The Highways of North Carolina
U.S. 76 
< 74 | Home | 76 Bus | 117 >
Photo: US 76 erroreously posted at NC 242 (Adam Prince)
US 76
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  
History: 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.

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

1933 Official
NC 20 out to Wrightsville Beach
1930 New Hanover County
1935 Official
US 76 by itself Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach
1935 Official

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 current endpoint.

By 1936, US 74-76 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 74-76 bypasses Leland
1936 Brunswick County

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.

1938 New Hanover County
US 74-A southern Wrightsville Beach
1938 New Hanover County
1944 New Hanover County
US 76 replaces US 74-A
1944 New Hanover County

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).

1937 Texaco
US 76 Wilmington (1934-66)
1937 Texaco
1966 Official
US 76 Wilmington (1966-69)
1971 Official
1971 Official
US 76 Wilmington (since 1969)
1971 Official

In March 1975 (NCDOT), US 76 was extended "east" 0.10 miles to its current endpoint.

1972 New Hanover County
US 76 ending at south end of Seaforth
1972 New Hanover County
1980 New Hanover County
US 76 extended west from South Lumina
1980 New Hanover County

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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

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.

1957 New Hanover County
US 76 using Airlie Dr
1957 New Hanover County
1962 New Hanover County
US 76 removed from Airlie
1962 New Hanover County
2008 Official
US 76 moved to Military Cutoff
2008 Official

Comments: 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.


Last Update: 11 June 2012

Previous: U.S. 74  |  Next: U.S. 76 Bus | U.S. 117
Top  |  NCRoads.com Home ------------------------------------------------