Where: Greensboro Urban Loop Freeway from Bryan Blvd South to US 220
Length: Approx. 12 Miles
Status: Completed, between February 2004 and February 2008
North of I-40 signed:
South of I-40:
This segment of I-73 starts at the Bryan Blvd. on the Greensboro Loop and travels south along the Loop to US 220. With the completion of the I-73 Segments north of Bryan Blvd in July 2017, I-73 was officially signed along the entire length of its segment along the Loop (see photos below). Prior to this though, despite the I-73 (and I-840) routings have officially been established by the FHWA since February 2008, the route was signed (only on the road itself) as Future I-73/I-840 south to I-40. NCDOT apparently believed the route to be to short (3.5 miles) to be signed as a full interstate.1
I-73 is officially signed at its interchange with I-40 and travels south to US 220. Work on the section north of I-40 (Future I-73/I-840) to serve the new FedEx hub started in August 2003, and was opened to traffic on December 18, 2007. The I-73 portion of the Loop west of I-85 to I-40, started at the same time and was finished on February 21, 2008.2 The total cost of construction for both sections (12 miles in length) was listed as $592 million in the 2007-2013 STIP.3 When the highway opened in early 2008 this was also part of the I-40 section of the Loop. However, in September 2008 after much citizen outcry about noisy traffic, NCDOT relented and put I-40 back on its original alignment through Greensboro. US 421 was rerouted to join the Loop from its exit south of Greensboro along the I-85 portion of the Loop and joins I-73 between I-85 and the I-40 exit (103) for about 7.5 miles. I-73 then turns south at the US 220 exit which now is signed I-73 South with new signs installed in 2013). While technically joining I-85 for a mile between Business 85 and US 220, I-73's path only overlaps I-85, the routes never actually meet in either direction. I-73 north uses a C/D ramp for the Groometown Road exit and merges with US 421 after it leaves I-85.3 The I-85 portion of the Loop was completed in February 2004, almost exactly 4 years before the I-73 section. A space was left on overhead signage along I-85 South for future I-73 shields at the new US 220 interchange (there is no US 220 access northbound from I-85, this means the northbound exit has an I-85 exit number, and originally southbound it had an I-40 exit number (which, coincidentally was 220) now it has an I-73 number, 96) which were installed in September 2013. Both interstates appear on many signs around the area (for more information on the Loop, go to the NCDOT Greensboro Loop page). (Curiously, signs put up for the US 220 exit on the newer I-73 section of the Loop in April 2007 did not include a space for I-73, these were replaced though with I-73/US 220 signs in the spring of 2013, see photos below).4 I-73 North joins the Loop at Exit 95B, exiting itself off of US 220. Work on the section north of I-40 (Future I-73/I-840) to serve the new FedEx hub started in August 2003, and was opened to traffic on December 18, 2007. The I-73 portion of the Loop west of I-85 to I-40, started at the same time and was finished on February 21, 2008.5 The total cost of construction for both sections (12 miles in length) was listed as $592 million in the 2007-2013 STIP.6
New Signage as a Result of Extension of Greensboro Loop
As discussed in Segment 4, as part of the contract to extend the Greensboro Loop north of Bryan Blvd to US 220/Battleground Avenue, new signage went up along the Loop north of I-40, completed in August 2018, and on I-40 itself, that apply new I-73 exit numbers and I-73 and I-840 signage.7 The signage started to be put up on existing segments of the Loop after the new roadway was completed in March 2018. The West Friendly Avenue exit numbers changed from 2 to 104 and I-840 was added to the signage to what will be Exit 103, at I-40. The I-840 exit number for US 220 is 6.
The current signage will be changed when the I-840 section of the Loop is complete. Here are some of the sign plans for the I-73/I-840 Loop showing the changes from the contract plans at the NCDOT Project Letting page.8
I-73 North, Exits 95 to 107 I-73 South, Exits 107 to 95
I-73 South at I-840/Bryan Blvd: Prior
to I-73 South to Loop Ramp (July 2021)
I-73 South/I-840 West at I-40: Approaching On-Ramp (July 2021)
I-73 / US 421 North at I-85: Using Ramp from I-85 South (November 2021)
I-73 / US 421 North at Wendover Ave.:Prior to Ramp from Wendover Ave. heading West (July 2021)
Between March 2018 and March 2019, NCDOT revised the signage on I-73 north of I-40 to Bryan Blvd to reflect the opening of the I-840 segment from Bryan Blvd to US 220, and on I-40 itself, including new mile markers. Photos by site contributors, David Johnson and Strider.
This gantry on I-73North/I-840 East has both distance to the next exits but a VMS as well.
Overhead signage at the ramp to West Friendly Avenue on I-73 North/I-840 East.
Arrow-Per-Lane sign for split of I-840 East and I-73 North.
NCDOT in early March also added mile markers along the I-73 ramps and the former Bryan Blvd. section. Here's the new marker northbound on the ramp from the Greensboro Loop after the off-ramp to Bryan Blvd. East.
This reassurance marker assembly was finally placed after the Bryan Blvd. exit in March 2019.
The contractors also updated signage on the ramp to I-40 from I-73 South.
In February, NCDOT finally posted new I-73 mile markers along the portion of the Loop north of I-40. Markers along the I-840 section north of Bryan Blvd. had been put up when that route opened. However, these markers were removed less than a month later and then restored at apparently more correct locations in early March.
Contractors also finally updated the pull through sign southbound at the I-40 exit with both I-73 and US 421 shields.
The former To Bryan Blvd/ PTI Airport overhead at the I-40 East ramp was replaced by a pull-through for I-73 North/I-840 East in mid-February.
The old pull through was also replaced at the ramp to I-40 West/US 421 North.
Earlier in February new signage for I-40 West reflecting the new lane configuration was put up at the I-40 East ramp, signage for I-73/I-840 in the middle of the gantry, was not yet installed.
Similar story for the last overhead signs prior to I-40 West, while the old signage for To Bryan Blvd and PTI Airport remain.
In January 2019, work was completed around the I-40 interchange and between I-40 and Westover Avenue:
New overheads signs put up beyond the Westover Avenue exit ramp on I-73 North, the exit only tab reflects the new lane alignment at I-40 which provides now 3 lanes for I-73 North through traffic and 2 lanes for the I-40 West exit.
New overhead signs at the West Friendly Avenue ramp on I-73 South/I-840 West which now have I-73 mileage for that exit and the I-40 exit beyond.
Now heading north on I-73 at Westover Avenue, new signs for the I-40 exits with I-73 mileage.
In early December 2018, signage along I-40 West approaching the Greensboro Loop were updated:
New 3/4 (instead of 1-Mile) Advance sign for I-73/I-840 Greensboro Loop exit on I-40 West.
The new 1/2 mile advance sign with Exit Only Tab. When first put up, though, it had a missing I-73 shield and small I-840 shield, below.
Sign as it appeared when first put up in early December 2018.
NCDOT also put up an overhead auxiliary sign notifying drivers of the route to PTI Airport.
NCDOT not only put up a new ramp sign for I-73 North/I-840 East but also changed to sign for I-73/US 421 South which had a blank space (see below) for an I-40 control city for the short time that route was on the Loop.
Original I-73/US 421 1/4 mile advance sign replaced after new I-73 North/I-840 East exit sign was put up. Also the exit tab was replaced with a space for 212.
November saw the completion of the new signage on I-40 East:
Newly placed overhead auxiliary sign indicating traffic for I-73 North/ I-840 East should use I-40 East exit.
New overhead 1/2 Mile Advance sign (MUTCD specs do not require a distance to be used if the sign has an Exit Only tab) for I-73 North/I-840 East after the I-73 South exit ramp.
Newly placed 1/4 mile advance sign ahead of ramp to I-73 North/I-840 East with an East I-40 pull through sign.
Finally, the new overhead signs at the ramp for I-73/I-840 East. Some have suggested Roanoke would be a better I-73 North control city than Martinsville.
Earlier, in October, NCDOT first put up large Arrow-per-Lane signs along I-40 East approaching the Loop:
This 1-Mile Advance sign was put up in late October.
The overheads at the exit ramp were put up a week earlier.
In August new overhead signs appeared along what is now officially I-73/I-840 and at the interchange ramps:
This new center median interchange distance sign on on I-73 South seems to have forgotten the new Gate City Blvd exit that opened in 2016 that is between Wendover Ave and Groometown Rd.
The Exit 1 tab has been removed from the I-40 exit sign in anticipation of placement of a new I-73 exit number (103) tab.
Signage along the ramp carrying I-73 North from the I-840 East Greensboro Loop. Like with the advance signs, I-73 exits off itself as Exit 107B.
New overhead signs were placed at the ramps to the Loop at W. Friendly Avenue, here heading east.
And heading west on W. Friendly Avenue.
Finally, new reassurance marker signs were put up that now accurately depict the existence of I-73 and I-840:
First of newly placed reassurance marker sign, now properly including Interstates 73 and 840, after I-40 interchange.
The exit numbers along this portion were also finally changed to reflect I-73 mileage.
This 1 1/4 mile advance sign for the W. Friendly Ave. exit has had its number changed from 2 to 104.
Also changed is the next 1/2 mile advance sign.
Also changed are the exit numbers heading southbound starting after Bryan Blvd, here also for W. Friendly Avenue.
Also changed was the signage along Bryan Blvd at the I-73 exit, with I-73 and I-840 signs added, as well as an exit ramp for the new I-840 East route:
Signage for the I-840 East exit is given the 107B exit number, I-73 South/I-840 West is not given an exit number here, though its signed as 107A on the previous advance signs.
Photos taken of the approaches to I-73 by Isaiah Sconiers, from February 2018:
Revised pull through sign on I-85 South for I-73/I-85/US 421 at I-73/US 220 South exit with Martinsville added as control city.
Recently replaced 1 mile advance, Arrow-per-Lane sign for I-73/US 421 North on I-85 South just after I-73/US 220 South off-ramp.
Closeup of Arrow-per-Lane sign at ramp to I-73/US 421 North from I-85 South with Martinsville control city.
Photos taken of the approaches to I-73 by site contributor, Strider, from September 2017 to February 2018:
Newly placed overhead signage approaching I-85/Business 85 exits on I-73/US 421 South in Greensboro. Recent signage shows Business 85 routed along I-85 South, though this is a hidden concurrency on I-85. In the fall of 2018, NCDOT officially decommissioned Business 85 through Greensboro. It is unknown how long it will be before signs are changed.
One of the new Arrow-per-Lane overhead signs ahead of the I-73/US 421 exit on I-85 just after the I-73 South/US 220 exit.
The other new Arrow-per-Lane sign at the off-ramp to I-73/US 421 North from I-85 South.
New overhead signage placed on I-85 North approaching I-73 and the Greensboro Loop in August 2017. Notice the major goof of having 2 I-85 Norths, the one on the right is supposed to be Business 85.
A new overhead auxiliary sign was also put up telling I-73/US 220 South traffic should use Business 85.
Overhead signage for the I-73 and Business 85 exits also put up in August 2017. The Business 85 sign now has a listing for I-73 South. Notice also that the To West I-40 text has been removed.
Overhead signage at the Business 85 ramp and 1/2 mile before the I-73 exit, put up in September.
Final new sign at the ramp to I-73 North, also put up in September.
New overhead signs placed in October at ramp to Groometown Road adds Martinsville to destination, but drops reference of To I-40 West. The I-85 exit number still is used.
Earlier Photos taken by Strider in July 2017:
NCDOT removed the I-73 shield from this reassurance marker sign on I-73 North after the I-40 exit, leaving I-840 as a Future route, for now.
New I-73 North Left Lane trailblazer placed prior to Bryan Blvd off-ramp in lieu of overhead signage, for now.
Temporarily placed Variable Message Sign indicating I-73 traffic should use left lane at Bryan Blvd interchange on I-73 North/I-840 East prior to current end of Greensboro Loop.
I-73 North trailblazer on Bryan Blvd. exit ramp at current end of Greensboro Loop.
Photos taken on March 30, 2017:
View looking south on the Greensboro Loop just after the Bryan Blvd. interchange. The Future I-73 South ramp is being reconstructed to handle the increased traffic. Ramp traffic is routed more directly to the main Loop lanes.
Further south at end of the I-73 South ramp reconstruction, ahead is long standing Future I-73 South/I-840 West sign that is now out-of-date but won't be replaced until the I-73 Connector construction is completed.
Until the main exit signs are replaced, these 2 To I-73 South trailblazers are used to direct traffic beyond the I-40 interchange.
Now beyond the I-40 exit on I-73 South, this is the 1-Mile advance sign for the new Gate City Blvd exit opened in 2015.
A closer look at the Gate City Blvd. exit. Traffic leaves and enters I-73 through a Diverging Diamond interchange whose ramps can be seen under the bridge.
Another photo taken of the 2-Mile Advance signage for the I-85/I-85 Business exit (original from 2009 seen below), now instead of 1 sign for Exits 97 A and B, now two signs are used for Exits 97A and 97B/C.
Same signs prior to I-85/Bus. 85 exits as in 2009 but with new A and B/C exit tabs. The C is for the Groometown Road exit, not indicated in the exit signs until the ramp.
Here are earlier photos taken in March 2013 showing the appearance of new I-73 related signage.
The first new sign along the Greensboro Loop for the now I-73/US 220 Exit 95 at the current Business 85 Exit put up during the third week of March. Photo courtesy of AARoads Forum contributor Strider (3/20/13).
The new sign approaching the former US 220 exit on the Greensboro Loop, now I-73/US 220 Exit 95, put up during the third week of March. Photo courtesy of AARoads Forum contributor Strider (3/28/13).
Here are some photos taken along the yet to be opened Future I-73/I-840 and then I-40/I-73 (now I-73/US 421) portions of the Urban Loop in September 2007 and after it opened. New photos of signs with changes due to the re-routing of I-40 appear before older ones.
The view from the Bryan Blvd. bridge over Future I-73/ I-840 before it opened in December 2007. Except for the future on-ramp to I-73 South/I-840 West on your left, the road is only graded because no construction is to take place north of here until 2013.
Construction going on at the Future I-73/I-840 / West Friendly Avenue (Exit 2) interchange in anticipation of its opening a few months later.
The future I-40/I-73 Urban Loop interchange with Wendover Avenue with further work due before opening in January 2008.
Looking westbound from the High Point Road bridge over the Future I-40/I-73 Loop section. This area is now a construction zone again for the building of a new interchange for High Point Road scheduled to be completed by 2014.
Also from the High Point Road bridge looking east along future I-40/I-73. The walls seen where the road curves are sound barriers, unlike much of the SE portion of the loop this freeway cuts through many existing neighborhoods.
Photo of only I-73 sign along segment north of I-40 after its opening in December 2007.
For additional photos of the northern part of the Loop open on December 18, go to this Photo Album Page.
Here was a sneak peak of the signs for the I-73 portion of the Loop before officially being opened on I-85 North (2/10/08).
The sign above initially read, when uncovered, West I-40/North I-73 Winston-Salem (I-73 control city (likely Martinsville VA) to be added later).
View of same sign as above when changed after I-40 was rerouted back to its original alignment. The sign on the left was replaced entirely, notice the US 421 control city of Sanford replaced Raleigh, the middle may be a new or modified sign, the right was made correct by removing the Business 40 shield. (6/14/09)
The following photos are on I-85 South at and approaching the I-73/US 220 Interchange:
New I-73 Shield Appears on Former blank space next to US 220 North sign at the C/D lane off-ramp in October 2013. Photo Courtesy of Strider (10/22/13)
New I-73 Shield Appearing on Sign 1/4 mile earlier along C/D Ramp for US 220 North on I-85 South, also put up in October 2013. Photo Courtesy of Strider (10/22/13)
I-73 shields appearing on the ramp signage on I-85 South, previously a blank space on the US 220 South Exit sign. Photo courtesy of Strider (9/29/13)
I-73 shields also appearing on the 1/2 mile advance signage along I-85 South. Photo Courtesy of Strider. (9/29/13)
The first new I-73 Sign seen approaching the ramp for the South Elm/Eugene St Exit on I-85 South, Photo courtesy of Strider. (9/29/13)
New To I-73 South Signage has also been put up on US 220 South approaching the Greensboro Loop from I-40 and Business 85. Photo courtesy of Strider. (9/29/13)
Here's what the signage looked like prior to September 2013 after the signs were changed due to the I-40 rerouting in June 2009. Notice the blank space awaiting the future South I-73 shield. (6/26/09)
Here's what the signage looked like in February 2007 after the Loop first opened (2/23/07). This was the first 3 interstate shield sign going south/westbound on then I-85/40. The triple interstate highway existed on the sign only, as I-73 uses a C/D ramp from US 220 and joins the Loop after I-85 has left.
The Following photos show the 'split' between I-85 South and I-73/US 421 North:
Here is the second reference to the split of I-85 from I-73 and US 421, as indicated above, the two interstates actually do not share the road. I-73 uses a ramp from US 220 that joins US 421 after I-85 leaves the Loop. (6/26/09)
The sign assembly as it first appeared in February 2007 with the interchange complex now seen in the distance. The road on the far right is actually I-73, a continuation of the US 220 on-ramp that does not access I-85 but also accesses Groometown Road. I-73 joins the Loop after the Groometown Road exit a mile down the ramp. (2/23/07)
Looking at the split signage after it had been changed in June 2009. I-73 is actually the two lane ramp paralleling the main route to the right. (6/26/09)
The then split between I-85 and I-40, now I-85 and US 421 in February 2007. There are three lanes in each direction. US 421 does not actually join I-73 for about a 1/2 mile. (2/23/07)
Here's where I-73 actually joins US 421, the first I-73 milepost can be seen on the left, Mile 97. This exit is officially off of I-85, so that's why the exit number is 122A. In my opinion it should be rightfully I-73 Exit 97, Exit 97A on I-73 South accesses the same roadways. (6/26/09)
The Wendover Avenue Interchange
The new overhead signs put up in June 2009 are mostly correct, except for 'East' I-73. This signage has been changed to reflect the September 2008 decision to remove I-40 from the Loop. The East used to be over where I-40 was, as seen in the photo below, they forgot to change out the I-73 direction on signs going both ways on Wendover. (6/26/09)
Exit signage at the Wendover Avenue interchange as it appeared in March 2008. Shields for both I-40 and I-73 can be seen in the distance. (3/16/08)
A close-up of the shields at the I-73/US 421 North Entrance Ramp from Wendover Avenue on 3/16/08. Again, the I-40 sign seen above was removed in June 2009, replaced by a US 421 sign due to the NCDOT decision to remove I-40 from the Loop.
The left-hand sign in the photo was not up when I made my last road trip, notice it still does not have an exit tab (103B). Photo courtesy of Evan Semones (8/2/09).
The mainline text on the sign in this photo duplicates the exit signage on I-40 with no I-73 (nor I-840) shields, because NCDOT considers the loop north of I-40 too short to merit a full I-73 designation. Photo courtesy of Evan Semones (8/2/09).
The I-40 exit sign at the on-ramp does feature an Exit 103 tab, as well as the gore sign. The last time I drove through the number on the gore sign was correct but the arrow was pointing to the right. The sign on the right will be replaced by one with I-73 and I-840 shields at the conclusion of construction on the next segment of the Loop. Photo courtesy of Evan Semones (8/2/09).
An End North I-73 sign after the I-40 West exit ramp and just before the on-ramp from I-40 East. Photo courtesy of Evan Semones (8/2/09).
A Google Street View image taken in June 2014, appears to show that this has been since taken down (See for yourself).
This is what the signs in the Exit 103 photos above indicated before the I-40 switch. All that happened here was the switch of the exit tab to the I-40/US 421 sign with a change in number. These exit signs were changed in late June 2009, the left exit got an Exit 103B tab, however the right 103A gore sign pointed to the right.(12/08)
View in December 2008 heading East on I-40 the last sign assembly before the then I-40/Business 40 split and the beginning of the I-73 Segment. The Exit 212 sign someday will also have North I-73 and East I-840. (12/08)
View of sign change due to the NCDOT decision to return I-40 to its original alignment. This was what is now listed as Exit 212A now looks like. The sign was changed in late June 2009. Photo courtesy of Evan Semones. (7/21/09)
Another exit assembly for Exit 212. Notice that traffic to Raleigh is now told to take I-40 through Greensboro. Photo courtesy of Evan Semones. (7/21/09)
Here's a closer look at the 1/2 mile sign from the East I-40 Exit 211 on-ramp. Notice where the 212 number is, put up flush with 'Exit', while A is off to the right. (7/26/09)
Here's the signage at the split itself. Notice again how the exit number isn't centered on the now left exit tab. (7/26/09)
Now on West I-40, Exit 212B is for the now signed Future I-73 North/I-840 West. Again, NCDOT does not want put I-73 North on the signs until the highway is complete at least back to US 220 north of Greensboro. (7/26/09)
Here are the signs along West I-40 at the westbound off-ramp itself. (7/26/09)
Like the westbound, the eastbound signs to Future I-73 North will not have I-73 shields for a while. It still reads To Bryan Boulevard/PTI Airport. This route is now officially Interstate 73 according to the latest NCDOT map and so, IMO, the sign should be changed at least to indicate that. Photo courtesy of Evan Semones (7/21/09)
Exit sign for Wendover Avenue, the only exit not involving an Interstate on this stretch of the Loop. They started building a new exit for High Point Road in 2012. While the exit number was changed to 102, the left hand sign still had an I-40 on it. The control cities will probably be changed to read Asheboro and Sanford. This sign was changed later in 2009 (7/21/09).
The original ground-level shield assembly For I-40/I-73 on this stretch of the Loop, after the Wendover Avenue exit. This was replaced by the sign below in July 2009.
Finally, a sign for South I-73/US 421. The milepost to the left reads 102. (7/26/09)
Heading South on I-73 between Wendover and I-85, the South I-73 Mile 100 Milepost near where the future High Point Road interchange will as of July 2012 is under construction. (6/26/09)
Though this exit sign has not been changed, the number has changed to 97 which now accompanies both I-85 exits, instead of two separate exit numbers when Loop was signed I-40. (6/26/09)
Unlike the original left-hand sign, the new signage recognizes that I-73 continues beyond the I-85 exits, unlike in the sign below. The co-routing of I-85 and I-73 implied in the sign is again misleading as the two routes never travel together. (6/26/09)
This sign seems to indicate that both Business 85 and I-85 are routed together for a couple miles, which is the case, no other signs indicate this. The original signage where the Loop meets I-85/Business 85. I-73 just disappeared, the US 220 exit signs going this way do not even have a space for I-73. Since the US 220 exit ramp going this way was on I-40 before the I-85 merge it was I-40 exit 220 (nice coincidence), instead of I-85 Exit 122 going the other way. (12/08)
Unfortunately, as before, I-73 simply disappears as it exits onto US 220 and becomes Future I-73. The only sign that this is still I-73 is the I-73 Mile 96 milepost seen below the US 220 sign.
Later in 2009 they placed an End South I-73 sign, just before the ramp to US 220 (Future I-73)
You can also find additional photos taken after the Loop was re-signed after I-40 was moved back at this post on the Sure, Why Not? blog.
View a YouTube Video of a Drive along this Segment.
Here's an additional map showing the total route of the Greensboro Urban Loop: