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Photo: NC 87 leaving NC 211 (Matt Sides)
|N.C. 87 239 miles|
|The Road:||Begins at NC 211 Southport (Brunswick County) and ends at the Virginia State Line near Eden (Rockingham County). The route continues a few more miles as VA 87 to US 220 in Ridgeway, VA.||Towns and Attractions:||Brunswick Co: Southport, Boiling Springs Lakes
Columbus Co: None
Bladen Co: Elizabethtown, Dublin
Cumberland Co: Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Spring Lake
Harnett Co: Olivia
Lee Co: Sanford
Chatham Co: Pittsboro
Alamance Co: Graham, Burlington, Glen Raven
Caswell Co: None
Rockingham Co: Reidsville, Eden
NC 87 is one of the the longest state highways in North Carolina. Here is a geographic look at its history:
Southport to Fayetteville:
Fayetteville to Graham:
Between 1963-68, NC 87 was rerouted between Jonesboro Heights and Sanford onto its current routing, leaving behind Lee Ave and a snippet of NC 78.
Between 1954-57, NC 87 received bypasses around Pineview, Olivia and Swann - all in Harnett County, leaving "Old NC 87s" in its wake.
In 1970, NC 87 was moved off NC 24 and onto NC 210 south of Spring Lake.
In 1997, NC 87 was moved off NC 210 and onto NC 24 south of Spring Lake.
In 2000, NC 87 was rerouted to avoid Pittsboro, using new construction between US 15-501 and NC 902. NC 87 then duplexed with NC 902 to US 64.
The substantial "Old NC 87" northwest of Pittsboro has never been NC 87. It was still NC 93 when it was bypassed.
Graham to Virginia:
It is unclear if NC 87 used Wentworth St SR 1998 to leave Reidsville in its earliest days. NC 87 definitely is shown on Harrison on 1941 maps.
Before 1944, NC 87 was split into one-way alignments through Burlington. Westbound used the original NC 87 routing: Webb Ave, Front St to Trolinger. Eastbound NC 87 was added to the existing NC 100 routing: Trolinger to Davis St. which 87 followed back to Webb.
In 1949, NC 87 was rerouted to bypass Ossipee and Altamahaw in northwestern Alamance County, leaving behind SRs 1558 and 1569.
Between 1958-62, NC 87 was changed in Burlington to run two-way on Webb and Park. The entirety of NC 87 EB from before became secondary.
In 1961 or 1962, NC 87 was moved to its current routing from NC 65 to NC 770, leaving behind SR 2203 Ashley Loop Rd.
Also in 2000, NC 87 was placed on a perimeter road around the south of Eden, then matched with NC 14 north around to the Virginia line. The old route through Eden is 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)
In Aug 2014 (per Bob Malme), NC 24-87 was added to the new Outer Loop (future I-295) between Bragg Blvd and NC 210, to get NC 24-87 off of Bragg Blvd through the military base.
In Feb 2015, NC 87 was placed on newly constructed freeway around the east of Sanford. The old route through town is bannerless NC 87 while a BYPASS banner is on the freeway, along with some erroneous US 87 shields.
NC 87 should swap places with NC 14, as the through NC 87 route is indirect from Reidsville to Viginia compared to NC 14.
NC 87 has been improved to 4-lane from Elizabethtown to Sanford, and is a potential corridor for those trying to reach the Southeastern beaches.