Image of NC Interstate 74 shield (from Shields Up!) Segment 1

Excerpt of NCDOT 2017-2018 Transportation Map showing I-74 Segment 1

Where: I-77, Virginia Border to Exit 101, Surry County

Length: 4.5 Miles


Signed as: Image of NC I-77 Shield (from Shield's Up) Image of NC I-74 Shield (from Shield's Up)


Segment Information

I-74 enters North Carolina signed with I-77 for its first four and 1/2 miles. This segment was completed easily in April 2001 with the addition of 2 I-74 signs, one each direction to what was previously just I-77 (see eastbound photo below). Signage at the I-77 interchange, both on I-77 North and I-74 West (including new 2021 sign plans for the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway section), implies I-74 goes as far as Wytheville, Virginia, (the termination point of the route according to AASHTO) but the interstate was, and is still not, signed north of the North Carolina border by Virginia. I-74 East leaves I-77 southbound as a left exit (see below).

Exit Renumbering

In sign plans released for the letting of the final contract for the Eastern Section of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway in August 2022, it appears NCDOT wants to change the exit number from one based on I-77 mileage, to that with I-74 mileage:

Image of plan for new exit number for I-74 exit off of I-77 in Surry County using I-74 
        mileage, NCDOT August 2022Sign plan showing proposed replacement of Exit 101 tab to Exit 5 tab for I-74 exit off of I-77.

Is this an attempt to have I-74 be the dominant interstate here? NCDOT also appears to want traffic to 'stay' on I-74 for the next exit, NC 89, since it will also change the auxiliary sign from using the next I-77 exit to using the next I-74 one:

Image of plan for auxiliary sign for NC 89 exit switching numbers to the one on 
        I-74 vs. I-77 in Surry County, NCDOT August 2022The auxiliary sign for the Vineyard Tours is to change its number to that on I-74.

As part of the exit renumbering, the current I-77 mile markers will be removed and replaced by I-74 markers. Here's the sign plans for each of the 4 markers in each direction to be installed heading east:

Image of sign location plan for proposed I-74 1 Mile markers on I-74/I-77 in Surry County, 
       NCDOT August 2022Proposed location for I-74 Mile 1 markers and removal of existing I-77 Mile 104 markers near Virginia border.

Image of sign location plan for proposed I-74 2 Mile markers on I-74/I-77 in Surry County, 
       NCDOT August 2022The proposed location for I-74 Mile 2 markers is just west/north of the Maple Grove Church Road bridge.

Image of sign location plan for proposed I-74 3 Mile markers on I-74/I-77 in Surry County, 
       NCDOT August 2022Proposed location for I-74 Mile 3 marker eastbound is beyond the state border weigh station.

Image of sign location plan for proposed I-74 4 Mile markers on I-74/I-77 in Surry County just prior
        or after I-74/I-77 interchange, NCDOT August 2022Proposed location for I-74 Mile 4 markers prior to the I-74/I-77 split headed east/south.

It is unknown whether this change will happen sooner than the completion of the last project on the Beltway which is planned for late 2026. Nor whether this will affect Virginia signing of I-74 along I-77 since it adds the issue of whether they should change exit numbers to I-74 based mileage too.

"Drive" this Segment Using Google Maps Street View (Updated Links)

I-74 West/I-77 North: From Prior to I-77 South On-Ramp (June 2019)

I-74 East/I-77 South: From the Virginia/North Carolina Border (September 2019)

Segment photos (Hover over for Larger Image)

Photo of I-74/I-77 Shields (courtesy of H.B. Elkins)Image of large East I-74 and South I-77 shields after crossing into North Carolina, Photo courtesy of H.B. Elkins

Photo of I-74 Exit signage on North I-77 at Exit 100Signage along I-77 North Approaching the I-74 Exit (photo courtesy of Adam Prince)

Photo showing exit signage at the Split of South I-77 and East I-74Approaching the split of I-74 East from I-77 South near Mt. Airy.

The only construction on this segment since it has been signed was a project to repave this section of I-77 let in 2012 and completed in 2014. The Welcome Center was also renovated, but disappointingly still has signs indicating its just the I-77 Welcome Center. Here's the pair of large West I-74 and North I-77 shields after the merge put up when I-74 was completed to US 52 from Google Maps Street View in September 2019. An updated image from 2021 shows that these signs have been removed:

I-74 and I-77 reassurance markers after I-74 West merge with I-77 North in Surry County, Google Maps Street View image, September 2019

Comment: Virginia could sign I-74 along I-77 up to I-81 to make this southeastern portion of I-74 a true interstate Interstate. AASHTO's official I-74 route, approved in 1996, starts the interstate at the I-77/I-81 intersection east of Wytheville and then down I-77 south to North Carolina. This probably can wait until US 52 is signed as I-74 completing the route beyond Winston-Salem to at least Rockingham.