Interstate 73 (I-73) is an Interstate Highway, located within the
U.S. state of North Carolina. It is part of a longer planned
corridor, defined by various federal laws to run from Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina, to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, but only the part south
West Virginia is under study as of 2012. The corridor passes
through the states of South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West
Virginia, Ohio, and Michigan.
Michigan do not plan to build
any part of the highway, as the I-73 corridor in both of these states
is already served by existing freeways or 4-lane highways that will
eventually be upgraded to freeways.
West Virginia is building its
section, mostly along U.S.
Highway 52, as a four-lane divided highway,
but not meeting the Interstate
Highway standards. On the other hand,
North Carolina and
South Carolina have built sections and Virginia
plans to build its part. Thus
Interstate 73 will, once scheduled
projects are completed, run from
South Carolina to Roanoke, Virginia,
where it will end at Interstate 81. Associated with these plans are
those for the extension of
Interstate 74 from
Cincinnati to Myrtle
Beach, with several highway overlaps contemplated.
Currently, there is one continuous section of Interstate 73, totaling
93.5 miles (150.5 km), first traversing the US 220 freeway 70.0
miles (112.7 km) from Ellerbe, NC to I-85 in Greensboro, NC then
along the southwestern segment of the Greensboro Outer Loop 12 miles
(19 km) from US 220 to Bryan Blvd., then 9.5 miles (15.3 km)
along a newly built route opened completed in July 2017 from Bryan
Blvd west then north to US 220 near Summerfield, NC.
1 Route description
1.1 South Carolina
1.2 North Carolina
1.4 West Virginia
3.1 South Carolina
3.3 West Virginia
4 See also
6 External links
Interstate 73 in South Carolina
Future I-73 will traverse northeastern South Carolina, from the Grand
Strand to Bennettsville. The current alignment will replace South
Highway 22 and run parallel north of
U.S. Route 501
U.S. Route 501 and South
Highway 38. In June 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
approved permits required to build I-73. Now funding needs to be
acquired, which may make I-73 a toll road in SC.
I-73/I-74 toward Ellerbe, NC
Interstate 73 in North Carolina
North Carolina is the only state that has a finished section of
Interstate 73, as of 2017. It traverses along the US 220 freeway from
Ellerbe, through Asheboro, to Greensboro; all within the central
Piedmont. When completed, it will also connect the cities of
Rockingham and Madison.
Interstate 73 in Virginia
Interstate 73 is planned to connect Martinsville and Roanoke,
then head west to Blacksburg before entering West Virginia.
U.S. Route 52
U.S. Route 52 in West Virginia
Interstate 73 is planned to enter, from Virginia, near
Bluefield and then go northwest along the King
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Ohio
Interstate 73 is planned to parallel US 52 to Portsmouth,
then north with US 23 through Columbus and Toledo.
Interstate 73 is planned to go northwesterly to Jackson then go
north with US 127 to Grayling. From there, the corridor continues
Interstate 75 to Sault Ste. Marie.
In 1979, K.A. Ammar, a Bluefield,
West Virginia businessman, started
Highway Association in order to widen
US 52, a very dangerous two-lane road used to transport coal from
mines to barges on the
Ohio River. With coal employment in decline and
the desire to bring in other businesses, Ammar worked to get the road
improved. In 1989,
Bluefield State College
Bluefield State College Professor John Sage learned
of plans to add more Interstate Highways. Ammar and Sage came up with
the idea for a road that would be called I-73, to run from
Charleston, South Carolina. Ammar and others promoted the idea to the
people of Portsmouth, Ohio, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In 1991, as Congress worked on reauthorization of the Surface
Transportation Act, the people from
West Virginia worked to get I-73
approved; the highway would run alongside US 52. The influential
Robert Byrd, at the time West Virginia's senior senator, chaired the
Senate Appropriations Committee, but even Byrd said funding for such a
highway would be hard to find. In North Carolina, Marc Bush of the
Greensboro Area Chamber of Commerce admitted the plan would benefit
his area, but said it was not a priority.
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA)
defined High Priority Corridor 5, the "I-73/74 North–South
Corridor" from Charleston, South Carolina, through Winston-Salem,
North Carolina, to Portsmouth, Ohio, to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit,
Michigan." This would provide for a single corridor from Charleston,
splitting at Portsmouth, with I-74 turning west to its current east
end in Cincinnati, and I-73 continuing north to Detroit.
I-73/I-74 begin near Ellerbe, NC
In North Carolina, any new construction would require more money than
the state had available, but Walter C. Sprouse Jr., executive director
of the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation pointed out
that most of the route of I-73 included roads already scheduled for
improvements that would make them good enough for interstate
designation. A connector between I-77 and US 52 at Mt. Airy was
planned, and US 52 from Mt. Airy to Winston-Salem and US 311
from Winston-Salem to High Point were four-lane divided highways. A
US 311 bypass of High Point was planned, which would eventually
connect to US 220 at Randleman. I-73 would follow US 220 to
Rockingham. Another possibility was following I-40 from Winston-Salem
to Greensboro. In Winston-Salem, congestion on US 52 was expected
to be a problem. The route through High Point was approved in May
However, by November of that year, 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. In April 1995, John Warner, who chaired the Senate
subcommittee that 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. In May,
Warner announced plans to propose legislation that made the plan for
two Interstates official.
Highway System Designation Act of 1995 added a branch
from Toledo, Ohio, to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, via the US 223
and US 127 corridors. (At the time, US 127 north of Lansing
was part of US 27.) It also gave details for the alignments in
West Virginia, Virginia,
North Carolina and South Carolina. I-73 and
I-74 were to split near Bluefield, West Virginia, joining again
between Randleman and Rockingham, North Carolina; both would end at
Charleston. The American Association of State
Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the sections of I-73 and
I-74 south of I-81 in
Virginia (with I-74 ending at I-73 near Myrtle
Beach) on July 25, 1996, allowing for them to be marked once built to
Interstate standards and connected to other Interstate highways. The
final major change came with the Transportation Equity Act for the
21st Century of 1998 (TEA-21), when both routes were truncated to
Georgetown, South Carolina.
North Carolina took the lead in signing highways as I-73 following
AASHTO's approval and since has finished and approved construction
projects to build new sections of the Interstate Highway. As of 2015,
the route is signed along 82.4 miles (132.6 km) of freeway from
the southwestern part of the Greensboro Urban Loop around Greensboro,
North Carolina to just south of
Ellerbe, North Carolina
Ellerbe, North Carolina and an
additional 15.0 miles (24.1 km) is under construction. The
only other progress in building I-73 can be seen in
Virginia and South
Carolina. In 2005
Virginia completed an environmental impact statement
for its recommended route for I-73 from I-81 in Roanoke to the North
Carolina border. FHWA approved the EIS report in April 2007. Virginia
can now go ahead to draw up plans to construct the highway and proceed
to build it once funds are obtained.
South Carolina also has shown
recent interest in building its section of I-73 with a corridor
selected for the route from I-95 to Myrtle Beach in 2006 and a final
decision on how the highway should be routed north of I-95 to the
North Carolina border in July 2007. In January 2006, the South
Carolina state legislature introduced bills to construct I-73 as a
toll highway. It is hoped a guaranteed stream of revenue will allow it
to build its section of I-73 within 10 years. FHWA approved South
Carolina's proposal on August 10, 2007.
Michigan both abandoned further environmental studies on
their portions of I-73. It is important to note that most of the I-73
corridor in both of these states follows existing freeways or highways
scheduled to be upgraded to freeways under plans that predate I-73.
I-73 and I-74 both will begin at Georgetown, South Carolina, and run
to Myrtle Beach. I-73 splits to the northwest to Rockingham, North
On May 30, 2006, SCDOT announced its preferred routing of I-73 between
Myrtle Beach and I-95. I-73 will begin where South Carolina
Highway 22 (SC 22) starts at US 17 near Briarcliffe
Acres. It will then proceed northwest crossing the proposed routing of
I-74 (currently SC 31, the Carolina Bays Parkway). After passing
Conway, I-73 will leave SC 22 at a new interchange to be
constructed two miles (3.2 km) west of US 701,[citation
needed] and will then use a new highway to be built between SC 22
and SC 917 north of Cool Spring. I-73 will then use an upgraded
SC 917 to cross the Little Pee Dee River. It will then proceed on
a new freeway alignment between SC 917 and I-95 that would
have an interchange with US 76 west of Mullins and then would
proceed northwest to an exit with US 501 near Latta, passing that
city to the south before intersecting I-95 near SC 38.[citation
needed] After crossing I-95, I-73 will use the chosen middle route,
one of six potential alternative corridors that were studied all of
which roughly paralleling SC 38 to proceed further north to the
North Carolina state line. These alternative corridors were formally
announced to the public on September 7, 2006, at a meeting in
Bennettsville, South Carolina. The number of possible
routes was reduced to three, and a final decision on the preferred
northern route was announced on July 19, 2007. The central route
caused the least disruption to homes, farms and wetlands. The
South Carolina departments of transportation previously
agreed to an I-73 corridor crossing the state line along SC and
NC 38 near Hamlet, North Carolina, on February 11, 2005.
Previously I-73 had been planned to cross the state line further west,
near US 1 south of Rockingham, North Carolina.
In February 2008, the Record of Decision for the Final Environmental
Impact Statement for the section of I-73 from I-95 to SC 22 was
signed. An October 22, 2008 ceremony marked the signing of the Record
of Decision for the section from near Hamlet to I-95.
On November 7, 2011, Myrtle Beach city council member Wayne Gray asked
area elected officials to consider using Road Improvement and
Development Effort (RIDE) funds to pay for a portion of I-73.
In June 2012, Miley and Associates of Columbia, South Carolina,
recommended improvements to SC 38 and US 501 to create the
Grand Strand Expressway (GSX), a position long held by the Coastal
Conservation League, which asked for the study. SC Representative Alan
Clemmons, head of the National I-73 Corridor Association, said such a
plan had been considered but was not likely. Nancy Cave of the
Coastal Conservation League reiterated support for upgrading
SC 38 and US 501, along with US 521 and SC 9,
after results of a new study were presented at an August 1, 2012,
meeting of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. The study
claimed that 90,000 people could leave the area 10 hours
faster in an evacuation with I-73 and Southern Evacuation Lifeline
(SELL) both in place.
The "I-73 Intermediate Traffic and Revenue Study" by C&M
Associates, dated February 2016, was to be presented to state
transportation officials March 24, 2016. It included upgrades to S.C.
22. RIDE III, if approved by voters, would also provide funding for
the Southern Evacuation Lifeline.
In Virginia, I-73 will continue north from the state line parallel to
the US 220 corridor all the way to Roanoke. US 220 is
currently a rural four-lane highway with many safety issues. As such,
Virginia has decided to have I-73 immediately diverge from US 220
upon entering the state from
North Carolina and travel around the east
side of Martinsville, with US 220 as a freeway around the west
side of Martinsville. The two will meet briefly south of Rocky Mount.
I-73 will continue its northbound journey paralleling US 220 to
the east until they converge south of Roanoke. At that point, I-73 and
US 220 will run concurrent to I-581, which I-73 will follow to
If I-73 is extended northward, from Roanoke, it will turn southwest on
I-81, running concurrently to east of Blacksburg, and then using the
Smart Road to Blacksburg. The rest of the way to
West Virginia will be
an upgrade of US 460,
Corridor Q of the Appalachian Development
I-73 will continue next to US 460 (Corridor Q) from the Virginia
state line west to Bluefield. There it will join with I-74, which
Interstate 77 just across the border from Virginia. For
the rest of its path through West Virginia, from Bluefield to
Huntington and Ohio, I-73 will follow US 52, which is currently
being upgraded to a four-lane divided highway as the King
to Williamson and the Tolsia
Highway the rest of the way to
Huntington. This section has been sporadically marked as the Future
I-73/I-74 Corridor with signs, but is not being built to Interstate
In Ohio, I-73 was planned to parallel US 52 to Portsmouth. A
four-lane controlled highway known as the Portsmouth Bypass is under
construction. When completed in 2019, this bypass will run from
U.S. Route 52
U.S. Route 52 to U.S. Route 23, just north of Lucasville. Interstates
73 and 74 would continue north to State Route 32, where I-74 would
split from I-73, and I-73 would head north along US 23 the rest
of the way through Columbus to Toledo and the
Michigan state line. The
part from Portsmouth to Columbus is Corridor C of the Appalachian
Highway System. In Columbus, I-73 would most likely follow
State Route 315 through Columbus. In Toledo, I-73 would most likely
run where I-280 runs. It would also most likely run with I-475 before
branching off with
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 into Michigan. However, routes in the
Columbus and Toledo areas have not yet been officially determined.
Ohio has abandoned further study of the I-73 corridor, since the Ohio
Department of Transportation plans to eventually upgrade the
US-23/US-52 corridor from Toledo to Portsmouth to freeway.
Nonetheless, the option to designate the corridor as I-73 once all
upgrades are complete remains open, contingent upon what happens with
the route in West Virginia.
On February 5, 2009, the governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, proposed
allowing tolls to be collected on newly built sections of highway.
One of the proposed routes includes the Columbus–Toledo corridor,
which is currently served by US 23 as an expressway largely
without limited access.
The original defined alignment of I-73 would have run along I-75 to
Detroit. However, Congress amended that definition in 1995 to have
a branch along the US 223 corridor to south of Jackson and the
US 127 corridor north to I-75 near Grayling. From Grayling it
would use I-75 to Sault Ste. Marie. Except south of Jackson, where
the existing highways are two-lane roads and a section of road north
of Lansing where the freeway reverts to a divided highway, this
corridor is mostly a rural four-lane freeway. MDOT included using
the US 223 corridor as one of its three options to build I-73 in
2000. The others included using the US 127 corridor all the way
Ohio with a connection to the
Ohio Turnpike or using US 127
south and a new freeway connection to US 223 at Adrian. MDOT
abandoned further study of I-73 after June 12, 2001, diverting
remaining funding to safety improvement projects along the
corridor. The department stated there was a "lack of need" for
sections of the proposed freeway, and the project website was closed
down in 2002. According to press reports in 2011, a group
advocating on behalf of the freeway is working to revive the I-73
project in Michigan. According to an MDOT spokesman, "to my knowledge,
we’re not taking that issue up again." The Lenawee County Road
Commission is not interested in the freeway, and according to the
president of the Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce, "there seems to be
little chance of having an I-73 link between Toledo and Jackson built
in the foreseeable future."
U.S. Roads portal
^ Adderly, Kevin (June 28, 2017). "Table 1: Main Routes". Route Log
and Finder List. Federal
Highway Administration. Retrieved September
^ Siceloff, Bruce (February 21, 2008). "I-40 Bypass Opens in
Greensboro". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. p. b5.
^ Wireback, Taft (September 16, 2008). "Old I- 40 Gets Back on Track".
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Record. Greensboro, NC. p. A1. ISSN 0747-1858.
^ Hall, Tony (March 28, 1997). "State Making Good Progress on
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of Construction". Richmond County Daily Journal. Rockingham,
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Savvy Group of West Virginians Dreamed up I-73". Post and Courier.
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Dream". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. p. E1.
^ Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike; Adderly, Kevin (June 18, 2012).
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Highway System. Federal Highway
Administration. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
^ Scism, Jack (January 3, 1993). "Coming Soon—to a
You—I-73". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. p. E1.
^ Thompson, Kelly (May 15, 1993). "Interstate to Run Through Triad
Detroit to Charleston, SC". News & Record. Greensboro, NC.
p. B2. ISSN 0747-1858.
^ Lounsbury, Helen (November 11, 1993). "Road to Roanoke Vital, Group
Says Lobbying for New Interstate". News & Record. Greensboro, NC.
p. B3. ISSN 0747-1858.
^ Catanoso, Justin (April 14, 1995). "New Proposal for I-73 Stirs
Triad Rivalry". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. p. B1.
^ Catanoso, Justin (May 2, 1995). "New Interstates May Cross Triad".
News & Record. Greensboro, NC. p. A1.
^ Malme, Robert H. (May 30, 2015). "Why I-73/I-74 in North Carolina?".
Malme Roads. Retrieved January 17, 2017. [self-published source?]
^ Fuller, Kerry Marshall (August 11, 2007). "Tolling on I-73 Gains
Federal Approval". The Sun News. Myrtle Beach, SC. p. A1.
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News. Myrtle Beach, SC. p. A1. OCLC 27119790.
^ "Ceremony Marks Step Forward for Northern Route of I-73". The
Morning News. Florence, SC. October 20, 2008. [page needed]
^ Anderson, Lorena (November 7, 2011). "Myrtle Beach, Horry County and
legislators talk I-73, cell phones, taxes and more at joint meeting".
The Sun News. Myrtle Beach, SC. OCLC 27119790. Archived from the
original on April 21, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
^ Kelley, Amanda (June 23, 2012). "Study Favors Updating Existing
Roads Rather than Building Interstate 73". The Sun News. Myrtle
Beach, SC. OCLC 27119790. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
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News. Myrtle Beach, SC. OCLC 27119790. Retrieved August 2,
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Evacuation Route, to Build I-73". The Sun News. Retrieved July 25,
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^ "Portsmouth Bypass". United States Department of Transportation.
April 2, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
^ "Gov Toll Road Proposal May Revive
Highway Projects". Columbus, OH:
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United States Congress
United States Congress (December 18, 1991). "Intermodal Surface
Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991". United States Congress.
Retrieved September 28, 2010. §1105(c)(5) I-73/74 North–South
Corridor from Charleston, South Carolina, through Winston-Salem, North
Carolina, to Portsmouth, Ohio, to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit,
United States Congress
United States Congress (November 28, 1995). "The National Highway
System Designation Act of 1995". United States Congress. Retrieved
September 28, 2010. §1105(c)(5) I-73/74 North–South Corridor from
Charleston, South Carolina, through Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to
Portsmouth, Ohio, to Cincinnati, Ohio, to termini at Detroit, Michigan
and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The Sault Ste. Marie terminus shall be
reached via a corridor connecting Adrian, Jackson, Lansing, Mount
Pleasant, and Grayling, Michigan.
Michigan Department of Transportation (2010). Uniquely Michigan:
Official Department of Transportation Map (Map). c. 1:975,000.
Michigan Department of Transportation. §§ N11–N12.
OCLC 42778335, 639960603.
Michigan Settles on 3 Options for I-73: State Still May Decide
not to Build Highway". Toledo Blade. December 14, 2000. p. B2.
Retrieved December 19, 2010 – via Google News.
^ Stiles, Linda (June 13, 2001). "Funds for I-73 Instead Will Be Used
to Repair Routes 127, 223". Jackson Citizen Patriot. p. A1.
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Push from South to North" (PDF). Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise.
Marion, SC. p. 5A. OCLC 761993706. Archived (PDF) from the
original on May 8, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
^ a b Pelham, Dennis (July 16, 2011). "Group Seeks to Revive I-73
Interest in Michigan". The Daily Telegram. Adrian, MI. p. A8.
OCLC 33972687. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012.
Retrieved September 6, 2011.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Interstate 73.
High Priority Corridors @ AARoads.com: Interstate 73/74 (Corridor 5)
Interstate 73 Environmental Impact Study (South Carolina)
South Carolina I-73 Story
North Carolina (New URL as of 1/1/2017)
Interstate 73 Page
National I-73/74/75 Corridor Association
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