U.S. Route 74: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.S. Route 74 shield
U.S. Route 74
Length: 524 mi[1] (843 km)
Formed: 1927[1]
West end: I-75 at Chattanooga, TN
US 23 / US 441 at Dillsboro, NC

I-40 near Asheville, NC
I-26 at Columbus, NC
I-85 at Kings Mountain, NC
I-77 / US 21 at Charlotte, NC
US 1 in Rockingham, NC
US 15 / US 401 / US 501 at Laurinburg, NC
I-74 / I-95 / US 301 at Lumberton, NC
US 701 at Whiteville, NC
US 17 at Wilmington, NC

East end: Wrightsville Beach, NC
United States Numbered Highways

U.S. Route 74 is an east–west United States highway that runs for 524 miles (843 km) from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, to Chattanooga, Tennessee. It traverses southwestern North Carolina as the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, a divided, partially-restricted highway. From west of Shelby to Wilmington, U.S. 74 is known as the Andrew Jackson Highway, named in honor of the seventh President of the United States. However, in Robeson County, the highway is designated "American Indian Highway"[2] in recognition of Jackson's anti-Indian policies.[3]

Between Chadbourn and Wilmington, U.S. 74 runs concurrent with U.S. 76.

Part of this highway (from Rockingham to Chadbourn) will be an extension of Interstate 74, which is expected to connect the Carolinas to the Midwest. When completed, this will be one of only two instances (along with proposed I-41 in Wisconsin) of similarly-numbered U.S. and Interstate routes being designated on the same road.

In North Carolina, U.S. 74 is entirely a limited access freeway between Waynesville and Mooresboro, a length of 90 miles. The section between Mooresboro and Interstate 26 was fully completed in 1994, and partially concurs with Interstate 40 and Interstate 26. U.S. 74's previous alignment, which varies greatly from its current alignment, has been given the designation of U.S. Route 74 Alternate. U.S. 74 used to end in Asheville, North Carolina, but in the 1980s, the designation was given to what used to be called U.S. 19 Alternate between Lake Junaluska and Cherokee and to other U.S. highways further to the west.[4]

U.S. Route 74 provides the inspiration for the song "Distraction #74" by the North Carolina band The Avett Brothers.


Route description



North Carolina

From the eastern terminus of Wrightsville Beach, U.S. 74 follows Eastwood Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Wilmington. It merges with U.S. 17 and U.S. 421 across the Isabel S. Holmes Bridge before continuing west with U.S. 76. With the completion of a major section of the Wilmington Bypass in 2006, U.S. 74 was rerouted along Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Wilmington (a four-lane road), bypassing the city center[5]. U.S. 74 formerly crossed the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge with U.S. 76.

The highway is four lanes divided with both at-grade and controlled intersections between Wilmington and Charlotte. The speed limit varies from 45 mph (72 km/h), in Delco, to 70 mph (110 km/h). The concurrency with U.S. 76 exists between Wilmington and Chadbourn.

Parts of this highway east of Rockingham are slowly being upgraded to Interstate standards, including a section between Laurinburg and Lumberton currently under construction. "Future I-74" markers have been placed along this route east of Lumberton.

By-pass routes already exist around Laurinburg (junction with U.S. 15, U.S. 401 and U.S. 501) and Rockingham (junction with U.S. 1 and U.S. 220). These freeways are already built to Interstate standards.

Between Rockingham and Charlotte, the highway travels through Wadesboro, Polkton, Marshville, Wingate, Monroe and Indian Trail. The speed limit decreases to 35 mph (56 km/h) in some of these areas.

In Charlotte, U.S. 74 bears the street name Independence Boulevard east of Uptown. Independence Boulevard is an expressway six lanes wide at its widest non-interchange segment. Constructed in 1940s and early 1950s, it is Charlotte's first urban highway[6]. U.S. 74 shares the lower half of the Uptown loop with I-277 (John Belk Freeway), and later downgrades to a surface street once again, as Wilkinson Boulevard.

Extension into Tennessee

In 1987, several highways west of Asheville were given the designation U.S. 74. This served several purposes: one number, rather than several, designated the main highway between Asheville and the Tennessee line. The other was to eliminate the designation of U.S. 19-A, used on the original U.S. 19 since 1948, when a road through Maggie Valley was improved and designated as U.S. 19. A bypass of Waynesville was finished in the 1960s, along with bypasses of Sylva and Dillsboro and of Bryson City in the 1970s. All were given the name U.S. 19A until the U.S. 74 renaming in 1987.[4][7]


In addition to the expected concurrency with I-74 east of Rockingham, another controlled-access facility, called the Monroe Connector / Bypass, is also in the plans for U.S. 74. The bypass will run from Charlotte to Marshville, North Carolina, relieving traffic on the current alignment between these two cities. Several environmental issues have delayed this project for a number of years and it is currently being re-studied by the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.[8]

Also, there are plans to build three new interchanges on Independence Boulevard. They will be located at Sharon-Amity Road, Idlewild Road and Conference Drive. Currently, all three junctions are signalized at-grade intersections.[9]

A bypass of Shelby, North Carolina (west of Charlotte) is also planned.[10] Once completed, U.S. 74 will be a continuous freeway from Waynesville, North Carolina (west of Asheville) to Kings Mountain and points east, pending the completion of those projects.

Exit list

County Location Mile # Destinations Notes
Mecklenburg Charlotte US 74.svg Wilkinson Boulevard continues eastward as I-277.svg US 74.svg John Belk Freeway
1A To plate.svgNo image.svgTo plate.svg
US 29.svgNo image.svgNC 27.svg To NC 27/To U.S. 29 - Freedom Drive
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only.
1B South plate blue.svgNo image.svgSouth plate.svg
I-77.svgNo image.svgUS 21.svg I-77 South/U.S. 21 South - Rock Hill, Columbia
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance.
1C North plate blue.svgNo image.svgNorth plate.svg
I-77.svgNo image.svgUS 21.svg I-77 North/U.S. 21 North - Statesville
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance.
1D Carson Boulevard Northbound exit.
Southbound entrance from Tryon Street.
1E College Street, South Boulevard, Caldwell Street
2A South plate.svg
NC 16.svg NC 16 South (Kenilworth Avenue) - 3rd Street, 4th Street
NC 16 exits southbound and enters northbound.
No image.svgNorth plate blue.svgNo image.svgNorth plate.svg
I-277.svgNC 16.svg I-277 North/NC 16 North - Brookshire Freeway
Exit 2B on I-277.
A westbound exit leads to the intersection of Sixth and McDowell Streets, on the eastern edge of Uptown, and an eastbound entrance leaves the intersection of Fifth and McDowell Streets.
243 West plate.svg
NC 27.svg NC 27 West - Charlottetowne Avenue
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance.
This was originally a westward extension of Independence Boulevard until June 18, 2007.
245 Briar Creek Road Exit for Bojangles' Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium.
Here, Independence Boulevard transitions from a fully-controlled access freeway to a partially-controlled access expressway with at-grade intersections.
246 Wendover Road/Eastway Drive
247 East plate.svg
NC 27.svg NC 27 East - Albemarle Road
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance.
Sharon-Amity Road Expressway ends at a traffic signal.


Browse numbered routes
< NC 73 NC NC 75 >
US blank.svg Main U.S. Routes
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40 41 42 43 44 45 46 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59
60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
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Lists  U.S. Routes - Bannered - Divided - Bypassed - Portal


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