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|N.C. 3 24 miles|
|The Road:||Begins at NC 152 Mooresville in Iredell County and ends at US 601 Concord in Cabarrus County||Towns and Attractions:||Mooresville (Iredell Ave, Coddle Creek Rd); Kannapolis (Mooresville Rd, Dale Earnhardt Blvd); Concord (Concord Lake Rd, Branchview Dr, Union St)||History:||
Today's NC 3 was born by legislative act October 23, 2002 [Steffora] as a renumbering of NC 136. This was done to honor the late Dale Earnhardt who died at the 2001 Daytona 500. For much of his career he drove the #3 car and NC 136 runs through his native areas.
NC 3 has not had any routing changes since its designation.
The original NC 3 was born around 1934, running as a spur from NC 34 (current US 158) Bertha to Poplar Branch where it ended at a boat ramp for the Currituck Sound. As far as I can tell the route didn't change any, and if there was a real purpose for the route it was not obvious when I drove it in 1986. The route followed Marshall Grandy Rd, jogged north on Poplar Branch Rd which then curved east to the waterfront. NC 3 was rarely shown on commercial maps in modern times. When NC 3 was assigned to the Mooresville to Concord routing in 2002, this became today's NC 136.
Today's NC 3 is the only example in North Carolina of a sports professional's number being assigned as a primary route number in homage. Virginia did a version of the reverse, naming an established route number after former Washington NFL star Darrell Green who wore #28. VA 28 happens to run near where the team's headquarters are, so a portion of VA 28 is legislatively known as the Darrell Green Highway.
I imagine there must be some difficulty in prevent theft of 3 shields....something I'm guessing wasn't a problem in its Currituck County location.