The Highways of North Carolina
U.S. 74 
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Photo: US 74's Bypass of Monroe at NC 207 (Mapmikey)
US 74
U.S. 74  463 miles
The Road: Enters from Tennessee near Wolf Creek (Cherokee County) and ends at the northeaster end of Wrightsville Beach (New Hanover County). Nationally the road runs from Wrightsville Beach to I-75 at Cleveland, TN
Towns and Attractions: Cherokee Co.: Murphy, Andrews  
Macon Co.: Nantahala Nat'l Forest  
Swain Co.: Bryson City  
Jackson Co.: Sylva  
Haywood Co.: Waynesboro, Lake Junaluska, Clyde  
Buncombe Co.: Enka  
Henderson Co.: Hendersonville  
Polk Co.: None  
Rutherford Co.: Forest City  
Cleveland Co.: Shelby, Kings Mountain  
Gaston Co.: Gastonia, Belmont  
Mecklenburg Co.: Charlotte, Matthews  
Union Co.: Stallings, Monroe, Wingate, Marshville  
Anson Co.: Polkton, Wadesville  
Richmond Co.: Rockingham, Hamlet  
Scotland Co.: Laurinburg  
Robeson Co.: Maxton  
Columbus Co.: Chadbourn, Whiteville, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton  
Brunswick Co.: USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial  
New Hanover Co.: Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach  
History: US 74 was an original US Highway from late 1926. Initially it ran only from Asheville to Chadbourn. Here is a closer look geographically:

Tennessee to Shelby
US 74's initial west endpoint may have been at US 25 Biltmore Village. US 74 originally used US 25-A's northern ending. It is possible US 74 followed US 25 north to either US 70 (now NC 81) or to Downtown Asheville via Biltmore Ave and Broadway Ave where it would've ended at US 19-23 (Patton Ave). Regardless, US 74 followed US 25-A, then Fairview Rd out to Old Fairview Rd which is cutoff by I-240. US 74 picked up current US 74-A to Fairview except it used Old Charlotte Hwy segments SR 2771 and 2773. In Fairview, US 74 used SR 2203 Old US 74 and Village Rd SR 2815.
US 74 followed today's 74-A over the mountain to Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure. US 74 followed US 74 Business through Rutherfordton, Spindale, and Forest City. US 74 followed "Old US 74" SR 1595 to the village of Concord before picking 74 Business back up through Ellenboro. US 74 followed SR 1167 Main St through Mooresboro. US 74 picked back up current US 74 heading for Shelby. US 74 initially used Warren St into Shelby and Marion St out of Shelby.
Asheville to Kings Mountain was also designated as part of NC 20 at this time.

By 1930, US 74 was placed on modern US 74-A through the greater Fairview Area.
About 1934, US 74 was removed from US 25-A and Fairview Rd out of Biltmore and instead placed on S. Tunnel Rd and Tunnel Rd into downtown, then Poplar St, Spruce St and Walnut St before ending at US 19-23-25 Broadway Ave.
1932 Texaco
US 74 original Asheville approach
1932 Texaco
1934 Conoco
US 74 moved to Tunnel Rd
1934 Conoco

About 1938, US 74 west was truncated to US 70 Tunnel Rd. leaving behind US 70 into Downtown Asheville. Although topo maps show a duplex well into the 1960s, the 1936 Buncombe County is the last NCDOT County map to show US 74 with US 70 into downtown. Maps from 1938 onward do not show a duplex.

1936 Buncombe County
US 74 with US 70 into the Beaucatcher Tunnel
1936 Buncombe County
1938 Buncombe County
Only US 70 through the Beaucatcher Tunnel
1938 Buncombe County

Between 1945-49, US 74 was removed from SR 1595 west of Ellenboro and placed on today's US 74 Business.

1944 Rutherford County
US 74 through Concord
1944 Rutherford County
1949 Rutherford County
US 74 straightened out
1949 Rutherford County

In 1948 or 1949, US 74 was given its first bypass of Rutherfordton, using Railroad Ave north to Ruth and US 64 Mountain Rd westward. The old route through Rutherfordton became US 74-A (now US 74 Business).

1944 Rutherford County
US 74 through Rutherfordton
1944 Rutherford County
1949 Rutherford County
US 74 bypasses Rutherfordton
1949 Rutherford County

About 1949, US 74 was given its bypass of Shelby, leaving behind US 74-A (now US 74 Business).

1944 Cleveland County
US 74 through Shelby
1944 Cleveland County
1949 Cleveland County
US 74 bypasses Shelby
1949 Cleveland County

Between 1959-62, US 74 was removed from SRs 2316 and 2319 east of Shelby.
On Dec 3, 1970 (NCDOT), US 74 was placed on a new freeway that bypassed Spindale, Forest City, Ellenboro, and Mooresboro, leaving behind an extended US 74 Business from Rutherfordton eastward, except through Mooresboro which became just Main St.

1970 Official
US 74 through Spindale, Forest City, Ellenboro
1970 Official
1971 Official
US 74 bypasses Spindale, Forest City, Ellenboro
1971 Official

In 1987, US 74 was extended west along US 70 into Downtown Asheville (Tunnel Rd, College Ave, Charlotte St); attached to I-240 across the French Broad River; attached to US 19-23 through West Asheville, Enka, Canton and Lake Junaluska; replaced US 19-A through Waynesville, Sylva, and Bryson City; attahced to US 19 southwest through the Nantahala Gorge, Andrews and Murphy; attached to US 64 west to the Tennessee Line.
1980 AAA
US 19A Bryson City to Waynesville
1980 AAA
1987 Official
US 74 replaces US 19-A
1987 Official

1986-87 Official
US 19 and US 64 southwest to Tennessee
1986-87 Official
1987 Official
US 74 joins US 19 and US 64 southwest to Tennessee
1987 Official

In 1994, US 74 was rerouted from Rutherfordton to Asheville by new freeway south of Forest City west to I-26 at Columbus (the freeway from I-26 to NC 108 was built as an unnumbered roadway in 1975, then extended around 1992 to NC 9; also, the freeway from Forest City west to US 221 had also opened as unnumbered routing in 1992). US 74 then followed I-26 to I-40, then west with I-40 to Exit 44 before resuming its routing with US 19-23 through Enka, etc. The old route via Lake Lure and Fairview to Asheville to I-40 Enka became US 74-A.

1993-94 Official
US 74 through Lake Lure and Chimney Rock
1993-94 Official
1999 Official
US 74 on new freeway plus I-26
1999 Official

On Feb 4, 1998 (NCDOT), US 74 was removed from US 19-23 through Canton and Enka. Instead, US 74 was placed on I-40 from Exit 44 west to Exit 27, then replaced SR 1660 on the connector back to US 19-23

1987 Official
US 74 through Canton and Clyde
1987 Official
2000 Official
US 74 on I-40
2000 Official

US 74 is planned to bypass the Natahala Gorge using NC 28 and passing very near Robbinsville before coming back to present US 19-74-129 at Andrews.

Shelby to Wadesboro
US 74 used SR 2316 Hoey Church Rd and SR 2319 Anthony Farm Rd, but otherwise today's US 74 heading toward Kings Mountain. US 74 used David Baptist Church Rd, then US 74 Business to NC 216. US 74 then followed NC 161 to Bessemer City, then NC 274 southeast to Gastonia.
In Gastonia, US 74 followed US 29-74 to Chester St (SB US 321), then north to E. Main Ave (this was Airline Ave back then which E. Main no longer connects to). NC 20 cut north on Polar St to today's NC 7. In Gastonia, US 74 followed US 29-74 to Chester St (SB US 321), then north to E. Main Ave (this was Airline Ave back then which E. Main no longer connects to). US 74 cut north on Polar St to today's NC 7. US 74 then followed NC 7 through Lowell, McAdenville and Belmont, then crossed the Catawba River in the vicinity of US 29-74 and probably used the Moore Chapel Loop.
US 74 followed current US 74 to I-77in Charlotte then used S. Clarkson St to W Summit Ave to Mint St. US 74 then followed Mint St to Trade St/Elizabeth Ave east to Hawthorne, then north to 7th St heading southeast out of Charlotte. US 74 followed Monroe Rd through Rama to Matthews, then E. John St to Stallings. US 74 continued on Old MOnroe Rd/Old Charlotte Hwy to Monroe.
Through Monroe, US 74 followed Charlotte Rd, then Franklin St through downtown. US 74 then followed US 601 south to "Old 74" then east to current US 74 which it followed to Wingate. US 74 used "Old Hwy 74" between Wingate and Marshville, then followed current US 74 except Curtis Ln over to Peachland. The route through Peachland used Passaic St. US 74 used current US 74 from Peachland to Polkton, then Prison Camp Rd and "Old US 74" in Russellville. US 74 used Martin St and Lee Ave. through Wadesboro.

In 1929, US 74 was placed on its modern routing between Gastonia and the Catawba River. The old route became NC 29 (now mostly NC 7).

1929 Official
US 74 through the towns of Gaston County
1929 Official
1931 Official
US 74 straightened out
1931 Official

In late 1936, US 74 was rerouted to run directly from Kings Mountain using today's US 74 Business and current US 74 over to Gastonia. This was a replacement for part of NC 7. The old route via Bessemer City became a short lived US 29A-74A.

1936 Official
US 74 through Bessemer City
1936 Official
1938 Gen Draft
US 74 direct to Gastonia
1938 Gen Draft

Also around 1936, US 74 was rerouted in Charlotte to stay on Moorehead to McDowell then northeast to 7th. Mint St became non-primary while Trade St remained part of NC 271.

1932 Texaco
US 74 initial Charlotte routing
1932 Texaco
1937 Texaco
US 74 skirts central Charlotte
1937 Texaco

In 1937 or 1938, US 74 was removed from central Wadesboro and put on US 74's current routing.

1936 Anson County
US 74 initial Wadesboro routing
1936 Anson County
1938 Anson County
US 74 new Wadesboro routing
1938 Anson County

In 1937 or 1938, US 74 was removed from NC 151 (now US 601) and "Old US 74" east of Monroe.
Between 1945-49, US 74 was placed on its modern routing through Wingate and Marshville.

1936 union County
US 74 original Monroe-Wingate-Marshville routing
1936 union County

1938 union County
US 74 straightened out east of Monroe
1938 union County

1949 union County
US 74 modern Monroe-Wingate-Marshville routing
1949 union County

About 1949, US 74 was rerouted in Charlotte and eastward: It left Moorehead at South St (then-US 21) onto a newly constructed Independence Blvd. which threaded its way eastward and ran parallel between 7th and Central, tying back in to original US 74 in the Rama area.

1944 Mecklenburg County
US 74 using McDowell and 7th east out of Charlotte
1944 Mecklenburg County
1949 Mecklenburg County
US 74 moved to new Independence Blvd.
1949 Mecklenburg County

About 1952, US 74 was given its Monroe Bypass, leaving behind US 74-A (unnumbered today).
About 1953, US 74 was placed on its current alignment from Rama to the west end of the Monroe Bypass leaving behind SR 1009 Monroe Rd.

1951 Official
US 74 through Matthews and Monroe
1951 Official
1952 Shell
US 74 bypasses Monroe
1952 Shell
1953 Official
US 74 bypasses Matthews and Monroe
1953 Official

Between 1955-57, US 74 was rerouted in Western Charlotte to avoid Moorehead altogether (remained part of US 29) and instead used Dowd Rd and more newly built Independence Blvd.
In 1983 or 1984, US 74 was placed on its freeway bypass of Kings Mountain, leaving behind US 74 Business and David Baptist Church Rd.

1982-83 Official
US 74 through Kings Mountain
1982-83 Official
1984-85 Official
US 74 bypasses Kings Mountain
1984-85 Official

Around 1988 (per Steffora), US 74 was moved from Independence Blvd onto I-277's southwestern part. The first Official map to show this was the 1992-93 Official. The old route is now Wilkinson and Carson Blvds.

1966 Official
US 74 removed from Moorehead
1966 Official
1987 Official
US 74 intertwined with I-277
1987 Official
1992-93 Official
US 74 added to I-277
1992-93 Official

Wadesboro to Chadbourn
East of Wadesboro, US 74 followed the substantial "Old US 74" through Lilesville to Pee Dee. After crossing the Pee Dee River, US 74 followed SR 1184 Old Charlotte Hwy, then US 74 Business. Near Rockingham, US 74 used N. Lee St to US 1. Near modern US 220, US 74 cut east on Franklin St, then cut southeast on SR 1648 Rockingham Rd. US 74 went back to 74 Business over to Hamlet, where it appears US 74 used Spring St straight through.
US 74 used current US 74 to Laurel Hill and Richmond Hill, then 74 Business to go from Laurel Hill to Laurinburg. US 74 followed US 74 Business through Laurinburg. In Maxton, US 74 used Central St to Florence St south to US 74 Business. East of Maxton US 74 followed current US 74 to Gregory Rd, then NC 710 across the Lumber River, then NC 711 through Pembroke. US 74 then picked up NC 72 into Lumberton, except at the I-95 interchange US 74 was slightly south. The old one-lane bridge over the Lumber River was still on the SB frontage road well into the 1990s and the old nub tying into old US 217 just across I-95 is still there.
US 74 followed NC 72 to its eastern end, then used current US 74 across the Lumber River. US 74 then picked up Strawberry Blvd through Evergreen to end at US 17 (now US 76 Bus) Chadbourn.

By 1930, US 74 used Lee St and Ellerbe St south to modern US 74 Bus. in Rockingham.
Between 1939-44, US 74 was removed from Old Charlotte Hwy east of the Pee Dee River.

1938 Richmond County
US 74 big loop
1938 Richmond County
1944 Richmond County
US 74 straightened out
1944 Richmond County

Also between 1939-44, US 74 was straightened out through Maxton.

1938 Robeson County
US 74 zig-zag in Maxton
1938 Robeson County
1944 Robeson County
US 74 straightened out in Maxton
1944 Robeson County

Between 1945-49, US 74 was placed on its modern routing from Wadesboro to the Pee Dee River, bypassing Lilesville and a long old US 74.

1944 Anson County
US 74 through Lilesville
1944 Anson County
1949 Anson County
US 74 bypasses Lilesville
1949 Anson County

In 1949, US 74 was built o a new alignment to bypass Pembroke and tie in to US 301 further south of Lumberton. The old route was secondary for a couple years but has mostly been NC 711 ever since.
1941-42 Official
US 74 through Pembroke
1941-42 Official
1950 Esso
US 74 on new alignment
1950 Esso

Between 1950-53, US 74 was placed on today's US 74 Business in Rockingham. The old route using Washington/Rockingham Sts. became US 74-A (now not primary except brief bit of US 1).

1949 Richmond County
US 74 through central Rockingham
1949 Richmond County
1953 Richmond County
US 74 avoids central Rockingham
1953 Richmond County

In 1967, US 74 was placed on a new bypass of Laurinburg, leaving behind US 74 Business.

1962 Scotland County
US 74 through Lauringburg
1962 Scotland County
1968 Scotland County
US 74 bypasses Lauringburg
1968 Scotland County

In Feb 1973 (NCDOT), US 74 was placed on new alignment to bypass Lumberton altogether, tying into the old route at the NC 130 junction near Boardman. The old route remained I-95/US 301 plus a little NC 41 through Lumberton, then SR 1620 (now part of NC 72).
In Sept 1975 (NCDOT), US 74 was removed from Strawberry Blvd west of Chadbourn, replaced by SR 1574.

1971-72 Official
US 74 through Lumberton
1971-72 Official
1976-77 Official
US 74 bypasses Lumberton
1976-77 Official

In 1985, US 74 was given its freeway bypass of Maxton which tied into the Laurinburg bypass. The old route through town became an extended US 74 Business.

1984-85 Official
US 74 through Maxton
1984-85 Official
1987 Official
US 74 bypasses Maxton
1987 Official

In late 2000 (Steffora), US 74 was placed on a new freeway bypass of Rockingham and Hamlet, leaving behind US 74 Business.

2000 Official
US 74 through Rockingham/Hamlet
2000 Official
2002 Official
US 74 bypasses Rockingham/Hamlet
2002 Official

In Oct 2007 (NCDOT), US 74 was placed on newly constructed I-74 from the Maxton Bypass to just east of I-95, leaving behind US 74-A.

2008 Official
US 74 east of Maxton
2008 Official
2011 Official
US 74 added to I-74
2011 Official

Chadbourn to the Atlantic Ocean
The common wisdom is that in late 1934, US 74 was extended east replacing US 17 to Wilmington. However, three different mapmakers had US 74 do something different in 1934: switch from NC 20's routing to Chadbourn to instead follow NC 211 through Bladensboro over to Bolton. This would be a few miles shorter. I don't know if this really happened in the field or not - it is shown this way on the 1934 RandMcN, 1935 Conoco, and 1935 Gen Draft. However, it is NOT shown on the 1935 Official and there is no known 1934 Official to look at.

1935 Gen Draft
US 74 swap with NC 211?
1935 Gen Draft
1934 Rand McN
US 74 added to NC 211?
1934 Rand McN
1935 Gousha
US 74 swap with NC 211?
1935 Gousha

At any rate, US 74 by 1936 definitely returned to running via Chadbourn and concurrent with US 76 eastward along today's US 74-76 Business through Chadbourn and Whiteville. Note that the DeLorme Atlases label SR 1554 west of Whiteville as "Old US 74" but this loop was never US 74.

1933 Official
US 17 Chadbourn to Wilmington
1933 Official
1935 Official
US 74-76 Chadbourn to Wilmington
1935 Official

US 74 followed NC 214 through Lake Waccamaw and Bolton, then current US 74-76 to near Leland. At Leland, US 74 used post Office Rd and Lincoln Rd, then Old Mill Rd to Village Rd NE. US 74 followed this to Belville, then used the closed causeway just south of current US 17-74-76 across the Brunswick River. Then US 74 followed today's NC 133 routing north of Belville in a loop to cross the Cape Fear River and the NE Cape Fear River. US 74 then headed south on 3rd St to Market where I think it ended (all maps including '35 official show only US 76 heading out to Wrightsville).

By 1936, US 74 was given a bypass of Leland (using more Village Rd). The old route into Leland became a very short length (0.14 miles!) but long-lived US 74-A (secondary today).
1936 Brunswick County
US 74 bypasses Leland
1936 Brunswick County

Also in 1936, US 74 was extended along US 76 out to Wrightsville via Market St, 17th St south to current US 76 Oleander Dr, then east until Airlie Rd which it followed to where US 76 crosses onto Wrightsville Beach. US 74 then turned north on Lumina Ave which it followed to its current endpoint.
In 1953, US 74 was rerouted in Wilmington to follow US 17 Market St east to what is now Old Eastwood Rd at the US 117/NC 132 jct, then used Old Eastwood and Eastwood Rd to meet US 76 at the Intracostal Waterway bridge. The old route to Wrightsville remained part of US 76.
Between 1954-57, US 74 was given its own bridge to Wrightsville Beach, leaving behind some US 76 and secondary Lumina Rd.

1935 Official
Only US 76 out of Wilmington
1935 Official
1936 Official
US 74-76 out of Wilmington
1936 Official
1953 Official
US 74 with US 17 out of Wilmington
1953 Official
1962 New Hanover County
US 74 gets its own bridge
1962 New Hanover County

In 1969, US 74 was rerouted to enter Wilmington on a new bridge directly from Belville to downtown Wilmington. EB US 74 then used Dawson St and 17th St to Market St. WB used 16th St and Wooster St. 16th and 17th had been part of US 76 but the rest was new primary routing. The old route became US 421 north, then NC 133 across the Cape Fear and NE Cape Fear Rivers. 3rd St and Market St out to 16th became unnumbered for a while.
In Sept 1975 (NCDOT), US 74 was placed on new freeway to bypass Leland and Belville leaving behind SR 1472 in the Leland area and SRs 1484 and 1485 in Belville.

1972-73 Official
US 74-76 through Leland area
1972-73 Official
1978-79 Official
US 74-76 bypasses Leland area
1978-79 Official

Also in Sept 1975 (NCDOT), US 74 was placed on its freeway bypass of Chadbourn, and returned to today's 74-76 Business via SR 1435 Union Valley Rd (designated officially as TEMPORARY US 74-76). The old route through Chadbourn remained part of NC 130 and is now also US 74 Business.
Shortly after, US 74 was added to the new freeway bypass of Whiteville, leaving behind US 74 Business.

1972-73 Official
US 74-76 through Chadbourn/Whiteville
1972-73 Official
1978-79 Official
US 74-76 bypasses Chadbourn/Whiteville
1978-79 Official

In 1986 or 1987, US 74 was put on a bypass of Hallsboro and Lake Waccamaw, leaving behind a little rerouted NC 214 and SR 1757 that later became NC 214.
About 1992, US 74 was given its bypass of Bolton, leaving behind an extended NC 214.

1933 Gen Draft
Highway through towns
1933 Gen Draft
1990-91 Official
US 74-76 bypasses Hallsboro and L. Waccamaw
1990-91 Official
1992-93 Official
US 74-76 bypasses Bolton
1992-93 Official

About 1997, US 74 was removed from today's Old Eastwood Rd.
In Dec 2005 (NCDOT), US 74 was removed from downtown Wilmington and instead followed NC 133 across the Cape Fear River, then new freeway east to 23rd, then replaced existing SR 2649 along Martin Luther King Jr Parkway to where it connects with Eastwood Rd at US 17. The old route remained part of US 17 (now US 17 Business)

1937 Texaco
US 74 Wilmington (1936-69)
1937 Texaco
1971 Official
US 74 Wilmington (1969-2005)
1971 Official
2007 Official
US 74 Wilmington (since 2005)
2007 Official

Comments: US 74 is a major thoroughfare across the southern border of North Carolina.
US 74 is nearly 100% multilane and is full freeway in many places.
The concurrence with an identical numbered interstate is a first for America. This could have been avoided by renumbering US 74 as US 72.


Last Update: 6 June 2012

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