The Highways of North Carolina
U.S. 501 
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U.S. 501  182 miles
The Road: Begins at the South Carolina State line below Rowland (Robeson County) and ends at the Virginia State Line above Roxboro (Person County).
Nationally US 501 runs from US 17 Bus Myrtle Beach, SC to US 60 Lake City, TN
Towns and Attractions: Robeson Co.: South of the Border, Rowland 
Scotland Co.: Laurinburg 
Hoke Co.: None  
Moore Co.: Aberdeen, Pinehurst, Carthage  
Lee Co.: Sanford  
Chatham Co.: Pittsboro  
Orange Co.: Chapel Hill  
Durham Co.: Durham  
Person Co.: Roxboro  
History: US 501 was an original US Highway which in late 1926 ran from US 70/NC 10 north to Virginia above Roxboro on its way to Burkeville, VA. US 501 was added to NC 13 for its entire run.
In late 1934, US 501 was extended south to South Carolina below Rowland, replacing NC 75 from Durham to Pinehurst; US 311 Pinehurst to Rowland; addition to US 301 Rowland to SC.

1930 official map
US 15 and NC 70 Pittsboro to Pinehurst
1930 Official
1936 Official
US 501 extended south through Pinehurst
1936 Official

1933 Official
US 311 south of Pinehurst
1933 Official
1936 Official
US 501 south of Pinehurst
1936 Official

A more detailed look:

South Carolina to Pinehurst:
US 501 followed more or less its current route from the South Carolina line through Rowland to Laurinburg, using today's US 501 Business. US 501 then followed its current routing until Aberdeen where it used Glasgow St to South St west across US 1, then followed NC 5 to Pinehurst. In Pinehurst, US 501 used Palmetto St and Page Rd before using current US 501 north.


Between 1940-44, US 501 was removed from the straight Palmetto St and placed on the current zig-zag NC 2 running now in Pinehurst (thanks to L Corsaro for noticing this).

1938 Moore County
US 501 straight through Pinehurst
1938 Moore County
1944 Moore County
US 501 obtaining a zig-zag
1944 Moore County


Between 1945-49, US 501 was rerouted entering Aberdeen to its current US 1 approach. Before, it used Glasgow St to South St west across US 1.

1944 Moore County
US 501 to central Aberdeen (unlabeled road from bottom)
1944 Moore County
1953 Moore County
US 501 rerouted to northwest
1953 Moore County

In 1957, US 501 was rerouted in Aberdeen to avoid central Pinehurst, as it runs now. This was additional duplex with US 1 and new construction. The old route to Pinehurst became part of NC 211 (now NC 5). Leaving Pinehurst the route became NC 2 and Page Rd.

1956 Official
US 501 through central Pinehurst
1956 Official
1958 official map
US 501 avoids central Pinehurst
1958 Official

In 1967, US 501 was placed on a new bypass with US 74 south of Laurinburg, then was added to the existing US 15-401 bypass west of Laurinburg. This left behind US 501 Business.

1962 Scotland County
US 501 through Laurinburg
1962 Scotland County
1968 Scotland County
US 501 bypasses Laurinburg
1968 Scotland County


Pinehurst to Durham:

US 501 originally used Lea Rd, Blues Siding Rd and Shady Lane Rd sprinkled with current US 15-501 motoring from Pinehurst toward Carthage. US 501 used NC 22 into Carthage, then NC 24-27 out the east side.
US 501 picked up Union Church Rd and Stage Rd before using today's 15-501 over to US 1. US 501 followed US 1-15-501 to just past NC 78 then used Carthage Rd into Sanford. US 501 picked up US 1 Business through town, then US 15-501 north of the bypass.
Across the Deep River, US 501 picked up Walter Bright Rd and a substantial Old Sanford Rd most of the way to Pittsboro. It appears US 501 used today's 501 through Pittsboro. US 501 used Bynum Rd to cross the Haw River, then used US 15-501 into Orange County.
US 501 initially followed NC 86 into Chapel Hill, then used Franklin St east to leave town. After a brief jaunt on US 15-501, US 501 used Old Chapel Hill Rd to Durham.
By 1936, US 501 was removed from Lea Rd and also from Union Church/Stage Rd east of Carthage.
Between 1950-53, US 501 bypassed Bynum.
About 1951, US 501 was placed on its current routing between the Chapel Hill and Durham bypasses.
In 1953, US 501 was placed on a new bypass east of Chapel Hill, leaving behind US 15A-501A.

1949 Orange County
US 15 through Chapel Hill
1949 Orange County
1953 Orange County
US 15 bypasses Chapel Hill
1953 Orange County

Between 1954-57, US 501 was removed from BluesSiding Rd and Shady Lane Rd.
In 1956, US 501 was put on the new bypass west of Sanford, leaving behind US 1A-15A-501A.

1953 Lee County
US 15 through Sanford
1953 Lee County
1957 Lee County
US 15 bypasses Sanford
1957 Lee County

In 1957, US 501 was rerouted to the east of Carthage like it is today, leaving behind pieces of NC 22 and NC 27.
1950 Gen Draft
US 501 through Carthage
1950 Gen Draft
1958 Official
US 15 bypasses Carthage
1958 Official

In Aug 1973 (NCDOT), US 501 was removed from Old Sanford Rd and Walter Bright Rd between Sanford and Pittsboro.
Durham:
Originally, US 501 began at Main St (US 70/NC 10) and followed Magnum St to Porter St (now Roxboro Rd) north out of town.
When US 501 was extended south, it entered from the south via Morehead Ave, then Kent St, then east on Chapel Hill St. to Foster St north to Geer St east to Magnum St as before.
About 1951, US 15 was moved onto the current US 15 Bus-501 Bus routing.

1932 Texaco
US 501 initial Durham route
1932 Texaco
1944 Durham County
US 501 rerouted to Foster and Geer Sts.
1944 Durham County
1953 Durham County
US 501 rerouted to University/Lakewood
1953 Durham County

In May 1962 (NCDOT), US 501 was moved to its current bypass west of Durham, which was completed in 1957 with no number (1959 Official Durham inset also shows unnumbered bypass), and added to US 70 around the north of Durham. This left behind US 15-501 Bus.
Oddly, the 1960 Official shows US 501 moved onto the bypass despite NCDOT documentation saying 1962.

1958 Official
Western Bypass open but unnumbered
1958 Official
1960 Official
US 501 placed on Durham Bypass.
1960 Official

Durham to Virginia:
US 501 followed its general current path with just a few old alignments. Note that Old Durham Rd from Somerset to Roxboro was already bypassed prior to US 501's birth in 1926.
Between 1945-49, US 501 was moved to Madison Blvd through Roxboro. Main St became US 501-A (now unnumbered)

1944 Person County
US 501 on Main St
1944 Person County
1949 Person County
US 501 moved to Madison Blvd
1949 Person County

In Nov 2016 (NCDOT), US 501 was rerouted north of Roxboro to follow NC 49 further east, then north as new construction to tie back into existing US 501 near Gentrys Store. The old route became SR 1601.

Comments: The US 15 duplex is quite long and not really necessary. US 15 could have been routed to Fayetteville, Raleigh and Creedmoor like US 15-A was for 20 years.
US 501 is only a main route really from Chapel Hill northward


Last Update: 30 December 2016

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