Image of NC I-73 shield, from ShieldsUp! Segment 8 / Image of NC I-74 shield, from ShieldsUp! Segment 9

Where: US 220 North of Vision Drive in Asheboro, to South of NC 134/US 220 Business near Ulah, Randolph County 

Length:       8 Miles

Status:     Complete as of 11/14/2012

Signed As: Image of NC I-73 shield, from Shields Up! Image of NC I-74 shield, from Shields Up!  US 220 shield image from ShieldsUp! website    

Segment Info

The US 220 freeway through Asheboro received Future I-73 and I-74 signage in 1997 when the new section of I-73/74 freeway south of Asheboro (I-73 Segment 9) was completed. The FHWA agreed to include all of the US 220 freeway from Greensboro to Emery as part of the Interstate system but precluded NCDOT from signing the highway north of NC 134 as a true interstate until five deficient design elements in this section were corrected.(1) Among the reasons this segment did not meet current interstate standards are that it featured a narrow median, thin left and right shoulders, short merge lanes and a left-side exit (for NC 42) (see photos below).(2)

NCDOT revised and then delayed its plans to upgrade this portion of I-73/74 highway to Interstate status in 2007, to 2010, using in part federal funds from the 2005 SAFETEA-LU Transportation Act. Originally project I-4407, covered both freeway improvements to bring the highway up to interstate standards and interchange redesign in this segment. Now only the five revised design elements the FHWA requested are being fixed along with shoulder widening, median reconstruction, new lighting and exit signage. The project area covered 8 miles between just north of the Presnell Street exit to NC 134/US Bus. 220, where I-73/I-74 officially began from 1997 to mid-2012, for an estimated cost of $22.8 million. The project started August 2, 2010 (work that was originally set to start in 2005) and was officially completed in mid-November 2012.(4,5,6) Though deficiencies remain with some of the exit ramps, NCDOT got a waiver from the FHWA in the 1997 agreement to sign this segment as I-73/74 when the I-4407 project is complete. The interchange improvements, now part of a different project, I-5105 covering 10.1 miles, from Business 220/NC 134 to 2 miles further north of Presnell Street, will include 'geometric, operational, and remaining safety improvements' with construction to start after 2023. Work is currently estimated to cost $345 million.(7)

The completed project widened the shoulders on both sides, and replaced areas with with near non- existent medians with concrete (Jersey) barriers. Work on the right shoulders was largely completed in early 2012, when work shifted to the left shoulders, median barrier and lighting changes (see progress photos below). To prevent traffic problems, most of the work was done at night. The exception was work begun in the summer of 2010 at the southern part of the project, where the road was closer to interstate standards and already has a 65 MPH speed limit. Work in this area took place during the day and were largely complete by the end of 2011. NCDOT signed the highway as Interstates 73 and 74 when the project was completed (the contract plans at the northern most limits of the project have signs at the Vision Drive onramp to North US 220 labeled as Interstates 73 and 74 as well). (8) The FHWA should now allow I-73 and I-74 to be officially signed along US 220 up to I-85 in Greensboro. The contract to put up the new shields (and new exit signs) was let on December 11, 2012.

Photos along finished section taken by Gribblenation citizen Adam Prince in June 2013:

Photo of new exit signage along Asheboro stretch of I-73/I-74, by Adam PrinceView of overhead signage approaching the NC 42 exit on I-73 South/I-74 East in Asheboro. (6/30/13)


Photo of auxiliary signage for NC 42 exit on I-73/I-74 in Asheboro, by Adam PrinceSome of the New Auxiliary Signage approaching the NC 42 Exit. (6/30/13)


New Overhead signage at US 64/NC 49 interchange with I-73/I-74 in AsheboroOverhead signage at the NC 42 left-side exit on I-73 South/I-74 East. (6/30/13)
I-73 and I-74 Interstate shields at US 64/NC 49 interchange in 
    Asheboro, from Adam PrinceNew Interstate shields have replaced the previous future I-73 and I-74 signs at the interchange with US 64/NC 49 in Asheboro. (6/30/13)

Photos of completed roadway taken by AARoads Forum Contributor Strider, April 2013

Photo of I-73 South/I-74 West approaching the Presnell Street Exit in 
AsheboroHeading south, the view approaching the exit for Presnell Street (Exit 75) in Asheboro. (4/6/13)


Photo of Overhead Signs on I-73 South/I-74 West approaching NC 42 Exit in 
AsheboroThe first overhead sign for the NC 42 Exit (Exit 74), still a left exit despite all the work to improve the Asheboro segment of US 220. (4/6/13)


Photo of Overhead Signs on I-73 South/I-74 East at NC 42 Exit in AsheboroThe overhead signs at the NC 42 Exit on I-73 South/I-74 East showing the US 64/NC 49 exit is 1 1/2 miles in the distance. (4/6/13)


Photo of Median Barrier along I-73 South/I-74 East approaching the US 64/NC 
49 exit in Asheboro, Apr 2013This photo shows the new design of I-73/I-74 through this segment with lanes now seperated by a substantial median barrier. (4/6/13)


Photo of Overhead Signs on I-73 South/I-74 East for US 64/NC 49 Exit in 
Asheboro, Apr 2013The overhead signage at the US 64/NC 49 interchange with I-73 South/I-74 East in Asheboro. (4/6/13)


Photo of standard I-73/I-74 reassurance sign assembly along segment of US 220 
North in Asheboro, Apr 2013Now heading back north, here's the new standard reassurance marker assembly for I-73/I-74 and US 220 through the Asheboro area, and presumably for the rest of the US 220 corridor. (4/6/13)


Photo of Overhead Signage on I-73/US 220 North/I-74 West in Asheboro at the 
US 64/NC 49 Exit, Apr 2013The overhead signs for the US 64/NC 49 Exits going in the northerly direction. (4/6/13)


Photo of overhead signage approaching the NC 42 Exit on I-73, US 220 North/
I-74 West in Asheboro, Apr 2013The overhead signs for the left hand NC 42 exit on I-73 North/I-74 West. (4/6/13)


Photo of overhead signs at the NC 42 exit along I-73, US 220 North/I-74 West 
in Asheboro, Apr 2013A closer look at the overheads at the NC 42 exit itself. Though the ramps were not changed, lighting was added in the median for increased safety. (4/6/13)


Photo of exit sign for Presnell Street on I-73, US 220 North/I-74 West in 
Asheboro, Apr 2013Back at the start of the tour approaching the Presnell Street Exit on I-73 North/ I-74 West. (4/6/13)


Photos of construction along newly designated I-73/74 from 2010 to 2012:

Work began to upgrade the US 220 roadway in July 2010 with construction signs placed ahead and at the work zone:

Photo of Road Construction Warning signs on US 220 South in AsheboroThe first sign of construction ahead, going southbound just before the Speed Limit dropped from 65 to 55 miles per hour. (7/25/10)


Photo of Reconstructed Vision Drive Off-Ramp from US 220 North in AsheboroApproaching the Vision Drive Off-ramp (with sign installation proceeding) on US 220 South, June 2012. (6/10/12)


Photo of Vision Drive Exit off of US 220 North in AsheboroThe work zone before the Fayetteville Street/Vision Drive Exit in July 2010, no construction had started at that time. (7/25/10)


View of Reconstructed Pineview St Exit off of I-73/I-74 in AsheboroApproaching the Pineview Street Exit Off Ramp on US 220 South in June 2012, Most of the median work has been completed in this section. (6/10/12)


Photo of construction on US 220 at Pineview Street exit in AsheboroSimilar view heading south on US 220 at Pineview Street Exit back in October 2011. The guardrail placements on the shoulders were new, work on the widening of the northbound on ramp to the left continues, new posts for the new exit gore sign on the right. (10/13/11)


View of completed overhead signs for NC 42 exit off I-73/I-74 in Asheboro, 
courtesy of JC AustinView from I-73 North/I-74 West on-ramp of completed overhead signage for NC 42. Photo courtesy of J. Austin Carter (10/21/12)


Photo of I-73/I-74 near Presnell Street exit in AsheboroProceeding under the Presnell Street bridge on US 220 Southbound in June 2012. Median work almost complete, support posts for overhead signs for the NC 42 exit had recently been installed. (6/10/12)


Photo of road construction on US 220 near NC 42 exit in AsheboroApproaching the left-hand NC 42 Exit on US 220 South. The travel lanes will shift slightly to the left when work is completed on the left side. As will the overhead signage to what was depicted in the plans above. (6/10/12)


Photo of right shoulder construction near NC 42 exit along I-73/I-74 
in AsheboroEarlier closeup (I almost drove too close) view of new wider shoulders and guardrail installation along US 220 South before NC 42 exit in October 2011. (10/13/11)


Photo of construction near NC 42 Exit on I-73/I-74 in AsheboroThe view between NC 42 ramps on US 220 SB in June 2012, not as much progress along the left shoulder here. (6/10/12)


Photo of construction on right shoulders along I-73/I-74 in AsheboroProgress on widening the right shoulder along US 220 South between the NC 42 ramps in October 2011. (10/13/11)

Photo of new sign posts for I-73/I-74 south of NC 42 in AsheboroNew sign posts but remaining median work along US 220 SB 1/2 mile south of NC 42 interchange in June 2012. (6/10/12)


Photo of median construction near US 64/NC 49 on I-73/I-74 in AsheboroMedian work is closer to completion approaching US 64/NC 49 interchange on US 220 in June 2012. (6/10/12)


Photo of US 64/NC 49 Interchange under construction on I-73/I-74 in 
AsheboroView approaching US 64/NC 49 interchange on US 220 South in June 2012. Median work close to completion, lighting installed, posts for exit signs up. (6/10/12)


Photo of overhead sign supports for future US 64/NC 49 Exit sign in 
AsheboroView approaching US 64/NC 49 interchange in October 2011. The supports for overhead signage in the median, plus support poles for new exit gore and informational signage on the right had been installed. The tall pole is a new light structure. (10/13/11)


Photo of new I-73/I-74 overhead signage on US 64/NC 49 in Asheboro, courtesy 
of JC AustinFinal placement of overhead signage for the US 64/NC 49 exit on now I-73 North/I-73 West in October 2012. (10/21/12) Photo courtesy of J. Austin Carter.


Photo of median construction along I-73/I-74 near US 64/NC 49 ExitRemaining median work is needed south of the US 64/NC 49 interchange on US 220 Southbound in June 2012. The construction area ends 1/2 mile further south after McDowell Rd. Most of this work had been completed by July. (6/10/12)


Photo of I-73 South/I-74 West South of McDowell Road in AsheboroScene along US 220 South of McDowell Road exit in October 2011, most of the work has been completed south of here to the Business 220/NC 134 Exit. There still needed new signage to complete the project. (10/13/11)


Photo of I-74/I-73 Error Shield in AsheboroThe first official I-73 sign north of Exit 51 (now Exit 68). Unfortunately, it is wrong for two reasons, I-74 on top and West I-74? (6/10/12) *For a better photo of a new correct assembly, see the next segment.


Image of I-73 Milemarker 75 in Asheboro, from J.C. AustinPhoto showing installation of new I-73 mile markers along the northern section of the construction area at the project's conclusion in October 2012. (10/21/12) Photo courtesy of J. Austin Carter.


Photo of New I-73 Mile 71 mile marker in AsheboroThe new I-73 mile markers, here southbound at mile 71, began to appear by June 2012. (6/10/12)


Photo of new exit sign for US 220 Business/NC 134 with New Exit Number 68Along with new I-73 mile markers come new I-73 exit numbers* on the new exit signs in June 2012. This was Exit 51 for Bus. 220/NC 134. (6/10/12)


New I-73/I-74 signage along US 220 Business at new Exit 68 in Asheboro
 (courtesy of JC Austin)Example of new Interstate 73 and 74 shields replacing Future shields at southbound on-ramp for new Exit 68 (only the shields on the left needed to be changed, however, it appears the entire assembly was replaced. (10/21/12) Photo courtesy of J. Austin Carter.


New I-73/I-74 signage at New Exit 68 interchange in Asheboro, courtesy of 
JC AustinNew shields for I-73 North and I-74 West (and US 220) heading under the bridge toward the Exit 68 northbound on-ramp. (10/21/12) Photo courtesy of J. Austin Carter.


View of US 220 (Future I-73/I-74) Southbound freeway near Asheboro, August 
2011A couple miles further down South US 220 showing similar progress completing the southern section in October 2011. The construction signs indicate a lane closure at a bridge over the roadway. (10/13/11)


Photo of US South freeway near Asheboro, NC showing construction progress, 
August 2011Lane closure approaching the Business 220 Exit Southbound, shoulder certainly is wide enough here now. (10/13/11)


Pre-Construction Segment Photos Taken 2002-2010

The photos below are of the US 220 freeway through Asheboro while it was signed Future I-73 and I-74 beginning in 1997. In 2001/2002 NCDOT also put up Future Interstate 73/74 sign assemblies near US 220 (see photo below), both near on-ramps and, in the case of US 64, at the intersection with Business US 220, a mile east. These signs, within the construction zone will also be updated with Interstate shields. The original first sign assembly going northbound on US 220 after the NC 134/Business 220 jumped the gun since 1997; it read North Interstate 73 and West Future Interstate 74 (:

Image of I-73/Future I-74 sign assembly on US 220 North in AsheboroHere's the long promised photo, taken 1/28/09. This was replaced by an official I-73/74 assembly in the spring of 2012)


Photo of signage for I-73/I-74 on US 64 in AsheboroIntersection of US 64 West and US 220 (Future I-73/74), Asheboro. (Revised photo 6/26/09)


Photo of signage at interchange of US 64/NS 49 with US 220 (Future I-73/
I-74) in AsheboroThe overhead signs were not changed, still indicating only US 220, until the reconstruction project was finished in the fall of 2012. (6/25/09)


Photo of NC 42 Exit from US 220 North (Future I-73/I-74) in AsheboroThe deficiencies of the US 220 freeway in this area were characterized with the NC 42 Exit, which is a left lane exit going both directions.


Image of plans for Upgraded Signage for I-73/I-74 Exit 74 in AsheboroThese are construction plans for the signs put after work was completed. The replacement of the interchange will have to wait for another contract. From NCDOT Project I-4407, Contract C202422 plans, Released 5/18/10.(8)


A more detailed view of the map excerpt above:

Segment 8 Exit Number Changes

*Based on NCDOT plans, confirmed by in an Asheboro paper article, (9) and then by the new exit signs, here is the final exit numbering scheme following the completion of Project I-4407 in October 2012 for this segment, proceeding north to south:


Interchange

Old (US 220) Exit Number

New (I-73) Exit Number

Vision Drive

-- (59)**

76

Presnell Street

-- (58)**

75

NC 42 (Left Exit)

-- (57)**

74

US 64 West/

NC 49 South

--(55B)**

72B

US 64 East/

NC 49 North

-- (55A)**

72A

McDowell Rd/Randolph CC

-- (54)**

71(updated 5/2012)

US 220 Business/

NC 134

51

68 (updated 5/2012)