Image of NC Interstate 74 shield (from Shields Up!) Segment 18

Portion of 2017-18 NCDOT State Transporation Map showing I-74 Segment 18

Where: US 74/76 from US 76 Exit west of Whiteville to Near NC 211 Exit East of Whiteville

Length: Approx. 23 Miles

Needed: Upgrade to Interstate Standards

When: After 2027

Current Highway Signed as: US 74 shield image from wikimedia Image of Future I-74 corridor sign, courtesy of Adam Prince

Segment Information

I-74 is to use the existing 9-mile US 74/76 Whiteville Bypass freeway and an upgraded continuation for 14 more miles along the current US 74/76 expressway to near the current exit with NC 211. The US 74/76 Bypass freeway around Whiteville has a 70 MPH speed limit but would need to be upgraded to Interstate Standards to be signed as I-74 (a couple signs indicate it is a Future I-74 Corridor). West of Whiteville, a similar piecemeal approach is being taken to upgrade US 74/76 to freeway standards. Already a new interchange was constructed for NC 211 in 2010 (see photo below).1 The NC 211 exit was given the I-74 milepost number 258. The 2018-2027 STIP has three projects listed as intersection to interchange upgrades east of the Whiteville Bypass. Project R-5749 is underway, work started on April 25, 2018, which is constructing an exit for SR 1001, Hallsboro Road at a cost of $6.3 million. As of November 7, 2018 work is 17.4% complete.2 When finished in February 2021, this will push the Whiteville Bypass 3 miles further east. Project R-5820 will upgrade SR 1735, Chauncey Town Road for $7.5 million in 2025, which is combined with Project R-5819 that will replace the intersection with SR 1740, (Old Lake Road) with a bridge, both in 2023 for $4.5 million.3  These projects will extend the Whiteville Bypass freeway another ten miles to the completed NC 211 exit and would make the entire US 74/76 section a freeway to the site NCDOT proposes the I-74 freeway will turn south toward South Carolina (see I-74 Segment 18).

A Piece-Meal Upgrade?

Nothing eventually became of the Easley proposals and it appears the ideas were off the table during the later McCrory administration. While no funds have been allocated to upgrade US 74/76 to a freeway east of Whiteville, NCDOT has undertaken one project, and has proposed  additional ones, to upgrade at-grade intersections along the route to interchanges, similar to what has been occurring to the east (see I-74 Segment 17). When I-74 mile markers were put up along US 74/76 in 2012 continuing on east to Delco, (mile 270), 12 miles to the east, Here's a photo of the exit number applied to the NC 211 exit, roughly where the proposed I-74 will leave US 74/76:

image of NC 211 exit sign with I-74 mileage on US 74/76, photo by Chris Curley

Photo of NC 211 exit, east of US 74/76 Whiteville Bypass, with I-74 exit number, courtesy of Chris Curley

Here's a list of preliminary FY 2018-2027 projects along I-74's official route along US 74/76 to NC 211,4 only the last two made it into the official Draft TIP released in January 2017:

Route From / Cross Street: To / Cross Street: Project:
US 74 , US 76 US 74 Business east of Whiteville West of SR 1735 (Chauncey Town Road) Upgrade Roadway to interstate Standards
US 74 , US 76 West of SR 1735 (Chauncey Town Road) East of SR 1740 (Old Lake Road) Upgrade Roadway to interstate Standards
US 74 , US 76 East of SR 1740 (Old Lake Road) West of NC 211 Upgrade Roadway to interstate Standards
US 74 , US 76 SR 1735 (Chauncey Town Road)
Upgrade At-grade Intersection to Interchange
US 74 , US 76 SR 1740 (Old Lake Road)
Upgrade At-grade Intersection to Grade Separation

"Drive" this Segment Using Google Street View

US 74/US 76 East from just after The Start of the Whiteville Bypass (November 2016)
US 74/US 76 West from just Prior to The NC 211 Exit (November 2016)