminus at Wytheville, Virginia, almost all of US 21 coincided with either US 60, US 19, or US 52, which remained as US 21 was deleted. The short segment of US 21 in southern West Virginia not coinciding with another U.S. Highway became an extension of West Virginia Route 16.

In North Carolina, US 21 originally entered the state along today's NC 51 into Pineville, then followed Old Pineville Road into Charlotte. In the mid-1930s, US 21 moved over to South Boulevard from Old Pineville Road. In 1969, US 21 was rerouted following today's I-77 alignment, the old route was replaced by an extension of US 521. From 1975–87, US 21 moved north in segments onto I-77 to its current alignment ending at exit 16A (Sunset Road). Further north, US 21 originally followed Old Statesville Road, replaced in 1956 by NC 115. In 1966, US 21 was bypassed around Jonesville and Elkin, replaced with US 21 Business.[2]

Major intersectionsEdit

South CarolinaBeaufort0.00.0Hunting Island State ParkUS 21 begins at intersection of walking trail, road continues south to Fripp Island
   US 21 Bus. north / SC 802 east
17.327.8  SC 281 north (Ribaut Road)
19.831.9Malecon Drive – Parris Island
21.033.8  SC 128 west (Savannah Highway) – Bluffton, Hardeeville, Hilton Head Island
24.138.8  SC 170 west – Beaufort
  US 21 Bus. south – Beaufort
26.743.0  SC 116 west – Laurel Bay
Gardens Corner37.360.0  US 17 north (Charleston Highway) – CharlestonNorth end of US 17 overlap
   US 17 south / US 17 Alt. north – Ridgeland, Yemassee
South end of US 17 and US 17 Alt. overlap
HamptonYemassee47.776.8  SC 68 west (Yemassee Highway) – Varnville, Hampton
  US 17 Alt. north (Hendersonville Highway) – Walterboro
North end of US 17 Alt. overlap
54.086.9  I-95 – Florence, SavannahI-95 exit 42
63.9102.8  SC 63 (Sniders Highway) – Varnville, Walterboro
70.3113.1  SC 64 (Bells Highway) – Ehrhardt, Walterboro
Smoaks79.0127.1  SC 217 (Lodge Highway) – Lodge
Bamberg85.0136.8  SC 61 (Edisto River Road) – Bamberg
OrangeburgBranchville90.7146.0  US 78 west (Edward Street) – BambergWest end of US 78 overlap
90.9146.3  US 78 east (Dorange Road) – CharlestonEast end of US 78 overlap
91.3146.9  SC 210 north – Bowman
  US 21 Bus. north (Rowesville Road)
   US 178 east (Charleston Highway) / US 178 Bus. – Summerville, Charleston
East end of US 178 overlap
107.7173.3  US 301 (Five Chop Road) – Santee
108.8175.1  SC 33 (Russel Street) – Cameron
109.6176.4  US 601 (Magnolia Street) – St. Matthews
   US 178 (Chestnut Street) / US 21 Bus. (Columbia Road) – North
West end of US 178 overlap
Calhoun122.5197.1   SC 6 south (Cawcaw Road) / SC 172 west (Bull Swamp Road) – St. Matthews, NorthSouth end of SC 6 overlap
124.4200.2  SC 6 north (Center Hill Road) – SwanseaNorth end of SC 6 overlap
Lexington129.5208.4  I-26 – Columbia, Charleston
Calhoun132.2212.8  US 176 east (Old State Road) – St. MatthewsEast end of US 176 overlap
Lexington139.3224.2  I-26 – Columbia, Charleston
141.0226.9  US 321 south – Gaston, SwanseaSouth end of US 321 overlap
Cayce143.5230.9  To I-77 (Fish Hatchery Road) – CharlotteI-77 exit 1.
143.9231.6  I-26 – Charleston, Spartanburg
145.1233.5  SC 2 north (Frink Road)
West Columbia146.6235.9  SC 302 south (Airport Boulevard) – Aiken, Columbia Airport
148.3238.7  SC 2 (State Street)
RichlandColumbia149.8241.1   US 1 / US 378 (Gervais Street)To South Carolina State House
150.2241.7  SC 12 (Hampton/Taylor Streets)To Finlay Park and Columbia Museum of Art
150.7242.5   I-126 west / US 76 west – Greenville, SpartanburgWest end of US 76 overlap
151.7244.1  US 76 east (Elmwood Avenue)East end of US 76 overlap
151.9244.5  US 176 west (River Drive)West end of US 176 overlap
152.6245.6  SC 16 (Sunset Drive)
153.1246.4  SC 215 north (Monticello Road)To Columbia International University
154.1248.0  US 321 north (Fairfield Street)North end of US 321 overlap; Columbia College at intersection
156.6252.0  I-20 – Florence, AugustaI-20 exit 71
Blythewood164.1264.1  I-77 – Columbia, Charlotte
Blythewood165.3266.0  SC 555 (Farrow Road) – Columbia
FairfieldRidgeway173.8279.7  SC 34 east (Palmer Street) – Lugoff, CamdenEast end of SC 34 overlap
174.1280.2  SC 34 west (Church Street) – Winnsboro MillsWest end of SC 34 overlap
190.7306.9  SC 200 – WinnsboroSouth end of SC 200 overlap
ChesterGreat Falls193.7311.7  SC 99 north (Chester Avenue) – Richburg
194.8313.5  SC 97 north – ChesterNorth end of SC 97 overlap
195.0313.8   SC 97 south / SC 200 north – LancasterSouth end of SC 97 and north end of SC 200 overlap
Fort Lawn202.6326.1  SC 9 (Chester Avenue) – Richburg, Lancaster
207.9334.6  SC 223 (Wylies Mill Road) – Richburg
YorkLesslie215.2346.3  SC 5 south – LexingtonSouth end of SC 5 overlap; to Andrew Jackson State Park
Rock Hill218.9352.3Springfield Road – LesslieExit ramps not clearly marked
219.7353.6  I-77 – Columbia, Charlotte
220.2354.4  SC 5 north (Main Street)North end of SC 5 overlap
220.5354.9  SC 121 south (Cowan Road)South end of SC 121 overlap
221.7356.8  SC 122 (Dave Lyle Boulevard)
224.0360.5  SC 322 west (Cherry Road)North end of SC 121 overlap
224.5361.3   I-77 / SC 161 west (Celanese Road) – Columbia, Charlotte
Fort Mill226.0363.7 
  US 21 Bus. north (Spratt Street) / Sutton Road
228.0366.9  SC 160 – Tega Cay
230.8371.4  SC 460 (Springfield Parkway) – Tega Cay, Fort Mill
  US 21 Bus. south (Old Nation Road)
232.7374.5  SC 51 north (Pineville-Rock Hill Road) – Pineville
233.3375.5  I-77 south / Carowinds Boulevard – ColumbiaSouth end of I-77 overlap; to Carowinds
South CarolinaNorth Carolina state line
North CarolinaMecklenburgCharlotte0.91.41AWestinghouse BoulevardFormerly exit 1 before August 2010
1.82.91B  I-485 – Huntersville, PinevilleFormerly exit 2 (southbound) before August 2010
2.84.53Arrowood RoadFormerly exit 2 (northbound) before August 2010
3.76.04Nations Ford Road
4.87.75Tyvola Road
6.09.76AWoodlawn Road south – Queens UniversityTo Pfeiffer University
6.210.06B   NC 49 (South Tryon Street) / Billy Graham ParkwayTo Billy Graham Library
7.311.77  To NC 49 / Clanton Road
8.313.48  To NC 160 / Remount RoadNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
9.014.59A  NC 160 (West Boulevard)Southbound exit and northbound entrance
9.415.19B   I-277 north (John Belk Freeway) / US 74 east
9.515.39C  US 74 west (Wilkinson Boulevard)
9.915.910A   US 29 / NC 27 (Morehead Street)Northbound exit is via exit 9C
10.416.710Trade Street / Fifth StreetSigned as exits 10B (Trade Street east) and 10C (Trade Street west, Fifth Street) southbound
11.017.711A   I-277 south / NC 16 south (Brookshire Freeway east) – Downtown Charlotte
11.218.011B  NC 16 north (Brookshire Freeway west)Northbound left exit
12.420.012Lasalle Street / Atando Avenue
13.321.413  I-85 – Greensboro, SpartanburgSigned as exits 13A (north) and 13B (south); hybrid interchange
15.825.416  I-77 north – StatesvilleNorth end of I-77 overlap
16.326.2  NC 115 north (Old Statesville Road)
18.930.4  NC 24 (W.T. Harris Boulevard)To Northlake Mall
Huntersville25.741.4  NC 73 (Sam Fur Road) – Concord
Cornelius28.846.328  I-77 south – CharlotteSouth end of I-77 overlap
Davidson30.248.630Davidson, Davidson College
IredellMooresville32.151.731Langtree Road
33.754.233  I-77 north – StatesvilleNorth end of I-77 overlap
36.458.6  NC 150 (Plaza Drive)
39.162.9  NC 115 south (Statesville Highway)South end of NC 115 overlap
43.369.7  I-77 – Charlotte, Statesville
Statesville51.282.4  US 70 (Garner Bagnal Boulevard) – Conover, Salisbury
51.983.5   US 64 west (Front Street) / NC 115 north (Center Street)West end of US 64 and north end of NC 115 overlap
52.384.2  NC 90 west (Water Street)
53.285.6  US 64 east (Davie Avenue) – MocksvilleEast end of US 64 overlap
54.187.1  I-40 – Hickory, Winston-SalemI-40 exit 151
57.292.1  I-77 – Statesville, Elkin
Harmony66.9107.7  NC 901 (Memorial Highway) – Union Grove
YadkinBrooks Crossroads79.2127.5  US 421 – Wilkesboro, Yadkinville, Winston-Salem
   I-77 south / US 21 Bus. north – Statesville, Jonesville
South end of I-77 overlap
Jonesville88.5142.482  NC 67 – Jonesville, Boonville, Elkin
SurryElkin90.3145.383  I-77 north – WythevilleNorth end of I-77 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance
91.3146.9   NC 268 – ElkinTo Elkin Municipal Airport
  US 21 Bus. south / Popular Springs Road – Elkin
Northbound turn left on Popular Springs Road to US 21 Business
Alleghany111.2179.0  Blue Ridge Parkway
Sparta118.2190.2  NC 18 (Whitehead Street) – Laurel Springs
Twin Oaks121.1194.9  US 221 south – JeffersonSouth end of US 221 overlap
North Carolina–Virginia state line
VirginiaGraysonIndependence3.96.3   US 58 / US 221 north (Main Street) – Mouth of Wilson, GalaxNorth end of US 221 overlap
Elk Creek13.221.2  SR 658 (Comers Rock Road) – Comers Rock
   SR 805 (Spring Valley Road) to SR 94 – Fries
WytheSpeedwell21.234.1   SR 619 (Saint Peters Road) / SR 749 (Cedar Springs Road) – Cedar Springs, Rural Retreat
  SR 690 (Crockett Road) – Crockett, Cripple Creek
  SR 696 (Barrett Mill Road) – Big Survey Wildlife Management Area
WythevilleOld Stage Road
33.553.9  US 11 south (West Lee Highway)South end of US 11 overlap
33.854.4     US 11 north (Main Street) to I-77 / I-81 / US 52North end of US 11 overlap
35.056.3    I-81 / US 52 to I-77 – Bristol, RoanokeI-81 exit 70
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Special routes and auxiliary routesEdit

There are currently four active business loops and two known connectors along its route.

Auxiliary routes of U.S. Route 21

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sanderson, Dale (July 4, 2009). "End of US Highway 21". US Ends. Self-published. Retrieved February 2, 2011.[unreliable source]
  2. ^ Mapmikey; Prince, Adam (August 28, 2009). "US 21". NCRoads.com Annex: More Highways of North Carolina. Self-published. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.[unreliable source]
  3. ^ Google (February 1, 2011). "Overview Map of US 21 in SC" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  4. ^ Google (February 1, 2011). "Overview Map of US 21 in NC" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  5. ^ Google (February 1, 2011). "Overview Maps of US 21 in VA" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved February 1, 2011.

External linksEdit

Route map:

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