Skip to main content

The Laurinburg-Maxton Bypass, The Once and Future I-74

I went down to Laurinburg today (11/15) to check out the news I heard earlier in the week. First, for those not subscribed to SERoads, a recap. I sent an e-mail to a reporter for the Laurinburg Exchange in response to a quote by the city's mayor in an article of his about the appointment of a new member for their NCDOT district on the NC Board of Transportation. The mayor said one of the new members priorities should be making US 74, I-74. My question was why was the mayor making this comment when the Laurinburg and Maxton Bypasses have been signed I-74 since the fall of 2007? His response was that NCDOT took down all the I-74 shields along the route in Maxton and Laurinburg a few months ago because the freeways were not up to interstate standards. I too a quick roadtrip down to confirm this and take some updated photos for my website.

Did NCDOT take down all references to I-74 in Laurinburg and Maxton? Most of them, but not all. First of all they did not do anything to the overhead or exit signs, at least for now:
However, all signs on poles along the highway have been removed:
The poles remain, either for the return of the I-74 shields, or possibly the old Future I-74 signs that once were here. The I-74 mileposts and exit numbers, though, have not changed:
Which is just as well, as any change would be the third set of exit numbers along this stretch in 3 years. Originally there were no exit numbers along the bypasses, then they put up I-74 exit numbers that were based on faulty mileposts, then they put up the correct numbers last year.

While all the I-74 signs have disappeared from the highway, there appears to be a discrepancy at on-ramps between Scotland and Robeson counties. In Scotland County, all I-74 signs are gone:
Again, with the former interstate shield poll remaining, here's another example:
Here, one wonders why the US 74 signs weren't moved up, unless they do not want to move them down again in a short period of time. The reporter said any upgrade of the Laurinburg Bypass is at least 10 years away. It is different in Robeson County though, the I-74 shields remain at the onramps, both at NC 71 and here at the US 74 Alternate/US 74 Business interchange. This is where the real I-74 East now begins:
Once back on the new section, one is officially now on I-74/US 74 East:
Commentary: One simple question to a reporter thus brings up more questions. The I-73/74 legislation allows states to sign routes designated by the law as interstates once the FHWA certifies the routes are up to interstate standards (or allows exceptions). Did the FHWA allow the signs to be put up in Maxton and Laurinburg in the first place, then change their mind? Did NCDOT provide the complete plans to the FHWA for approval? The plans for the new I-74 freeway from Maxton to NC 41 included sign plans for placing I-74 shields on the bypasses, did someone at the FHWA miss this or did NCDOT not include it? Did NCDOT do this without consulting the FHWA in the first place? Why are parts of US 220 that are substandard allowed to be signed as interstates and this part of US 74 not? The reporter said I could follow up with him if I have any questions, I think I may have. Meanwhile it might be ten years or longer before I-74 signs once again appear in Laurinburg and Maxton. I will revise my I-74 pages to match the current reality.

Comments

Alex said…
That is pure sillyness, especially considering that the US 220 stretch currently signed as I-73/74 includes grass shoulders, but the Ellerbe bypass, which has full shoulders, is signed as Future I-73/74...
James Mast said…
Only NCDOT......
David said…
Now if we could just get these FHWA eagle eyes up to things like I-78 between Allentown, PA and I-81 and strip down those signs! And to make that I-180 go away in WY. And even remove I-40 between Asheville, NC and I-81. Clearly that's not up to standards either, it's raining rocks!
J-Dawg's Realm said…
Whats funny about this, especially as a truck driver, is that as soon as you enter NC from VA on I-77, it all the sudden becomes I-77/I-74...and then I-74 branches off at Brintle's in Mt Airy...and then once you are on I-74 you get halfway to W-S and the I-74 designations disappear again! Either make it an interstate and bring it up to interstate standards, or dont. You cant have it both ways :)

Last I heard on the rock slide in "The Gorge" was that it would not be re-opened until at least mid January since they have to blast from the top and do more cleanup and that takes a long time.
Bobby said…
North Carolina's a mess with Interstates. The I-40 Greensboro fiasco, four I-74s, I-485...I'm surprised anybody knows where they're driving in that state.

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 152

Circumstance had me out in the Monterey Peninsula again this week.  Generally I try to take a route like California State Route 198 or ever County Route J1 to get across the Diablo Range but time had me in a slight bind.  That being the case I took the popular way across the Diablos on California State Route 152 via Pacheco Pass.  152 is one of infamy given it is really the primary route for truckers to get from I-5 west in San Joaquin Valley to US 101 in Salinas Valley.  After zig-zagging some accidents on/off California State Route 99 near Madera in the rural outskirts of the County bearing the same name I began my westbound trek on 152.




CA 152 is called the William Whitehurst Highway, at least it is west from CA 99.  The entire route of CA 152 in San Joaquin is an expressway aside from a small portion in the city of Los Banos.



The first junction on CA 152 is with CA 233 which is a small 4 mile highway that travels northeast to CA 99.






Next westbound CA 152 encounters the junction w…

The National Road - Ohio - Muskingum and Licking Counties

As it travels from Zanesville towards Columbus, US 40 goes through numerous small towns, changes from two to four lanes and back numerous times, but most importantly the old road keeps its rural charm.  Between Zanesville and Gratiot, there are four former alignments of the old road that can be found: just west of Zanesville, Mt. Sterling, Hopewell and Gratiot.  Most stretches are very short and can be easily recognized with names as "Old US 40", "Old National Road" or some combination of the two.

Zanesville:
Just west of US 40's interchange with Interstate 70 (Exit 152) runs an old alignment.

Mt. Sterling:
Another old alignment goes through this small Muskingum County village.
Hopewell:
Today, US 40 passes south of the community of Hopewell.  The old two lane road is known as Hopewell National Road.
Gratiot:
Old US 40 is known as Main Street in this tiny village of 200 or so residents.  The old highway at times seems forgotten through here.
Just west of Gratiot, US 40 …

Throwback Thursday - October 12, 2017

In this week's edition of Throwback Thursday, we travel back to December 2003 to the southern end of Interstate 99 in Bedford, Pennsylvania, where we can see button copy guide signage for US 30 and US 220 (US 220 runs concurrent with I-99 through this part of the Keystone State). Since I-99 was relatively new at the time, it feels like it was an afterthought.