The Highways of North Carolina
N.C. 54 
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Photo: NC 54 ending at US 70/NC 62 (Mark Clifton)
NC 54
N.C. 54  55 miles
The Road: Begins at US 70/NC 62 Burlington (Alamance County) and ends at I-440/US 1 Raleigh (Wake County).
Towns and Attractions: Alamance Co.: Burlington, Graham,  
Orange Co.: Carrboro, Chapel Hill
Durham Co.: Research Triangle Park
Wake Co.: Cary, Raleigh
NC 54 was born in 1929 as a new state route, running from US 70/NC 10 (current NC 49) Graham east through Carrboro and Chapel Hill before ending at US 70/NC 10 (current Miami Blvd) Nelson.
1929 Official
NC 54 Graham to Nelson

In 1930, NC 54 was extended northwest to Burlington with NC 100, then northwest as new primary routing to Reidsville, then replaced NC 709 through Leaksville (now Eden) and to Virginia, where the route continued as VA 201. More specifically, NC 54 followed today's NC 87 to Reidsville except it bypassed Ossipee. In Reidsville it used Holiday Loop and Barnes Av into downtown, Harrison St, N. Scales St, then used Wentworth St to leave Reidsville. NC 54 used a small piece of today's NC 65-87, then used Ashley Loop Rd to head for Eden. NC 54 then followed NC 87 to NC 770; S. Hamilton St into central Eden; Stone Hwy east to Bridge St.; N Oakland Ave back to NC 14-87 (except used Meeks through Fairview); NC 14-87 for a few hundred feet; "Old NC 87" to the state line
In 1940, NC 54 north of Graham was replaced with NC 87 and instead was sent over a piece of NC 93 to connect with US 70 west of Burlington.
1929 Official
No connection Burlington to Reidsville
1930 Official
NC 54 extended to Virginia
1930 Official
NC 87 replaces NC 54; NC 54 replaces part of NC 93

In 1953, NC 54 was extended east with US 70-A to Cary, then split off on what appears to be new routing east along today's Chapel Hill Rd (north side of RR tracks) and continued to Westover where it ended at US 1 which used Hillsborough St from Cary to Raleigh then.
In 1956 or 1957, NC 54 was placed on a new bypass of Carrboro, then connected to the existing US 15-501 bypass around Chapel Hill. The old route through town became NC 54-A. Today, this is Main St through Carrboro, Franklin St, 2 blocks of NC 86, then South Rd and Raleigh Rd.
1953 Orange County
NC 54 through Chapel Hill
1957 Orange County
NC 54 bypassing Chapel Hill

In late 1962 or early 1963, NC 54 was extended east again, replacing US 1 along Hillsborough Ave to the new US 1 freeway, where it ends now.
1953 Official
NC 54 extended to Raleigh outskirts
1963 Official
NC 54 extended to Raleigh Beltline

About 1997, NC 54 was moved onto the northern side of Maynard Rd around central Cary. This was part of Cary banning trucks within the Maynard Loop.
1993 Official
NC 54 through Cary
2000 Official
NC 54 around Cary

The first NC 54 was an original state highway. It ran from NC 50 (old US 1) Moncure northwest to NC 75 (today's US 15-501) Pittsboro. It is shown as late as 1928 on Standard Maps. This original NC 54 was not retained as a state route (presumably the creation of NC 90 from Pittsboro to Apex eliminated the need for NC 54) and is just Moncure-Pittsboro Road today.
1924 Official
NC 54 #1

There is an Old NC 54 west of Carrboro that ran from old NC 86 Calvander back over to NC 54. However, the 1930 Orange County map shows NC 54 on the current routing over there. So NC 54 if it ever did, used the Old NC 54 alignment for 1929 only.
NC 54 is still an effective and pleasant way to go from Burlington to Chapel Hill instead of using I-40.

Thanks to Brian LeBlanc for information on this page.

Last Update: 20 May 2008

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