U.S. Highway 76 East - Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach
U.S. Highway 17 Business North, U.S. Highway 76 East, U.S. 421 South
After splitting with U.S. 17 north & 74 east and the U.S. 421/North Carolina 133 interchange, this mileage sign provides the distance to Carolina Beach and Kure Beach via U.S. 421 south. Wrightsville Beach, which is served by U.S. 74-76, is not mentioned on this sign, nor are any other beaches served by U.S. 17 and its auxiliaries, such as Topsail Beach in Pender County. Photo taken 06/01/05.
This was the only quadplex reassurance shield assembly for northbound U.S. 17, eastbound U.S. 74-76, and southbound U.S. 421. This is the approximate location of the proposed new eastern terminus of Interstate 20, should the freeway be constructed this far east. It is also possible that Interstate 20 may travel north on U.S. 421, then cross into Wilmington via the Parsley Street bridge. This has not yet been decided, and such a designation may be a long time away, especially since South Carolina has not agreed to extend an Interstate that currently ends in its state. The 11/11/06 photo shows the replacement shields. First photo taken 06/01/05. Second photo taken 11/11/06.
Signs posted at the foot of the Cape Fear River Bridge advise motorists of the impending split of U.S. 421 south from U.S. 17 Business north & 76 east. U.S. 421 joins downtown Wilmington with coastal destinations such as Carolina and Kure Beaches. Photo taken 11/11/06.
The highway leaves Brunswick County and enters New Hanover County, and the Cape Fear River Bridge (a lift bridge) comes into view. First photo taken 11/11/06. Second photo taken 11/11/06.
The lift bridge that carries U.S. 17 Business-76-421 over the Cape Fear River was constructed in the 1950s or 1960s, but no precise opening date is known. The central section lifts between the two towers, allowing for more vertical clearance for larger ships to pass under the bridge. Photo taken 11/11/06.
This traffic signal regulates traffic crossing the lift bridge. Whenever the lights turn red, the lift raises the central portion of the bridge over the river and any river traffic. Note that the signal bell was removed between 2005 and 2006 from the mast-arm assembly. Photo taken 11/11/06.
The deck of the bridge is metal grating, and it can be slippery during rainstorms or any kind of moist weather. The grating also seems to create an undulating ride over the central part of the bridge. First photo taken 11/11/06. Second photo taken 11/11/06.
After the truss portion of the bridge, U.S. 17 Business-76-421 reaches its first Wilmington exit: the link to the State Port, one of two in North Carolina (the other state port is in Morehead City near the eastern end of U.S. 70). Use this exit to follow Front Street and Burnett Boulevard south to River Road and Shipyard Boulevard (U.S. 117). By 2006, the U.S. 74 was greened out and North banner above U.S. 17 changed to Business. These signs were replaced and their light fixtures removed by 2007. First photo taken 06/01/05. Second photo taken 11/11/06.
Northbound U.S. 17 Business and Eastbound U.S. 76 reaches the exit for Front Street south to the State Port. The next exit is the connection to Business U.S. 17 north to downtown Wilmington and U.S. 421 south to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher. These overheads were replaced and their lights removed by 2007. First photo taken 06/01/05. Second photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. 17 Business-76-421 shifts onto Dawson Street, which carries the eastbound/northbound lanes (Wooster Street carries the opposite direction). This sign assembly shows a left turn on 3rd Street for Business U.S. 17 north into downtown, with a connection via 3rd Street to the Parsley Street Bridge, North Carolina 133, and MLK Parkway (U.S. 74). The sign also shows "To U.S. 117," which is a reference to its former routing. To U.S. 117 north, stay on U.S. 17 Business northeast to College Road (Jct North Carolina 132/U.S. 117). These overheads were replaced and their lights removed by 2007. First photo taken 06/01/05. Second photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. Highway 74-76 East - Vicinity of Wrightsville Beach
U.S. 74-76 east cross the Intracoastal Waterway via this drawbridge. Maintained by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Intracoastal Waterway offers a commercial and recreational waterway along the Atlantic Ocean between Key West, Florida, and Boston, Massachusetts. The waterway connects existing waterways between the mainland and barrier islands, and it includes some sections that were dredged or created by the Army Corps in the 20th Century. Various boats and ships use the waterway because it has a minimum depth of 12 feet. For more, visit the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association official site. Photo taken 05/29/05.
The drawbridge control center comes into view on the right (south) side of U.S. 74-76 eastbound as they cross over the Intracoastal Waterway. Traffic bound for U.S. 74 east should stay in the left lane, while traffic for U.S. 76 east should use the right lane. Photo taken 05/29/05.
U.S. 74 turns northeast via Salisbury Street, while U.S. 76 heads southeast via Causeway Boulevard. Beach access is available all along Lumina Avenue, which runs the length of the populated sections of the island (with some gaps on the south end), so both U.S. 74 and U.S. 76 are good options for reaching the Atlantic Ocean beach. Photo taken 05/29/05.
U.S. Highway 76 East - Wrightsville Beach
After splitting from U.S. 74 for the final time, U.S. 76 follows Causeway Drive until reaching Waynick Boulevard. U.S. 76 turns south here, while continuing straight connects with northbound Lumina Avenue into downtown Wrightsville Beach. Photo taken 05/29/05.
After the Causeway Drive/Waynick Boulevard/Lumina Avenue intersection, these signs indicate that U.S. 76 comes to a dead end at the eastern terminus on Water Street. Photo taken 05/29/05.
The southern water tower dominates the skyline toward the south end of Wrightsville Beach. Photo taken 05/29/05.
This pedestrian crossing offers a connection from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean. Photo taken 05/29/05.
Eastbound U.S. 76 turns from southbound Waynick Boulevard to eastbound Sunset Avenue at this turn. Photo taken 05/29/05.
After briefly following Sunset Avenue, U.S. 76 again turns south on Lumina Avenue near the Oceanic Restaurant. Photo taken 05/29/05.
On this day in Memorial Day, parking along U.S. 76 eastbound/Lumina Avenue southbound was scarce if not impossible to find. Photo taken 05/29/05.
Beach access is available here at the southern end of Wrightsville Beach (this is access #43, which is the 43rd access from north to south on the island). U.S. 76 east turns right from Lumina Avenue onto Water Street. Photo taken 05/29/05.
U.S. 76/Water Street immediately reaches a dead end, with just enough room to make a U-turn. An end shield is posted at the end of Water Street. Photo taken 05/29/05.
The eastern end of U.S. 76 is well-signed, with an END shield placed at the dead end of Water Street. U.S. 74, on the other hand, is basically unsigned at its northern terminus. Photo taken 05/29/05.
2005-05-29 by AARoads. 2005-06-01 by AARoads. 2006-11-11 by AARoads and Justin Cozart.