North Carolina Roads - US 220/Future I-73

US 220 and Future I-73

What these photos imply is that US 220 is leading to US 74, and then ends, possibly on US 74. In actuality, US 220 ends at the first photo, and the second photo is at least mile later on US 1, not 74 at all. One of the two 220 shields needs to become a 1 shield, and I think I know which.


Not yet I-73 (that should be a Future shield overhead), US 220 heads SB through the future I-74 interchange. With US 311 moving onto the new freeway as it's being constructed, that means the first photo probably has two signs with US 311 on them, although traffic will only ever see one at a time. The design of the interchange has the 74 EB-220 NB movement as a left exit that crosses everything else and then loops 270, suggesting potential for an eastward extension. At one point, I-73 and I-74 both were proposed to follow the US 1 corridor instead of US 220 (proof is on that page), but I don't know whether this is related.

Continuing SB on the freeway, now with Future I-74 EB as well, two idle thoughts: Will Business US 220 become Business I-73, or will they be cosigned, or will it stay as-is? And what's the preferred style in NC: "Future" above a standard Interstate shield, "Future" above a shield with no "Interstate" in it, or "Future" where the "Interstate" should be? I've seen all. Vision Drive is a really short connector that ends as soon as it hits Business US 220, so its afterthought signing is clearly a political move following the money.

Now farther north, but still SB. I guess I should have added a fourth option for signing future Interstates - leave the shield off until it's official.

Meanwhile, the old route has become Business US 220 north of Asheboro. These photos are NB, first at Balfour Ave. in North Asheboro and then at the former south end of US 311. Since the interchange photos up above and this 2013 photo, US 311 was truncated first to US 220/I-73 and then decommissioned altogether to the north side of Winston-Salem, with I-74 (no longer Future) taking over its function from here to that city.

Courtesy Lou Corsaro, in addition to being old, patched signage, this is special in having exit numbers. Those numbers belong to US 220, as part of a new NC policy of giving exit numbers to even non-Interstates. However, this was to have been part of I-73, notable for being the only multi-state Interstate highway to only exist in one state. Seriously, I-73 is planned to use existing highways north- and west-ward before having a new alignment through Ohio, and I-74, another traitor in the state, is supposed to connect similarly north- and west-ward to the rest of itself in Ohio. It makes no sense, it's not just you. Also, I-74 only uses its own exit numbers right off of I-77 near Mt. Airy, and uses US 74's mileage on the only same-number multiplex in existence (outside of possibly Georgia, which ghosts state routes on other routes). Yes, that makes even less sense, whether you consider the route numbering or the exit numbering. At this point, weirdly signed shields aside, this is just the US 220 freeway NB, because I-73 will instead follow the western part of the Urban Loop of Greensboro (also I-40), and we'll see if it ever gets further than that. The US 220 freeway used to end here, and US 220 followed (now-Business) I-85 northward from here to the (now-Business) I-40 multiplex, but now 220 keeps going to (now-Business) I-40 itself and then comes eastward around two sides of the triangle (I-85 Business being the third side), possibly to avoid lane drops (Lou's conjecture). Thank Adam Prince for some of the information in this paragraph.

Onto the multiplex with what was then I-40 but is now only I-40 Business, all courtesy Lou Corsaro. Besides NCDOT's lack of spatial relations, notice the missing space in the last photo that will be filled by an I-785 shield someday.

US 220/29 SB and US 70 WB, an old-school freeway through Greensboro, at the former NC 6. The designation was removed in 2005, and these signs obviously predate that.

The bookend to the first photo on the page, this is SB about to start the US 29/70/220 triplex, courtesy Lou Corsaro. US 70 is straight ahead, facing nearly due east. This is here for the assembly on a sign (SOUTH should be white letters straight on the background) and for the US 29 shield that's the same compromise width as the US 220 shield. And for the fact that it should also have WEST US 70 on it.

NB leaving Greensboro on Wendover Ave. WB, ending with a Lou Corsaro photo of a horrible font. That just can't be a state job. Notice that either the first sign has a typo, or the Cone father misspelled his son's name.

The opposite direction, from Battleground Ave. SB, and also from Lou.

Former US 220, current NC 704, and brand-new US 311, in the indicated directions, courtesy Lou Corsaro. But wait, that's not a brand-new sign. US 311 began here in Madison at US 220 in 1934, and just because US 220 then bypassed the town didn't mean US 311 got extended. In the 2000's, suddenly it did, eastward, just distorting the "C" shape of 311 further. (311 had followed what is now 220 up to Roanoke.) And, yeah, you saw US 311 before on this page. Talk about your "C" shapes.

Onto I-73 alone

Into Virginia on US 220
Onto US 74
Onto US 311
Onto Business I-85 (and US 29/US 70)
Onto US 29 and US 29/70
Onto US 70 alone
To I-85
Onto I-40 and I-40/Business I-85/US 421
Onto US 421 alone
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