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Photo: US 421 TRUCK in Wilmington (Mapmikey)
|U.S. 421 320 miles|
Begins at Fort Fisher (New Hanover County) and ends at the Tennessee State Line near Vilas (Watauga County).
Nationally the route runs from Fort Fisher to Michigan City, IN
|Towns and Attractions:||New Hanover Co.: Fort Fisher, Carolina Beach, Wilmington
Brunswick Co.: USS North Carolina Memorial
Pender Co.: None
Duplin Co.: None
Sampson Co.: Clinton
Harnett Co.: Dunn, Buies Creek, Lillington
Lee Co.: Sanford
Chatham Co.: Siler City
Randolph Co.: Liberty
Guilford Co.: Greensboro
Forsyth Co.: Kernersville, Winston-Salem, Lewisville
Yadkin Co.: Yadkinville
Wilkes Co.: Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro
Watauga Co.: Boone
US 421 appeared in 1930 as an addition to NC 60, running only from Boone to Greensboro.
In 1932, US 421 replaced US 321 from Boone to Tennessee and was also extended southeast with NC 60 to Wilmington.
Here is a more detailed look at US 421's history:
New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Sampson Counties:
In 1954, US 421 was rerouted to avoid Castle Hayne and instead used its current routing south to today's US 74/NC 133. US 421 then cut southeast to cross the river with US 17-74-76 onto Parsley and then to 3rd St as it had historically run. The old route to Castle Hayne became NC 210 and US 117 remained in place south to Wilmington.
Between 1954-57, US 421 was removed from Kitty Fork Rd northwest of Clinton, as well as the Old US 421 loop near Harnett County line.
In 1965, US 421 was given its bypass of Harrells leaving behind NC 41-411 and Wildcat Rd. This gave US 421 a few hundred feet in Duplin County for the first time, which is fully signed.
In 1968, US 421 was placed on newly constructed freeway at the south end of the Clinton Bypass, as it runs today, leaving behind bits of NC 24 and US 701, which was not added to the freeway at this time.
In Sept 1969 (NCDOT), US 421 was placed on its current crossing of the Cape Fear River. 3rd St north of Wooster became unnumbered (though became US 421 Business for a time later).
Between 1969-72, US 421 was removed from SR 1920 Quewiffle Rd through Taylors Bridge.
US 421 through Harrells and Taylors Bridge
1962 Sampson County
US 421 bypasses Harrells
1968 Sampson County
US 421 bypasses Taylors Bridge
1972 Sampson County
In Dec 1984 (NCDOT), US 421 was removed from Point Harbor Rd at the Cape Fear River.
Harnett, Lee, Chatham, Randolph Counties:
Also between 1954-57, US 421 was removed from SR 2195 Thrift/Murchison Rds in the Gulf area in southeastern Chatham County.
In 1958, US 421 was placed on Cumberland Ave both directions through Dunn, then also was placed on today's E Jackson Blvd bypassing Erwin. The old route became SR 1718 Denim Dr and a little NC 82-217.
In 1962, US 421 was removed from SR 1291 Old US 421 through Luart, Mamers, and Arlington and placed instead on its current routing west of Lillington.
In June 1966 (NCDOT), US 421 was removed from a portion of Lee Ave and Main St in southern Sanford and placed on mostly new construction (now Horner Blvd). The Main St portion became an extended NC 78.
Between 1963-68, US 421 was rerouted in Siler City using Chatham-Fayetteville-2nd instead of Chatham-Beaver-2nd.
In Feb 1969 (NCDOT), US 421 was given a bypass of Bear Creek, Bonlee, and Mt. Vernon Springs, leaving behind SR 1174 Old US 421.
In June 1972 (NCDOT), US 421 was given a bypass of Goldston, leaving behind SR 2333 Ralph Sipe Rd and more SR 1176 Main St.
In Oct 1973 (NCDOT), US 421 was removed from SR 1384 Forestwood Plank Rd plus abandoned routing east of Deep River.
In April 1975 (NCDOT), US 421 was given its bypass of Liberty and Julian. This left behind some NC 62.
In Oct 1977 (NCDOT), US 421 was put on mostly new construction (plus a bit of NC 87) to avoid Broadway, leaving behind some NC 42 plus SR 1579 Broadway Rd/Main St.
In Jan 1991 (NCDOT), US 421 was given its freeway bypass of Siler City and Staley, leaving behind a bit of S. Chatham Blvd Ext plus more Old US 421.
In Feb 2015, US 421 was placed on a bypass of Sanford around the east and north of town. Parts of this bypass were opened and designated as NC 87 a few years earlier. The old route through Sanford became US 421 Business.
Guilford and Forsyth Counties:
US 421's original south end in 1930 was Walker at Aycock (US 29-70). US 421 followed Walker Ave, then W. Market St through Frienship to Colfax where the route becomes Mountain Rd. US 421 followed Mountain Rd through Kernersville (partly NC 66 now), then Old Greensboro Rd to 5th St through Winston Salem. US 421 turned north on Broad St then west on 7th and West End Blvd to Reynolda Rd and out of town. US 421 cut west on Yadkinville Rd through Pfafftown and into Yadkin County.
About 1949, US 421 was rerouted in Greensboro into a wide split routing: NB left Asheboro Rd using S. Benbow Rd north to Market St west into downtown. SB left Market using Greene St south to McGee St east to Elm south to Asheboro Rd as before.
Also in 1949, US 421 was removed from Old Greensboro Rd east of Winston-Salem and moved to New Greensboro Rd (no longer continuous) southewest to 5th St.
About 1954, US 421 was placed on one-way splits in Winston Salem, with EB using 4th St and WB staying on 5th.
In 1955, US 421 received a bypass around the south of Kernersville, using new construction at what is now Exit 19 of I-40 Business and following this west to Exit 10 and returning to New Greensboro Road. The road through Kernersville remained NC 66.
In 1957, US 421's wide split routing was eliminated. US 421 followed Market St east from downtown Greensboro to O Henry Blvd south to what is now I-40 west briefly to Liberty Rd.
In 1961, US 421 was removed from surface streets in Winston-Salem and moved onto then-I-40 from 5th St westward, then onto its own new freeway west to Yadkin County. 5th St through W-S to Broad became US 158 Business; Broad/7th/West End Blvd/Reynolda Rd became NC 67. Yadkinville Rd west of NC 67 became SR 1525.
In 1966, US 421 was given one-way splits through central Greensboro: EB used Market St while WB used Gaston and Madison Ave (now Friendly Ave) west to a ramp that connects back to Market.
In March 1972 (NCDOT), US 421 was removed from Liberty Rd from Julian north to just short of I-85 (now I-40). This also placed US 421 on a larger NC 62 duplex.
In Jan 1988 (NCDOT), US 421 was removed from downtown Greensboro by using Wendover Ave from Market St north and east around to US 29 O Henry Blvd.
In May 1996 (NCDOT), US 421 was placed on today's I-40 around the south of Greensboro west, and on I-40 Business bypassing Colfax and Friendship
In Nov 2009 (NCDOT), US 421 was rerouted away from Greensboro entirely by being added to the new I-85 westward, then on I-73 northwest back around to I-40. Liberty Rd between new and old I-85 became SR 3762.
Yadkin, Wilkes, and Watauga Counties:
US 421's north end originally was at Hardin St at King St in Boone. US 421 headed east on King.
Also in 1961, US 421 was placed on new construction from the Sugar Grove area to the state line at Zionville, leaving behind a bit of US 321 and SR 1233 through Amantha and Mabel.
In Nov 1969 (NCDOT), US 421 was placed on its freeway bypass of Wilkesboro and on new freeway east to Antioch. This left behind SR 2355 Old US 421; US 421 Business; SR 2510 Main St to Wilkesboro; NC 268; SR 1185 Curtis Bridge Rd.
Between 1973-80, US 421 was removed from the SR 1377 and SR 1389 loops in westernmost Wilkes County.
In July 1997 (NCDOT), US 221-421 was removed from E. King St just east of NC 194 Boone.
In Sept 2003 (NCDOT), US 421 was placed on newly constructed freeway between I-77 and US 601, leaving behind Rocky Branch Rd.
Also in Sept 2003, US 421 was put on new freeway in eastern Wilkes County from Exit 270 to Exit 276 near Antioch. This left behind Yadkin-Willkes Hwy.
In Dec 2005 (NCDOT), US 421 was placed on new freeway from I-77 west to Exit 270, leaving behind Lydall Westex Rd and Yadkin-Wilkes Hwy.
Also in Dec 2005 (NCDOT), US 221-421 was placed on new construction from the S. New River east to Deep Gap, leaving behind a lengthy "Old US 421".
US 421 is a major thoroughfare through much of its run, being 4-lane expressway or freeway for much of its life from Boone to Sanford. In fact, only a handful of miles of US 421 are on its original alignment from Tennessee to Dunn.
Due to I-40, US 421 is no longer a heavily used route down to Wilmington.
Since March 2009 (NCDOT), there has been a US 421 TRUCK in Wilmington, running along Front St from the Cape Fear River Bridge south to 3rd St.
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