The Highways of North Carolina
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I-20  an occasional dream
Formerly: I-20 is an original interstate corridor that was eventually built to end at I-95 in Florence, SC.
The earliest known indication somebody thought about extending I-20 to Wilmington was from August 1963 in this (scroll up a little) newspaper cartoon discovered by Urban Prairie Schooner which had no accompanying column about it.
In May 2003, then-Governor Mike Easley released the Strategic Transportation Plan for Southeastern North Carolina which included extending I-20 along the US 76 corridor from Florence to Wilmington. Some of this would overlap with the future I-74 east of Chadbourn. South Carolina has shown no interest in picking up on this idea, which has been proposed before.
In Oct 2009, the Wilmington Star News has an article stating that local transportation officials were bringing up the idea of extending I-20 to Wilmington by using I-95 north to Lumberton then east on I-74 and US 76 to Wilmington.
South Carolina did consider extending I-20 east in the past: According to the Book, "The South Carolina Highway Department: 1917-1987" by John Hammond Moore:
Traffic trying to reach Myrtle Beach was thought to be problematic in the late 1950s (notably Marion) where cops had to supplement traffic signals. It was considered a crisis by 1966. This was the impetus for the construction of SC 576. US 501 had already bypassed Conway and multilaned over to the beach in 1959. My guess is that there was no push for I-20's original plan to go to Myrtle Beach because the state was already addressing it. Also there were louder voices in SC arguing about I-95 being too far from Charleston and I-26 not going to Greenville among other gripes. In 1972 a toll road bill existed and two of the projects suggested were a Myrtle Beach connector to I-95 and a Myrtle Beach connector to Rock Hill/Charlotte area. After several years of study the SCDOT concluded that toll roads in SC would not be workable financially and fee increases to finance projects were shot down by the General Assembly.
The book also notes that then-Senator Hollings tried very hard in 1986 to win federal money for a 69-mile highway from I-95 to Myrtle Beach. I vaguely remember newspaper articles about extending I-20 from that time or earlier but obviously he was not successful.

Last Update: 26 October 2013

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