U.S. Route 21

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U.S. Route 21 marker

U.S. Route 21
Route information
Length: 394 mi[2][3][4] (634 km)
Existed: 1926[1] – present
Major junctions
South end: Hunting Island State Park, SC
  I‑95 near Yemassee, SC
I‑26 (three times in SC)
I‑20 in Columbia, SC
I-77 (numerous times in SC/NC)
I‑85 in Charlotte, NC
I‑40 in Statesville, NC
North end: I‑81 / US 52 in Wytheville, VA
Highway system



I-20 SC SC 22
NC 20 NC NC 22
SR 20 VA SR 22

U.S. Route 21 (US 21) is a north–south United States Numbered Highway that runs 394 miles (634 km) from Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina to Wytheville, Virginia.

Route description[edit]

South Carolina[edit]

US 21 travels 233.2 miles (375.3 km) through the state. Beginning at Hunting Island State Park, US 21 travels west toward Beaufort, where it widens to four lanes. The route bypasses Beaufort to the south, going through Port Royal, Shell Point, and Burton. In the Beaufort area, US 21 passes by the entrances to Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort, the major Marine Corps installations in the area. North of Beaufort, US 21 continues as a four-lane divided highway and intersects with US 17. The route travels in a wrong-way concurrency with US 17 south for seven miles (11 km) before turning north towards Yemassee, South Carolina, where it becomes a rural two-lane road and intersects with US 17 Alternate. North of Yemassee, US 21 splits off and crosses Interstate 95 (I-95) at exit 42.

The two-lane route continues through rural portions of the state. US 21 goes through Smoaks and Branchville, South Carolina and bypasses Orangeburg. North of Orangeburg, US 21 runs roughly parallel to I-26 until Gaston where it conjoins US 321 and becomes an urban highway. US 21 passes through Cayce, West Columbia, and Columbia (passing by the State House).

North of Columbia, US 21 splits from US 321, reverting to a rural two-lane road parallel to I-77. In York County, US 21 enters urban areas again, connecting Rock Hill and Fort Mill. Near the North Carolina state line, US 21 merges with I-77 near Carowinds, then enters North Carolina.

North Carolina[edit]

US 21 begins as a concurrency with I-77, which it repeats three times within the state. Its first break with I-77 is along Statesville Avenue, then proceeding through Huntersville and Cornelius, however, because of its close proximity to I-77 and North Carolina Highway 115 (NC 115), it has no interchange with I-485. The second break with I-77 occurs at Mooresville, where US 21 travels through the city and then northwest into Statesville. After Statesville, US 21 travels northeast to Harmony and Brooks Crossroads, before merging back with I-77 near Jonesville. North of Elkin, US 21 splits with I-77 for the last time and goes north to Sparta, passing the Blue Ridge Parkway after a major, curvy section. North of Sparta, at Twin Oaks, US 221 overlaps with US 21 before entering Virginia. US 21 travels 124.5 miles (200.4 km) through the western Piedmont of North Carolina, either combined with I-77 or as a two-lane rural road; from the South Carolina state line to Elkin, travelers can easily skip a majority of US 21 via I-77.

Virginia[edit]

After a few miles crossing the state line, US 21 reaches the town of Independence, where it splits with US 221 and continues north. The route goes through the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area before entering the city of Wytheville. After a short concurrency with US 11 in downtown Wytheville, it goes north and ends at the intersection of I-81/US 52. US 21 travels 35 miles (56 km) through western Virginia, mostly as a two-lane rural mountain road.

History[edit]

End of US 21 at Hunting Island, SC

US 21 in the pre-Interstate era was a north–south highway connecting the area around Lake Erie and the coastal South. One of the few true north–south routes to cross the middle Appalachian Mountains, it became an important corridor for motor traffic between northeastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, (with US 19) and western New York state and central North Carolina, central and southeastern South Carolina, and by connecting with other highways, coastal Georgia and most of Florida.

US 21 originally (in 1926) connected Cleveland, Ohio, and Yemassee, South Carolina. In 1935 it was extended to Beaufort, South Carolina, and again in 1953 to its current southern terminus at the Atlantic Coast at Hunting Island State Park, between the city of Beaufort and Fripp Island.[5]

In the Interstate Highway era much of US 21 became an obvious corridor for a long-distance expressway. The West Virginia Turnpike between Charleston, West Virginia, and Princeton, West Virginia, was the first segment of a planned series of toll highways along or near US 21 from Cleveland to Charlotte, North Carolina. All of the other toll highways were shelved in favor of freeways built with Interstate funding; these freeways and the West Virginia Turnpike became I-77, which completely supplanted old US 21 as a long-distance through route. I-77 was later extended to Columbia, South Carolina, also within a few miles of US 21.

Between Cleveland and Charleston, all but a relatively short segment of US 21 was completely deleted in favor of I-77, the relics being State Route 21 (SR 21) and SR 821 between Byesville and Marietta, Ohio. The section of US 21 between Mineral Wells and Charleston is now signed as County Route 21 in all four counties along the route (Wood, Wirt, Jackson, and Kanawha).

Between Charleston and its current northern terminus at Wytheville, Virginia, almost all of US 21 coincided with either US 60, US 19, or US 52, which remained as US 21 was deleted. The short segment of US 21 in southern West Virginia not coinciding with another U.S. Highway became an extension of West Virginia Route 16.

In North Carolina, US 21 originally entered the state along today's NC 51 into Pineville, then followed Old Pineville Road into Charlotte. In the mid-1930s, US 21 moved over to South Boulevard from Old Pineville Road. In 1969, US 21 was rerouted following today's I-77 alignment, the old route was replaced by an extension of US 521. From 1975–87, US 21 moved north in segments onto I-77 to its current alignment ending at exit 16A (Sunset Road). Further north, US 21 originally followed Old Statesville Road, replaced in 1956 by NC 115. In 1966, US 21 was bypassed around Jonesville and Elkin, replaced with US 21 Business.[6]

Junction list[edit]

County Location Mile[2][3][4] km Exit Destinations Notes
Beaufort   0.0 0.0 Hunting Island State Park US 21 begins at intersection of walking trail, road continues south to Fripp Island
Beaufort 14.4 23.2
US 21 Bus. north / SC 802 east
17.3 27.8 SC 281 north (Ribaut Road)
19.8 31.9 Malecon Drive – Parris Island
21.0 33.8 SC 128 west (Savannah Highway) – Bluffton, Hardeeville, Hilton Head Island
24.1 38.8 SC 170 west – Beaufort
25.3 40.7
US 21 Bus. south – Beaufort
26.7 43.0 SC 116 west – Laurel Bay
Gardens Corner 37.3 60.0 US 17 north (Charleston Highway) – Charleston North end of US 17 overlap
Pocotaligo 43.9 70.7
US 17 south / US 17 Alt. north – Ridgeland, Yemassee
South end of US 17 and US 17 Alt. overlap
Hampton Yemassee 47.7 76.8 SC 68 west (Yemassee Highway) – Varnville, Hampton
Colleton   51.3 82.6
US 17 Alt. north (Hendersonville Highway) – Walterboro
North end of US 17 Alt. overlap
  54.0 86.9 I‑95 – Florence, Savannah
  63.9 102.8 SC 63 (Sniders Highway) – Varnville, Walterboro
  70.3 113.1 SC 64 (Bells Highway) – Ehrhardt, Walterboro
Smoaks 79.0 127.1 SC 217 (Lodge Highway) – Lodge
Bamberg   85.0 136.8 SC 61 (Edisto River Road) – Bamberg
Orangeburg Branchville 90.7 146.0 US 78 west (Edward Street) – Bamberg West end of US 78 overlap
90.9 146.3 US 78 east (Dorange Road) – Charleston East end of US 78 overlap
91.3 146.9 SC 210 north – Bowman
Orangeburg 106.3 171.1
US 21 Bus. north (Rowesville Road)
106.4 171.2
US 178 east (Charleston Highway) / US 178 Bus. – Summerville, Charleston
East end of US 178 overlap
107.7 173.3 US 301 (Five Chop Road) – Santee
108.8 175.1 SC 33 (Russel Street) – Cameron
109.6 176.4 US 601 (Magnolia Street) – St. Matthews
110.8 178.3
US 178 (Chestnut Street) / US 21 Bus. (Columbia Road) – North
West end of US 178 overlap
Calhoun   122.5 197.1 SC 6 south (Cawcaw Road) / SC 172 west (Bull Swamp Road) – St. Matthews, North South end of SC 6 overlap
  124.4 200.2 SC 6 north (Center Hill Road) – Swansea North end of SC 6 overlap
Lexington   129.5 208.4 I‑26 – Columbia, Charleston
Calhoun   132.2 212.8 US 176 east (Old State Road) – St. Matthews East end of US 176 overlap
Lexington   139.3 224.2 I‑26 – Columbia, Charleston
  141.0 226.9 US 321 south – Gaston, Swansea South end of US 321 overlap
Cayce 143.5 230.9 To I‑77 (Fish Hatchery Road) – Charlotte
143.9 231.6 I‑26 – Charleston, Spartanburg
145.1 233.5 SC 2 north (Frink Road)
West Columbia 146.6 235.9 SC 302 south (Airport Boulevard) – Aiken, Columbia Airport
148.3 238.7 SC 2 (State Street)
Richland Columbia 149.8 241.1 US 1 / US 378 (Gervais Street) To South Carolina State House
150.2 241.7 SC 12 (Hampton/Tylor Streets) To Finlay Park and Columbia Museum of Art
150.7 242.5 I‑126 west / US 76 west – Greenville, Spartanburg West end of US 76 overlap
151.7 244.1 US 76 east (Elmwood Avenue) East end of US 76 overlap
151.9 244.5 US 176 west (River Drive) West end of US 176 overlap
152.6 245.6 SC 16 (Sunset Drive)
153.1 246.4 SC 215 north (Montichello Road) To Columbia International University
154.1 248.0 US 321 north (Fairfield Street)
156.6 252.0 I‑20 – Florence, Augusta
  164.1 264.1 I‑77 – Columbia, Charlotte
  165.3 266.0 SC 555 (Farrow Road) – Columbia
Fairfield Ridgeway 173.8 279.7 SC 34 east (Palmer Street) – Lugoff, Camden East end of SC 34 overlap
174.1 280.2 SC 34 west (Church Street) – Winnsboro Mills West end of SC 34 overlap
  190.7 306.9 SC 200 – Winnsboro South end of SC 200 overlap
Chester Great Falls 193.7 311.7 SC 99 north (Chester Avenue) – Richburg
194.8 313.5 SC 97 north – Chester North end of SC 97 overlap
195.0 313.8 SC 97 south / SC 200 north – Lancaster South end of SC 97 and north end of SC 200 overlap
Fort Lawn 202.6 326.1 SC 9 (Chester Avenue) – Richburg, Lancaster
  207.9 334.6 SC 223 (Wylies Mill Road) – Richburg
York Lesslie 215.2 346.3 SC 5 south – Lexington
Rock Hill 218.9 352.3 Springfield Road – Lesslie Exit ramps not clearly marked
219.7 353.6 I‑77 – Columbia, Charlotte
220.2 354.4 SC 5 north (Main Street) North end of SC 5 overlap
220.5 354.9 SC 121 south (Cowan Road) South end of SC 121 overlap
221.7 356.8 SC 122 (Dave Lyle Boulevard)
224.0 360.5 SC 322 west (Cherry Road) North end of SC 121 overlap
224.5 361.3 I‑77 / SC 161 west (Celanese Road) – Columbia, Charlotte
Fort Mill 226.0 363.7
US 21 Bus. north (Spratt Street) / Sutton Road
228.0 366.9 SC 160 – Tega Cay
230.8 371.4 SC 460 (Springfield Parkway) – Tega Cay, Fort Mill
232.0 373.4
US 21 Bus. south (Old Nation Road)
232.7 374.5 SC 51 north (Pineville-Rock Hill Road) – Pineville
233.3 375.5 I‑77 south / Carowinds Boulevard – Columbia South end of I-77 overlap; to Carowinds
  234.1
0.0
376.7
0.0
South CarolinaNorth Carolina state line
Mecklenburg Charlotte 0.9 1.4 1A Westinghouse Boulevard Formerly exit 1 before August 2010
1.8 2.9 1B I‑485 – Huntersville, Pineville Formerly exit 2 (southbound) before August 2010
2.8 4.5 3 Arrowood Road Formerly exit 2 (northbound) before August 2010
3.7 6.0 4 Nations Ford Road
4.8 7.7 5 Tyvola Road
6.0 9.7 6A Woodlawn Road south – Queens University To Pfeiffer University
6.2 10.0 6B NC 49 (South Tryon Street) / Billy Graham Parkway To Billy Graham Library
7.3 11.7 7 To NC 49 / Clanton Road
8.3 13.4 8 To NC 160 / Remount Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
9.0 14.5 9A NC 160 (West Boulevard) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
9.4 15.1 9B I‑277 north (John Belk Freeway) / US 74 east
9.5 15.3 9C US 74 west (Wilkinson Boulevard)
9.9 15.9 10A US 29 / NC 27 (Morehead Street) Northbound exit is via exit 9C
10.4 16.7 10 Trade Street / Fifth Street Signed as exits 10B (Trade Street east) and 10C (Trade Street west, Fifth Street) southbound
11.0 17.7 11A I‑277 south / NC 16 south (Brookshire Freeway east) – Downtown Charlotte
11.2 18.0 11B NC 16 north (Brookshire Freeway west) Northbound left exit
12.4 20.0 12 Lasalle Street / Atando Avenue
13.3 21.4 13 I‑85 – Greensboro, Spartanburg Signed as exits 13A (north) and 13B (south)
15.8 25.4 16 I‑77 north – Statesville North end of I-77 overlap
16.3 26.2 NC 155 north (Old Statesville Road)
18.9 30.4 NC 24 (W.T. Harris Boulevard) To Northlake Mall
Huntersville 25.7 41.4 NC 73 (Sam Fur Road) – Concord
Cornelius 28.8 46.3 28 I‑77 south – Charlotte South end of I-77 overlap
Davidson 30.2 48.6 30 Davidson, Davidson College
Iredell Mooresville 32.1 51.7 31 Langtree Road
33.7 54.2 33 I‑77 north – Statesville North end of I-77 overlap
36.4 58.6 NC 150 (Plaza Drive)
39.1 62.9 NC 155 south (Statesville Highway) South end of NC 155 overlap
  43.3 69.7 I‑77 – Charlotte, Statesville
Statesville 51.2 82.4 US 70 (Garner Bagnal Boulevard) – Conover, Salisbury
51.9 83.5 US 64 west (Front Street) / NC 115 north (Center Street) West end of US 64 and north end of NC 115 overlap
52.3 84.2 NC 90 west (Water Street)
53.2 85.6 US 64 east (Davie Avenue) – Mocksville East end of US 64 overlap
54.1 87.1 I‑40 – Hickory, Winston-Salem
  57.2 92.1 I‑77 – Statesville, Elkin
Harmony 66.9 107.7 NC 901 (Memorial Highway) – Union Grove
Yadkin Brooks Crossroads 79.2 127.5 US 421 – Wilkesboro, Yadkinville, Winston-Salem
  85.4 137.4 79
I‑77 south / US 21 Bus. north – Statesville, Jonesville
South end of I-77 overlap
Jonesville 88.5 142.4 82 NC 67 – Jonesville, Boonville, Elkin
Surry Elkin 90.3 145.3 83 I‑77 north – Wytheville North end of I-77 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance
91.3 146.9 NC 268 – Elkin To Elkin Municipal Airport
92.8 149.3
US 21 Bus. south / Popular Springs Road – Elkin
Northbound turn left on Popular Springs Road to US 21 Business
Alleghany   111.2 179.0 Blue Ridge Parkway
Sparta 118.2 190.2 NC 18 (Whitehead Street) – Laurel Springs
Twin Oaks 121.1 194.9 US 221 south – Jefferson South end of US 221 overlap
  124.3
0.0
200.0
0.0
North Carolina–Virginia state line
Grayson Independence 3.9 6.3 US 58 / US 221 north (Main Street) – Mouth of Wilson, Galax North end of US 221 overlap
Elk Creek 13.2 21.2 Corners Rock Road
Wythe Speedwell 21.2 34.1 SR 619 east / SR 749 west
Wytheville 33.5 53.9 US 11 south (Lee Highway) South end of US 11 overlap
33.8 54.4 US 11 north (Main Street) North end of US 11 overlap
35.0 56.3 I‑81 / US 52 – Bristol, Roanoke
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Bannered routes[edit]

There is currently four active business loops and two known connectors along its route.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Droz, Robert V. (June 1, 2010). "North–South US Highways with Daughter Routes". US Highways from US 1 to US 830. Self-published. Retrieved June 2, 2012. [unreliable source]
  2. ^ a b Google Inc. "Overview Map of US 21 in SC". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=US-21+N%2FState+Rd+S-7-406&daddr=32.39446,-80.68124+to:32.92403,-80.85831+to:33.69169,-80.93173+to:33.85501,-81.022+to:33.91695,-81.07418+to:33.98799,-81.04643+to:34.11547,-80.98999+to:34.260892,-80.9616175+to:34.73667,-80.90525+to:34.9506,-80.99774+to:35.07296,-80.93542+to:I-77+N&hl=en&geocode=FdIX7gEduoY0-w%3BFdxM7gEd6OYw-ykb7RYx3gz8iDHGPNLiL0d0ew%3BFX5h9gEdOjMu-yl9JU6egE35iDErBacgoCGK4A%3BFSoYAgIdbhQt-ymPxxkX9874iDFmOgDlxE2boQ%3BFSKWBAId0LMr-yl5I2VMRLj4iDE87_PFx9RZ2w%3BFRaIBQId_Ocq-ylpTcIDVbn4iDHLXuBHIw96Fw%3BFZadBgIdYlQr-ykbW7gIPLv4iDFT6WiJmpR8YA%3BFY6PCAId2jAs-ynj73XeIKb4iDGG2D_eSO6WLw%3BFZzHCgIdr58s-ykfyx4lYQNWiDHg6jKVz1daxg%3BFR4KEgId3nst-ylf4OS4LnpWiDH2WzYgWfFZXQ%3BFchNFQIdlBIs-yn33j0yo4hWiDGaFIc2a4ywrg%3BFcArFwIdBAYt-ynnTKxxIptWiDF_kexPt6IOZA%3BFf6hFwIdDBct-w&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=5&sz=12&via=1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11&sll=33.916013,-80.968895&sspn=0.212826,0.445976&ie=UTF8&ll=33.715202,-80.419922&spn=3.41286,7.13562&z=8. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Google Inc. "Overview Map of US 21 in NC". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=I-77+N&daddr=35.33978,-80.84222+to:35.450738,-80.8669896+to:35.60639,-80.83859+to:35.736758,-80.8980744+to:35.7843879,-80.8854998+to:35.827681,-80.874724+to:35.93103,-80.78013+to:36.14551,-80.78297+to:US-21+N%2FUS-221+N&hl=en&geocode=Ff6hFwIdDBct-w%3BFQQ-GwIdFHIu-ynXhM_jD6dWiDHqjwYW4gPVWg%3BFXLvHAIdUxEu-ynDMEdtEKlWiDEqvqAdEJGcgA%3BFXZPHwIdQoAu-ymHyzxpCVVRiDFp7RYGin8CXg%3BFbZMIQId5pct-ymPSpwvU1dRiDGyPDp24QndKQ%3BFcMGIgIdBckt-ynxR4kCnVlRiDFb3Evqye4Vsw%3BFeGvIgIdHPMt-ymX5mAWNVlRiDEsQC3zyFANjQ%3BFZZDJAIdnmQv-ynxgYOuwN9TiDFIMvYY--0Oeg%3BFWaJJwIdhlkv-ykXsYEqQtZTiDHif8x5kl90UQ%3BFbgDLgId3rEp-w&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=5&sz=15&via=1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8&sll=35.785931,-80.868173&sspn=0.026005,0.055747&ie=UTF8&ll=35.773258,-79.898071&spn=3.328915,7.13562&z=8. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Google Inc. "Overview Maps of US 21 in VA". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=US-21+N%2FUS-221+N%2FNew+River+Pkwy&daddr=N+4th+St&hl=en&geocode=FbgDLgId3rEp-w%3BFY73MwIdA4gq-w&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=16&sll=36.95946,-81.097255&sspn=0.012808,0.027874&ie=UTF8&ll=36.830172,-80.973358&spn=0.821096,1.783905&z=10. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  5. ^ Sanderson, Dale (July 4, 2009). "End of US Highway 21". US Ends. Self-published. Retrieved February 2, 2011. [unreliable source]
  6. ^ Mapmikey; Prince, Adam (August 28, 2009). "US 21". NCRoads.com Annex: More Highways of North Carolina. Self-published. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011. [unreliable source]

External links[edit]