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Whatever happened to plans to bring I-20 and I-74 to Wilmington?

Patrick Gannon

Funny you should ask. There’s been some recent movement on that idea.

Interstate 20 currently connects Atlanta with Florence, S.C., but ends there.

Transportation planners say connecting Atlanta with Wilmington with one interstate number (I-20) would create the perception that it’s easy to travel between the two cities, even if no new roads are built. That could help the N.C. State Ports Authority — and perhaps other businesses in the region — by allowing it to market the fact that two interstates serve the Wilmington area. A great deal of ocean cargo to and from Atlanta goes to ports in Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., both of which have limited capacity.

The idea would be to add the I-20 designation from Interstate 95 in Florence to its intersection with U.S. 74 near Lumberton, just by adding I-20 signs. Then, I-20 could run concurrently with U.S. 74 into the Wilmington area.

U.S. 74 would have to be upgraded to interstate standards, making it I-74. But that would be expensive. All of the at-grade intersections on U.S. 74 would either have to be closed or modified by creating interchanges or flyovers.

There’s also concern about the fact that heavier trucks are allowed on U.S. highways than on interstates, so converting U.S. 74 to I-74 could affect some truck traffic.

A movement has begun on the local level to encourage the N.C. Department of Transporatation to begin discussions about the I-20 idea with the S.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

User-contributed question by:
Mike Bradley

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2 Responses to “ Whatever happened to plans to bring I-20 and I-74 to Wilmington?”

  1. On October 1, 2009 at 8:09 am CA wrote:

    S.C. is not going to help build I-20 to NC to lose tourist dollars from Myrtle Beach or lose port traffic from Charleston. We are helping S.C. by bringing I-74 to N. Myrtle Beach. Who thought of this brain child? So Myrtle Beach area is getting 2 interstates I-74, and I-73. We need and could use I-20 and I-74. S.C. is the main factor that prohibits NC or SE NC from building those Interstates.

  2. On November 13, 2009 at 11:37 am dee pearson wrote:

    Since I have family and friends out toward Atlanta, I am all for another interstate to make the journey better. Unless, of course, we could actually get train service, which would be so much better in every way than driving a car.

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