Interstate 73 in North Carolina

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Interstate 73

I-73 highlighted in red; future sections in blue; unbuilt sections in orange
Route information
Maintained by NCDOT
Length101.1 mi[1][2][3] (162.7 km)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end US 220 near Ellerbe
Major intersections
North end US 220 / NC 68 near Stokesdale
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesRichmond, Montgomery, Randolph, Guilford, Rockingham
Highway system
NC 72 NC 73

Interstate 73 (I-73) is a partially completed Interstate Highway in the US state of North Carolina, traversing the state from south of Ellerbe to near Summerfield through Asheboro and Greensboro. When completed, it will continue south toward Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and north to Martinsville, Virginia.

Route description

As of 2021, I-73 begins south of Ellerbe, in concurrency with I-74 and U.S. Highway 220 (US 220), to north of Asheboro. I-73 and I-74 travel north through northern Richmond County and into eastern Montgomery County. In Montgomery County, the Interstates pass between the county's eastern border and the Uwharrie National Forest. The freeway enters Randolph County and passes just west of Asheboro. In Randleman, I-74 splits northwest toward High Point and Winston-Salem. North of the I-74 split, I-73 passes over Randleman Lake, a reservoir formed by the blocking of the Deep River and passes into Guilford County. Entering Greensboro, it ends its concurrency with US 220 as it goes northwest along the Greensboro Urban Loop with US 421 after a brief parallel with I-85. At its connection with I-40, US 421 continues north (or geographically west) with I-40 to Winston-Salem, while I-73 continues and I-840 begins. At the Bryan Boulevard exit, I-73 separates from I-840, the latter continuing northeast along the partially completed loop.[4][5][6] Meanwhile, I-73 turns westward, passing Piedmont Triad International Airport and continuing until it crosses NC 68. The road then resumes its northward direction, stretching eight miles (13 km) before reconverging with US 220 near the Haw River.[7] It then proceeds four miles (6.4 km) further north along a newly widened stretch of US 220 to another interchange with NC 68 which was completed in December 2017 but not signed as I-73 until March 2018.[8]


Future I-73 and I-74 (US 220) northbound near Asheboro; signs were removed when the freeway was designated I-73/I-74 in 2012

Authorized by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), I-73 was established as a north–south high-priority corridor from Charleston, South Carolina, to Detroit, Michigan.[9][10]

In North Carolina, because several U.S. Highways were already planned for improvements in the central Piedmont region, I-73 was initially aligned to go through Rockingham, Asheboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, and Mount Airy.[11] The route through High Point was approved in May 1993.[12] However, in November 1993, an organization called Job Link, made up of business leaders from northern North Carolina and southern Virginia, wanted a major highway to connect Roanoke with the Greensboro area. It could be I-73, the group said, but did not have to be.[13] In April 1995, John Warner, who chaired the Senate subcommittee which would select the route of I-73, announced his support for the Job Link proposal. This distressed Winston-Salem officials who were counting on I-73, though Greensboro had never publicly sought the road. But an aide to US Senator Lauch Faircloth said the 1991 law authorizing I-73 required the road to go through Winston-Salem. Faircloth got around this requirement, though, by asking Warner to call the highway to Winston-Salem I-74.[14] In May, Warner announced plans to propose legislation that made the plan for two Interstates official.[15]

When I-73 crossed a border between two states, the federal law authorizing the road required that the two states agree that their sections meet. Originally, both Carolinas selected a route running south from Rockingham. However, North Carolina had more money to spend on roads,[16] and, on May 10, 1995, the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved North Carolina's plan for I-73 to run eastward to the coast and enter South Carolina at North Myrtle Beach.[17] Later that year, officials in both states agreed that I-73 would enter South Carolina south of Rockingham and that the other highway would be I-74. This raised the possibility of I-73 bypassing the Myrtle Beach area entirely, since I-74 would run to the Myrtle Beach area.[18]

In May 1997, the first section of I-73 was established, a 12.6-mile (20.3 km) section from south of Candor to Ulah. Signage of "Future Interstate 73" was also placed all along US 220, from Rockingham north to I-40 in Greensboro and south to Candor.[19][20] On January 7, 2008, a 17-mile (27 km) extension south of Candor to Ellerbe was completed; however, because the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) had not applied to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to add the segment to the Interstate System, signage along the new stretch of freeway was listed as Future I-73, thus not an "official" addition to the Interstate at that time. Federal approval was granted in 2010 to make this part of the Interstate System at the conclusion of work to upgrade the highway in Asheboro. The route was given Interstate signage in mid-2013.[21]

The next section to be completed and signed I-73 was the 7.5-mile (12.1 km) southwestern section of the Greensboro Urban Loop, in concurrency with I-40, in February 2008.[22] The concurrency later changed to US 421 in September of same year (signage corrected by July 2009).[23][24][25]

The newest sections of I-73 to be completed are the eight-mile (13 km) stretch of US 220 freeway in Asheboro, the remaining parts of the US 220 freeway designated Future I-73 in 1997, and the six-mile (9.7 km) section from the Bryan Boulevard interchange northward back to US 220. The Asheboro section had several deficiencies that needed to be corrected before it could be designated an Interstate. Work started on this segment from US 220 Business (US 220 Bus.)/NC 134 south of Asheboro to US 220 Bus./Vision Drive north of Asheboro in 2010. Work was completed in October 2012. When work was finished, I-73 (and I-74) shields replaced the Future I-73 (and I-74) shields along this portion of US 220.[4] NCDOT had already reached an agreement with the FHWA that they could sign the entire length of the US 220 freeway south of Greensboro to Ellerbe as I-73 once this project was completed.[26] On July 11, 2012, NCDOT gave final approval an extension of I-73 from I-85 to Asheboro to be designated as part of its network.[27] A contract to change the Future I-73 signs to I-73 shields and replace current exit signage with Interstate standard ones was let on December 11, 2012.[28] In February 2013, work crews began converting a 70-mile (110 km) stretch of signage for I-73 work was completed in December 2013.[29] I-73 is thus signed continuously from US 220 north of Greensboro to US 220 in Ellerbe, a total of 84 miles (135 km). Part of the highway completed but not signed currently as I-73 is the US 74 Rockingham Bypass, a total of about 10 miles (16 km), but cannot be signed as an Interstate since it is not connected to the rest of I-73. Therefore, North Carolina has completed a total of 104 miles (167 km) of current or future I-73 mileage.[7][30]

Construction began in April 2014 on I-73 from NC 68, near Piedmont Triad International Airport, to US 220 near the Haw River.[31] Seven miles of this section to US 220 in Summerfield opened May 19, 2017, while the remainder opened the evening of July 2, 2017. The latest segment of I-73 being completed was a four-mile (6.4 km) segment along a widened section of US 220 from near the Haw River north to its intersection with NC 68. Two contracts, one widening US 220, Project R-2413C, which started in May 2012, the other reconfiguring the NC 68 intersection into an interchange, started in September 2015, were completed in December 2017. The new NC 68 south interchange opened in May 2017.[32] I-73 signs, including an "End I-73" sign beyond the NC 68 exit, were put up in March 2018.[8]


I-73 from the South Carolina state line to US 74/NC 38 interchange is being planned and paid for by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). Environmental studies were completed in 2011, with a route that includes an interchange at Ghio Road and welcome centers at the state line. The time frame when construction will begin is unknown at this time.[33][34][35][36]

The Western Rockingham Bypass, from the US 74/US 74 Bus. interchange to US 220, near Ellerbe, has all right-of-way purchases completed along the proposed route. Construction on a 3.724-mile (5.993 km) section, along US 220 (south of Ellerbe), began in March 2014; with a contracted amount of $49.8 million (equivalent to $60.9 million in 2022[37]), and was completed in April 2018. The remaining sections of the new bypass were scheduled to start construction by late 2017; however, under reprioritization of construction projects announced in 2014, they were first removed from the list of projects to be started through 2024[38] then had funding restored with a construction date of 2022 in mid-2016.[39][needs update] In January 2017, however, the project, though still funded, was delayed four years due to a low score in prioritizing projects for the 2018–2027 NCDOT State Transportation Improvement Program.[40] On January 9, 2019, it was announced that the North Carolina State Transportation Improvement Program for 2020 to 2029 included connecting I-73 with US 74 six years sooner than planned.[41] A $146.1-million (equivalent to $166 million in 2022[37]) contract was awarded for the 7.2 miles (11.6 km) of four-lane freeway with "substantial completion" by late 2023.[42] As of March 2022, the completion date was 2024.[43]

The northernmost section, 18-mile (29 km) along US 220 from NC 68 north to the Virginia border, may be the last segment completed with NCDOT waiting to see whether Virginia is going to commit to constructing their section of I-73 south of Roanoke before commitments are made for funding. The only action taken along this segment was to replace the existing Future I-73 Corridor signs with Future I-73 signs in 2016.[44]

Exit list

CountyLocationmi[2]kmOld exitNew exitDestinationsNotes
I-73 south – Myrtle Beach
Future continuation into South Carolina[35][45]
RichmondGhio RoadFuture interchange (unfunded)[35][36]

Future I-74 east / US 74 east – Laurinburg
Future interchange (unfunded) and future eastern end of I-74 overlap
319 NC 38 – BennettsvilleExisting interchanges on US 74 (built to Interstate standards, not signed over lack of a connection to Interstate)
316 NC 177 – Hamlet
US 1 to US 220 – Rockingham, Southern Pines, Cheraw
30815Galestown Road – Cordova

US 74 west / US 74 Bus. east – Wadesboro, Rockingham
Future interchange[38]
20Cartledge Creek RoadFuture interchange to be built as part of Rockingham Bypass project[38]
US 220 south – Rockingham
Partial interchange (rest to be constructed 2023);[38] southern terminus of I-73; eastern end of I-74 overlap
23.237.323Dockery Road / Haywood Cemetery Road
US 220 north – Ellerbe

To NC 73 west / Millstone Road
29.948.11330Haywood Parker Road
33.153.31633 NC 73 – Windblow, Plainview
Norman35.056.31835Moore Street – Norman
Montgomery39.062.82239Tabernacle Church Road

US 220 south / US 220 Alt. north – Candor
Southern end of US 220 overlap
Candor44.070.844 NC 211 – Candor, Pinehurst
Biscoe49.078.949 NC 24 / NC 27 – Biscoe, Carthage, Troy
Star52.284.052Spies Road – Star, Robbins
US 220 Alt. – Ether, Steeds
Randolph58.093.34158Black Ankle Road
Seagrove61.398.74561 NC 705 – Seagrove, Robbins
65.4105.34966New Hope Church RoadTo North Carolina Zoo

US 220 Bus. north / NC 134 south – Ulah, Troy
To US 220 Alt
70 US 64Opened in December 2020[46]
Asheboro71.3114.771McDowell Road
US 64 Bus. / NC 49 – Raleigh, Lexington, Charlotte
To North Carolina Zoo; signed as exits 72A (north/east, Raleigh) and 72B (south/west, Lexington, Charlotte)
74.0119.174 NC 42 – AsheboroLeft exit; western terminus of NC 42
74.8120.475Presnell Street

To US 220 Bus. north / North Fayetteville Street / Vision Drive
77.1124.177Spero Road
78.5126.379Pineview Street
I-74 west – High Point, Winston-Salem
Western end of I-74 overlap
80.5129.681Old US 311
82.2132.382Academy Street  – Randleman
Level Cross86.3138.986

US 220 Bus. south – Level Cross
Guilford89.0143.289 NC 62 – Climax, High Point
93.6150.67794Old Randleman Road

I-85 north / US 421 south – Durham, Sanford

US 220 north to US 29 / US 70 – Charlotte, Burlington
Northern end of US 220 and southern end of US 421 overlap; continuation of I-73 northbound exit 95B and southbound exit 95; signed as exits 95A (I-85/US 421) and 95B (US 220)
96.9155.9122A96To Groometown Road / To Grandover ParkwayNorthbound exit and southbound entrance only
97.0156.1219, 21897
I-85 south / US 29 / US 70 – Greensboro, High Point, Charlotte
Both southbound exits and northbound entrances; signed as exits 97A (north/east, Greensboro) and 97B (south/west, High Point, Charlotte)
100.2161.3100Gate City Boulevard – Greensboro, Jamestown, High PointDDI[47]
102.5165.0213102Wendover Avenue – High PointTo Guilford College Road
I-40 / I-840 begin / US 421 north – Greensboro, Winston-Salem
Western end of I-840 and northern end of US 421 overlap; northbound exit left
105.3169.52104West Friendly Avenue
I-840 east / Bryan Boulevard – Downtown Greensboro
Eastern end of I-840 overlap
109.0175.4109Old Oak Ridge Road  – PTI-GSO Airport
NC 68 south – High Point
NC 68 north – Oak Ridge
Summerfield116.8188.0117 NC 150 – Summerfield, Oak Ridge
US 220 south – Summerfield, Greensboro
Southern end of US 220 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance
Stokesdale120 US 158 – Stokesdale, Reidsville
Rockingham122 NC 65 – Stokesdale, Reidsville
NC 68 south – Stokesdale
Current northern end of I-73; continuation as US 220; no access to NC 68 southbound / from NC 68 northbound

US 311 south / US 220 Bus. north / NC 704 – Madison, Wentworth
Existing interchanges on US 220 (upgrade to Interstate standards, unfunded)[48]
US 311 north / NC 135 – Mayodan, Eden

US 220 Bus. south – Stoneville
Stoneville NC 770 – Stoneville, Eden

I-73 north / US 220 north – Martinsville
Future continuation into Virginia
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


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  25. ^ Nadolny, Tricia L. (July 31, 2009). "Mapping by car". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. p. A1. ISSN 0747-1858.
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  28. ^ Division 8 (December 11, 2012). "TIP No. I-5329 (Contract DH00095) Upgrade signs to interstate standards along I-73/74 from I-85 in Guilford County to south of Ellerbe in Richmond County. Project Letting". North Carolina Department of Transportation.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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  33. ^ Malme, Robert H. (2017). "I-73 Segment 13". Retrieved January 17, 2017.
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  41. ^ Stone, Gavin (January 9, 2019). "Bypass project accelerated: Bypass project around Rockingham accelerated from 2026 to 2020". Richmond County Daily Journal.
  42. ^ "NCDOT awards contract for Rockingham bypass". Richmond County Daily Journal. November 6, 2019.
  43. ^ Hussain, Ruksana (March 3, 2022). "NCDOT Constructing Interstate Bypass at Rockingham to Reduce Congestion". Construction equipment Guide. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
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  46. ^ "US 64 Asheboro Bypass". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  47. ^ "New I-73 interchange at Gate City Boulevard set to open this weekend". Winston-Salem, NC: WXII-TV. May 12, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  48. ^ North Carolina Department of Transportation. "Project #W-5324". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 29, 2011. Retrieved August 27, 2012.

External links

Interstate 73
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