U.S. Highway 117

U.S. 117, one of several U.S. routes that remain wholly within the state of North Carolina, connects the state port of Wilmington with Interstate 95 near Wilson. The southern end of U.S. 117 was adjusted in 2003 to move the terminus from the Parsley Street Bridge in Wilmington to River Road near the entrance to the state port. For much of its route, U.S. 117 follows a two-lane highway in the shadows of well-traveled Interstate 40. However, between Faison and Wilson, U.S. 117 becomes a multi-lane, divided highway, with some freeway segments (especially near Goldsboro).

U.S. 117 followed a full freeway from Goldsboro (U.S. 70) northward to U.S. 264 along a 2006-completed freeway. The alignment resulted in the redesignation of original U.S. 117 as U.S. 117 Alternate and the extension of U.S. 117 to Interstate 95 along the U.S. 264 freeway. All of this changed in November 2007 when an AASHTO-approved signing of Interstate 795 took place, replacing all U.S. 117 shields along the Goldsboro to Wilson freeway with tri-color Interstate shields. Interstate 795 now travels the former U.S. 117 alignment from U.S. 70 north to Interstate 95 west of Wilson. U.S. 117 therefore was moved back onto its old alignment, thus removing U.S. 117 Alternate from the map.

U.S. Highway 117 North
Northbound U.S. 117 and North Carolina 132 (College Road) approaches its intersection with Truck U.S. 17 and U.S. 76 (Oleander Drive) in Wilmington. Photo taken 06/01/05.
U.S. 76 and Truck U.S. 17 follow Oleander Drive east of Wilmington. U.S. 117 and North Carolina 132 continue north to the U.S. 17 Business (Market Street) interchange and eventually Interstate 40. Photo taken 06/01/05.
U.S. 117 shield posted between U.S. 17 Business (Market Street) and Hunters Trail. Photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. 117 & North Carolina 132 (North College Road) leave a folded-diamond interchange with U.S. 17 Business (Market Street) and near the signalized intersection with U.S. 74 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway). Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway was constructed in 2005 to provide a four-lane expressway-style alignment for U.S. 74 leading west from Market Street to the Cape Fear River and junction U.S. 421. The alignment disperses traffic bound for the new U.S. 17 alignment along the 2005-completed Wilmington bypass. Photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. 74 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway) west leads to North Carolina 133 at Hightsville and Wilmington International Airport (ILM) and junction U.S. 17 & 421 across the Cape Fear River. Beyond the Wilmington area, U.S. 74 continues with U.S. 76 along the Future Interstate 74 corridor to Whiteville. Photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. 74 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway) west provides direct access to downtown Wilmington via 3rd and Front Streets south. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway east ends nearby at the U.S. 76 (Eastwood Road) intersection with U.S. 17 Business (Market Street). Eastwood Road carries U.S. 76 east to Wrightsville and the merge with U.S. 74 ahead of Wrightsville Beach. Photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. 117 & North Carolina 132 northbound cross Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway under a set of span-wire supported traffic lights. Photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. 117 & North Carolina 132 northbound reduces to two lanes north of the intersection with U.S. 74 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway). North College Road slices through a residential area ahead of Smith Creek. Photos taken 11/11/06.
The first sign of Interstate 40's eastbound beginning (Exit 420A) resides one half mile south of Gordon Road on U.S. 117 & North Carolina 132 north. Photo taken 11/11/06.
U.S. 117 & North Carolina 132 (North College Road) partition with Interstate 40 east via a partial-cloverleaf interchange (Exit 420B) toward Castle Hayne. A partial-cloverleaf interchange otherwise joins the three highways with Gordon Road at Exit 420A. Photo taken 06/24/10.
Interstate 40 west & U.S. 117 north
A begin sign for Interstate 40 lies north of the U.S. 117 & North Carolina 132 (North College Road) intersection with Kings Grant Road. Thus commences the 2,555-mile journey to Barstow, California! Photo taken 11/11/06.
Gordon Road travels east from Interstate 40 & U.S. 117-North Carolina 132 (Exit 420A) to U.S. 17 Business (Market Street) east near Ogden and west to Kerr Avenue near the grounds of Wilmington International Airport (ILM). Kerr Avenue provides a convoluted route to Wrightsboro around the airport. Photo taken 06/24/10.
Exit 420B quickly follows for the continuation of North College Road toward Castle Hayne. U.S. 117 & North Carolina 132 continue together five miles to junction North Carolina 133. Photo taken 06/24/10.
U.S. Highway 117 South
In the other direction, southbound U.S. 117 and North Carolina 132 meet Kerr Avenue at this intersection, just prior to the U.S. 76/Truck U.S. 17 (Oleander Drive) intersection. Kerr Avenue generally parallels College Road to the north of this intersection, but the two streets converge here. Photo taken 06/01/05.
The next major intersection on southbound U.S. 117 and North Carolina 132 is the junction with U.S. 76 and Truck U.S. 17. Use U.S. 76/Truck U.S. 17 northeast to Wrightsville Beach and the Military Cutoff en route to Jacksonville. Use U.S. 76/Truck U.S. 17 southwest to downtown Wilmington and Brunswick County. Photo taken 06/01/05.
At the College Road (southbound) and Oleander Drive intersection, this array of shields points the way for the continuation of U.S. 117 and North Carolina 132 south (straight ahead) as well as U.S. 76 and Truck U.S. 17. Photo taken 06/01/05.
Further south, North Carolina 132 and U.S. 117 split at the point where College Road and Shipyard Boulevard meet. U.S. 117 turns west onto Shipyard Boulevard toward U.S. 421 and the state port, while North Carolina 132 travels south to its southern terminus at U.S. 421 (Monkey Junction). This reassurance shield for U.S. 117 south is found on westbound Shipyard Boulevard after Independence. Photo taken 06/01/05.
U.S. 421 is a major north-south route through Wilmington. U.S. 117 meets U.S. 421 at a signalized intersection, and U.S. 117 continues west toward the state port. U.S. 421 travels north to downtown and south to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Fort Fisher. Photo taken 06/01/05.
Southbound U.S. 117 (Shipyard Boulevard) reaches U.S. 421 (Carolina Beach Road). U.S. 117 continues east past U.S. 421 for about a half mile to end at the entrance to the Wilmington State Port. The newly revised routing of U.S. 117 was likely created in order to provide a continuous route from Interstate 40 to the State Port, thus creating a consistent truck route. Photo taken 06/01/05.
As Shipyard Boulevard/U.S. 117 approaches the state port, the left lane becomes an exit only for River Road, while the right lane will continue into the port's main gate. River Road turns south from Shipyard Boulevard, following the Cape Fear River on its eastern bank until ending at U.S. 421 near Snows Cut Bridge. Photo taken 06/01/05.
Loading cranes, docks, and other structures dominate the skyline of the state port. U.S. 117 carries a good deal of truck traffic, as it is the primary connection between the port and the Interstate Highway System. Photo taken 06/01/05.
The left lane turns left onto southbound River Road, while the right lane continues into the state port after the railroad crossing. Photo taken 06/01/05.
An END U.S. 117 shield is posted after the railroad tracks. A guard station and ancillary development is just beyond the end shield. Photo taken 06/01/05.
U.S. Highway 117 scenes
The Parsley Street Bridge, which carries U.S. 74 & North Carolina 133 over the North East Cape Fear River, was formerly part of U.S. 117 before U.S. 117 was rerouted onto North Carolina 132 and Shipyard Boulevard. Photo taken 05/29/05.
Northbound North Carolina 132 (College Road) approaches U.S. 117 (Shipyard Boulevard). Photo taken 11/30/-1.
Here is another view of the North Carolina 132/U.S. 117 intersection as seen along northbound College Road at Shipyard Boulevard. Photo taken 06/01/05.

Photo Credits:

  • 2005-05-29 by AARoads.
  • 2005-06-01 by AARoads.
  • 2006-11-11 by AARoads and Justin Cozart.
  • 2010-06-24 by AARoads.

Connect with:
Interstate 40
Interstate 795
U.S. Highway 64
U.S. Highway 301

Page Updated 03-01-2012.

© AARoads