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Photo: US 76 erroreously posted at NC 242 (Adam Prince)
|U.S. 76 84 miles|
|The Road:||Enters from South Carolina at Fair Bluff (Columbus County) and ends at the southern end of Wrightsville Beach (New Hanover County). Nationally the road runs from Wrightsville Beach to US 127 at Chattanooga, TN||Towns and Attractions:||Columbus Co.: Fair Bluff, Chadbourn, Whiteville, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton
Brunswick Co.: None
New Hanover Co.: Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach
US 76 was an original US Highway that didn't arrive in North Carolina until late 1934, replacing US 17/NC 202 from SC to Chadbourn; US 17/NC 20 to Wilmington; NC 20 to Wrightsville Beach.
US 76 has always used its current alignment from South Carolina to Chadbourn, then 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 74-76.
US 76 followed NC 214 through Lake Waccamaw and Bolton, then current US 74-76 to near Leland. At Leland, US 76 used post Office Rd and Lincoln Rd, then Old Mill Rd to Village Rd NE. US 76 followed this to Belville, then used the closed causeway just south of current US 17-74-76 across the Brunswick River. Then US 76 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 76 then headed south on 3rd St to Market east to 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 76 then turned north on Lumina Ave which it followed to US 74's 1936-89 endpoint at Lumina and Parmele Blvd.
Around 1940, US 76 was rerouted in Wrightsville Beach to instead go south on Waynick Dr, replacing US 74-A, and extending as new routing a total of 1.75 miles from Causeway Dr which is the south end of Seaforth Ave.
Between 1959-62, US 76 was removed from Airlie Dr and instead kept on Oleander all the way to Causeway Dr.
In 1966, US 76 was placed on one-way splits in Wilmington with WB continuing to use 17th while EB now used 16th and Dawson,
In 1969, US 76 was rerouted to enter Wilmington on a new bridge directly from Belville to downtown Wilmington. EB US 76 then used Dawson St and WB used Wooster St. 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. 16th/17th St became part of US 17-74 (now US 17 Business).
In March 1975 (NCDOT), US 76 was extended "east" 0.10 miles to its current endpoint.
In Sept 1975 (NCDOT), US 76 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.
Also in Sept 1975 (NCDOT), US 76 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 76 was added to the new freeway bypass of Whiteville, leaving behind US 76 Business.
In 1986 or 1987, US 76 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 76 was given its bypass of Bolton, leaving behind an extended NC 214.
In March 2003 (NCDOT), US 76 was rerouted to use Military Cutoff north of Wrightsville Ave to US 74 Eastwood, then east to Causeway Dr.
US 76 is a major thoroughfare across the central section of South Carolina but is of little importance on its own in North Carolina.
Its US 74 duplex seems superfluous to me - the segment from Wilmington east could be US 74 Business.
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