U.S. 74 East - Polk / Rutherford Counties

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U.S. 74 East
U.S. 74 departs from a 35-mile long overlap with Interstate 26 east along a freeway through the town of Columbus. NC 108 (Mills Street) passes through the Columbus business district northeast to U.S. 74 at Exit 163. 07/11/20
U.S. 74 joins I-26 with Rutherfordton, Forest City and Shelby over the course of 37 miles. 07/11/20
A second mileage sign references destinations along Interstate 85. U.S. 74 provides a direct route between the mountains and North Carolina's largest city. 07/11/20
Exit 163 departs U.S. 74 east for NC 108 outside the town of Columbus. The state route continues north five miles to Mill Spring and 19 miles to Rutherfordton. 07/11/20
2 photos
2 photos
U.S. 74 winds eastward through hilly forests south of Fox Mountain. 05/30/05
Paralleling White Oak Creek, U.S. 74 progresses east toward a diamond interchange (Exit 167) with NC 9. NC 9 is part of a multi state route with S.C. 9 between Spartanburg, South Carolina and Black Mountain. 07/11/20
An S-curve leads the U.S. 74 freeway east a half mile to Exit 167 with NC 9 at Beulah. The state route crosses the state line south of Sandy Plains, 8.3 miles from U.S. 74. 07/11/20
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2 photos
Exit 167 serves New Prospect, South Carolina to the south and Mill Spring, Lake Lure, and Chimney Rock (via U.S. 74A west) to the north. 05/30/05, 07/11/20
Exit 167 leaves U.S. 74 east for NC 9. NC 9 meets NC 108 at Mill Spring two miles to the west. 07/11/20
Eastbound U.S. 74 reassurance shield posted after the entrance ramp from NC 9. 05/30/05
Mileage sign posted 31 miles from Shelby. 05/30/05
Gastonia is 57 miles to the east along U.S. 29/74. 05/30/05
A parclo interchange joins U.S. 74 with Pea Ridge Road at Exit 170. Pea Ridge Road (SR 1326) serves the adjacent Tryon International Equestrian Center and rural areas of eastern Polk County between Pea Ridge and Cox Store. 07/11/20
A $5.7 million project added two bridges along U.S. 74 for a new Tryon International Equestrian Center access road linking the parking area along Pea Ridge Road with adjacent John Shehan Road. Work ran from March to August 2018.1 07/11/20
Exit 170 leaves U.S. 74 east to Pea Ridge Road (SR 1326). Pea Ridge Road travels 2.3 miles east to Cox Store and 3.8 miles north to NC 108 west of Pea Ridge. 07/11/20
U.S. 74 eastbound reassurance shield posted on the three mile drive between Pea Ridge and Union Roads. 07/11/20
2 photos
2 photos
The freeway crosses the Green River along the scenic stretch between Pea Ridge Road (Exit 170) and the succeeding exit at Union Road. 05/30/05
U.S. 74 advances east one mile to Exit 173 with Union Road (SR 1145). Union Road stems north from nearby Coxe Road (SR 1005) 2.5 miles to the rural settlement of Union. 07/11/20
Like Pea Ridge Road to the west, Union Road also extends north from U.S. 74 to NC 108. The two roads meet in five miles. 07/11/20
The Rutherford County line precedes the diamond interchange (Exit 173) connecting U.S. 74 with Union Road (SR 1153). 07/11/20
Exit 173 departs U.S. 74 east for Union Road (SR 1145). Coxe Road (SR 1005) leads west from Union Road to Sandy Plains Road and NC 9 at Kross Keys and northeast to U.S. 221 at south Rutherfordton. 07/11/20
U.S. 74 spans the Broad River east beyond Union Road. 05/30/05
U.S. 221 meets U.S. 74 at the ensuing exit. The highway travels 731 miles overall between Perry, Florida and Lynchburg, Virginia. 07/11/20
U.S. 221 converges with the U.S. 74 freeway six miles to the south of Rutherfordton. U.S. 221 provides the main route between the Rutherford County seat and the city of Spartanburg, South Carolina, located 28 miles to the south. 07/11/20
A diamond interchange joins U.S. 74 and 221 at Exit 178. U.S. 221 follows Main Street through Forest Hills and Downtown Rutherfordton, where the route meets NC 108/U.S. 74 Business (Charlotte Road). 07/11/20
U.S. 74 advances east to a trumpet interchange (Exit 181) with U.S. 74 Alternate west. 07/11/20
Providing a direct link to U.S. 64, U.S. 74 Alternate spurs northwest along a controlled access expressway to Spindale and Rutherfordton. U.S. 74A continues northwest with U.S. 64 to Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Bat Cave and ultimately to I-40/240 at Asheville. 07/11/20
U.S. 74 Alternate runs along the west side of Forest City, a town centered around the cross roads of U.S. 74 Business and U.S. 221 Alternate. 07/11/20
Exit 181 loops onto U.S. 74 Alternate leading north through Forest City. The expressway extends 5.8 miles northwest to U.S. 74 Business / U.S. 221 Alternate between Rutherfordton and Spindale. 07/11/20
A folded diamond interchange (Exit 182) joins U.S. 74 with U.S. 221 Alternate (Broadway Street) to the immediate east of U.S. 74 Alternate in Forest City. 07/11/20
U.S. 221 Alternate parallels U.S. 221 to the east through Spindale, Forest City, Alexander Mills, Caroleen, Henrietta, Cliffside and Chesnee, South Carolina. 05/30/05
2 photos
2 photos
Leaving Alexander Mills, U.S. 74 continues east 20 miles to Shelby and 42 to Gastonia via Interstate 85 north. 05/30/05
U.S. 74 eastbound vacates the Forest City area ahead of the diamond interchange (Exit 184) with Old Caroleen Road. Old Caroleen Road branches south from Arlington Street in Forest City along a 4.7 mile course to U.S. 221 Alternate at Caroleen. 05/30/05
Exit numbers along the U.S. 74 freeway formerly discontinued east of U.S. 221 Alternate (Exit 182). The exchange with Old Caroleen Road was subsequently numbered Exit 184. Old Caroleen Road north to Riverside Drive leads motorists toward the town of Bostic. 05/30/05
Ellenboro Henrietta Road (SR 1920) crosses paths with U.S. 74 1.6 miles east of Webbs Creek. The forthcoming diamond interchange (Exit 187) connects the freeway with the town of Ellenboro and unincorporated Henrietta. An abandoned CSX Railroad line passes over the freeway ahead. 05/04/04
Another abandoned branch of the CSX Railroad passes over U.S. 74 ahead of Exit 187 to Ellenboro Henrietta Road (SR 1920). The rural highway travels 2.7 miles south to U.S. 221A at Avondale near both Caroleen and Henrietta. Northward SR 1920 becomes Henrietta Street to U.S. 74 Business (Main Street) in Ellenboro. 05/30/05
A 4.7-mile long route, NC 120 angles northeast from U.S. 221 Alternate at Cliffside to U.S. 74 Business 0.75 miles north of upcoming Exit 189. 05/30/05
Cliffside is an unincorporated community located along U.S. 221 Alternate south of Avondale. 05/30/05
Entering the diamond interchange (Exit 189) with NC 120 on U.S. 74 east. 05/30/05
U.S. 74 crosses into Cleveland County just beyond the entrance ramp from NC 120. 06/09/17

  1. "Detour to start next week for U.S. 74 bridges." Tryon Daily Bulletin (NC), April 7, 2018.

Photo Credits:

  • 05/04/04 by Carter Buchanan.
  • 05/30/05 by AARoads.
  • 06/09/17 by Carter Buchanan.
  • 07/11/20 by Carter Buchanan.

Connect with:
Interstate 26
U.S. 221

Page Updated 08-06-2020.

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