The Highways of North Carolina
N.C. 73 
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Photo: NC 73 from the new US 220 freeway (Adam Prince)
NC 73
N.C. 73  123 miles
The Road: Begins at NC 27 near Boger City (Lincoln County) and ends at US 15-501 Eastwood (Moore County)
Towns and Attractions: Lincoln Co: None
Mecklenburg Co: Lake Norman
Cabarrus Co: Concord, Mt. Pleasant
Stanly Co: Albemarle
Montgomery Co: Mount Gilead
Richmond Co: None
Montgomery Co: None
Moore Co: West End
History: NC 73 was born in late 1934, beginning at NC 18 and replacing NC 113 from Toluca to Newton; replacing NC 271 from Newton to Triangle; replacing NC 74 from Triangle to Pee Dee; replacing NC 515 from Pee Dee to Mount Gilead; replacing NC 51 from Mount Gilead to Ellerbe; NC 75 from Ellerbe to West End where it ended at NC 2 (now NC 211).

1922 Auto Trails
Original NC 51 and NC 74 in Montgomery/Richmond Co.
1935 Gen Draft
NC 73 replacing NC 51/74

In 1940, NC 73 west was trucated to NC 16 Triangle. Toluca to Newton became part of NC 10 and Newton to Denver became part of NC 16.

1933 official map
NC 113 and NC 271 Toluca to Triangle
1936 Official
NC 73 Toluca to Triangle
1941 Official
NC 73 truncated to Triangle

Also in 1940, NC 73 was extended east as new primary routing to US 15-501 Eastwood.

1929 Blue Book
NC 75 Ellerbe to West End
1936 official map
NC 73 replaces NC 75
1941 Rand McN
NC 73 extended to Eastwood

Between 1954-57, NC 73 was split into one-way alignments on the east side of Albemarle, with WB moving to Pee Dee Ave.
About 1963, NC 73 had to be rerouted for the creation of Lake Norman. Thus, NC 73's west end on NC 16 was moved 3 miles south near Lowesville. The Lincoln County side was essentially new construction and the old 73 east of Triangle became SR 1439 Unity Church Rd. On the Mecklenburg side, there was new construction from the bridge to Hicks Crossroads, then an upgrade to SR 2135. The old alignment became SR 2151 Jetton Rd.

1934 Gen Draft
NC 74 Triangle to Concord
1936 Official
NC 73 replaces NC 74
1962 Gen Draft
NC 73 rerouted around Lake Norman

About 1967, NC 73 was extended west to its current end at NC 27. From NC 16 west about halfway was new construction, while the remainder was a renumbering of some of NC 273.

1965 Official
NC 273 west towards Lincolnton
1968 Official
NC 73 extended to NC 27

Around 1968, NC 73 was rerouted in Albermarle to use US 52 south to the NC 24-27 bypass, then east back to the old 73. Main St east of US 52 became SR 1597.

1962 Stanly County
NC 73 on one-way splits
1968 Stanly County
NC 73 bypasses Albemarle

In 1979, NC 73 was rerouted at Cornelius to follow NC 115 south to Caldwell, then east as an upgrade to SR 2433 back to the initial NC 73 routing near Cabarrus County. The old route had followed NC 115 north to Davidson, then southeast on Davidson-Concord Rd.
Between 1980-82, Official Maps imply NC 73 was rerouted to avoid NC 115 altogether by extendeing NC 73 west over new routing to US 21, then north to NC 73 at its interchange with I-77. It is unclear if there was a 73 Business created from this.
In the late 1990s, Official maps imply the piece of NC 73 between US 21 and NC 115 was extended west again back to NC 73. Meanwhile the map shows the original NC 73 northeast to I-77 and possibly Cornelius as still primary (73 Business?) through the 1999 issue. I have a 1981 Champion map of the area that shows Sam Furr Rd open all the way west to NC 73 and it shows NC 73 on both routes.

1976 Official
NC 73 post-Lake Norman
1979-80 Official
NC 73 changes NC 115 direction
1982-83 Official
NC 73 moved to US 21?
1999 Official
NC 73 moved to US 21?

The 2008 Official shows NC 73 extended east of long-time US 220 to the new I-73/74, then duplexing north on the freeway to the NC 73 exit. However, signage in the field clearly shows NC 73 staying where it had been, along what is now US 220 ALT.

2006 official map
NC 73 historical routing
2008 official map
NC 73 moved onto the interstate?

NC 73 now joins US 74 as crossing (and maybe joining) an interstate with the same number.
It appears NC 73's Concord routing has never changed.
NC 73 uses the historic Swift Island Bridge, which Adam Prince profiles here.

Last Update: 10 November 2008

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