U.S. Highway 52 marker

U.S. Highway 52

US 52 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NCDOT
Length150.3 mi[1][2] (241.9 km)
Major junctions
South end US 52 at the South Carolina line at McFarlan
Major intersections
North end US 52 at the Virginia line near Mount Airy
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesAnson, Stanly, Cabarrus, Rowan, Davidson, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry
Highway system
NC 51 NC 53

U.S. Route 52 (US 52) is a north–south United States highway that runs for 150 miles (240 km) from the South Carolina state line, near McFarlan, to the Virginia state line, near Mount Airy. It serves as a strategic highway through the central North Carolina Piedmont.[3] Because of its alignment in the state, US 52 does not follow the standard convention of an even U.S. route number going east–west.

Between the South Carolina border and Salisbury, the route is an at-grade road, varying in width from two to four lanes. It connects the town centers of a number of small towns in Anson, Stanly, Cabarrus, and Rowan Counties.

Between Salisbury in Rowan County and Mount Airy in Surry County, US 52 is a limited access freeway and is in the process of being upgraded to Interstate Highway standards. Several Interstate highways either already, or are planned to in the near future, overlay the US 52 freeway. From Salisbury to Lexington, it is cosigned with I-85. From Lexington to I-40 south of Winston-Salem it is cosigned with I-285. In the future, as the freeway is upgraded, the I-285 designation will be extended north through Winston-Salem to meet the interchange with the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway. North of that point, I-74 will leave the beltway to join US 52 and the two will remain cosigned until reaching the current short segment of I-74 located south of Mount Airy.

North of the I-74 junction in Surry County, the freeway continues on for a short distance, before becoming a four-lane divided boulevard known as the Andy Griffith Parkway to bypass the town center of Mt. Airy. Immediately before crossing into Virginia, the route reduces back down to two lanes.

Route description

US 52 at the base of Pilot Mountain

US 52 enters North Carolina at Mount Airy. A bypass around Mount Airy, which carries US 52, is designated as the Andy Griffith Parkway. It goes by Pilot Mountain one of the most distinctive natural features in North Carolina. Through the Piedmont Triad region, US 52 is mostly a limited access freeway. The route joins I-85 Business into Lexington and is concurrent I-85 around Salisbury. The segment of US 52 from I-40 in Winston-Salem to Lexington was upgraded to Interstate highway standards and cosigned as I-285 in 2018. The segment through Winston-Salem is also expected to be upgraded so that I-285 can be extended to the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway near Rural Hall. From the beltway to just south of Mount Airy, US 52 is expected to form part of the I-74 corridor through North Carolina.

South of the Triad area after splitting from I-85 in Salisbury, US 52 is typically a two-lane route linking some of the state's smaller cities and towns. Albemarle is the largest municipality along this segment of US 52 to the South Carolina state line.

Between Salisbury and Albemarle in Northern Stanly County, US 52 bisects the campus of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer. Misenheimer may be[original research?] the only municipality in America whose only traffic light is not at an intersection of two or more streets, but at a crosswalk to accommodate pedestrian traffic (the crosswalk being across US 52 connecting the two parts of Pfeiffer's campus on opposite sides of the highway).


US 52/US 74, in Wadesboro

US 52 was established in 1934 as a replacement of US 121/NC 66 from the Virginia state line, near Mount Airy, to Lexington and replacement of US 601/NC 80 from Lexington to the South Carolina state line, near McFarlan.

In the mid-1930s, US 52 was placed on current routing between Rocky River-Norwood and Misenheimer-Gold Hill. In Wadesboro, US 52 was routed along Morgan-Washington-Martin Streets; while in Stokes County, US 52 was placed on new road between Pilot Mountain and King.

In 1941, US 52 was removed from Salisbury Road and placed on its current routing, with US 29/70, south of Lexington. Between 1945 and 1949, US 52 was split in downtown Winston-Salem: northbound using the original Main Street route, southbound using Liberty Street and First Street. In 1949, US 52 was placed on a new bypass east of Pilot Mountain, leaving US 52A along the main street route.

In 1952, US 52 was placed onto new northern bypass of Lexington, its old route through became part of US 29A/70A and NC 8. In 1953, US 52 was placed onto new western bypass of Mount Airy, its old route through became US 52A (today US 52 Business). In either 1956 or 1957, US 52 was placed on its current route through Wadesboro, via US 74; also around same time period, US 52 was removed from Old Fancy Gap Road near the Virginia state line.

From 1960 to 1972, the next series of changes were in the Winston-Salem area; starting in 1960 with US 52 was removed from Main Street and onto Old Salem Road. In 1962, US 52 northbound was changed to Main Street, Fifth Street, and Liberty Street. By 1964, US 52 was placed onto new freeway from Winston-Salem, just south of East-West Expressway, to Pilot Mountain; this replaced the old route from Stanleyville to Pilot Mountain, becoming simply Old US 52. By 1973, US 52 was completed moved onto the completed North-South Expressway in Forsyth County, completely removing US 52 from all regular roads through the county.

In 1971, US 52 was joined with I-85, from the Yadkin River to Salisbury, leaving the downtown area. In 1980, the freeway from Forsyth County extended into Davidson County at Midway. By 1982, New London was placed on a short bypass west of town. Between 1985 and 1987, US 52 was given its current Albemarle bypass routing; in October 2010, the routing was rebuilt along its southern portion. Between 1991 and 1993, US 52 was extended further south onto new freeway from Midway to Welcome in north Davidson County; by 1995, the freeway connected with the Lexington bypass, completing US 52's move from rural road to freeway from Lexington to Mount Airy.

Construction of replacement bridges over Liberty Street

Throughout most of the 2010s, a series of road improvements were made along US 52 in Winston-Salem, including replacement of bridges, interchanges and widening of lanes and shoulders. The initial change was a replacement of the Liberty Street bridges (built in 1964) over Liberty Street and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Switching Yard. The project included the permanent ramp closure of exit 111-B, on February 19, 2011; the entire project was completed on November 1, 2012.[4][5][6] In 2012, exit 110-A to Third, Fourth, Fifth Street was permanently closed related to the widening of US 52 and extending new acceleration lanes to the neighboring interchanges.[7][8] In 2013, construction began on the Salem Creek Connector (later becoming an extension of Research Parkway), at a cost of $68.9 million, it involved reconfiguring exit 108-B (replacing Vargrave Street with Research Parkway), the permanent closure of 108-C (Stadium Drive, later renamed Rams Drive), bridge replacements (including a truss flyover for Norfolk Southern) and the realignment of area roads.[9] On January 6, 2014, exit 108-B was closed and Vargrave Street razed.[10] On July 12, 2017, exit 108-B reopened to the public as Research Parkway, utilizing a diverging diamond interchange layout; exit 108-C to Rams Drive was then permanently closed, with a bridge replacement completed shortly after.[11][12]

In addition to the upgrades in Winston-Salem, US 52 was also upgraded to interstate grade between I-85 and I-40/US 311. Approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in September 2005, after receiving an earlier approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in July 2005, intending to provide an Interstate-quality freeway to connect Winston-Salem to Charlotte (via a portion of I-85). The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) installed "Future Interstate 285 Corridor" signs along the route in February 2006. The initial $2.5-million (equivalent to $3.23 million in 2022[13]) project to improve the roadway to Interstate standards was approved in October 2011.[14][15] With property acquisition already started in December 2012, cost estimates rose to $8.57 million (equivalent to $11.1 million in 2022[13]). The contract was awarded to J.T. Russell and Sons Inc. of Albemarle for $7.6 million (equivalent to $9.8 million in 2022[13]). Construction began in March 2014 and included reconstructing shoulders, improving drainage systems, resurfacing travel lanes, and realigning Marco Boulevard to accommodate a new southbound exit ramp alignment at Green Needles Road. In addition, crews resurfaced and preserved the bridges over Swearing Creek. The project was completed in late 2017.

On February 15, 2018, based on the completed improvements, the FHWA approved the I-285 signing between I-85 and I-40.[16][17]

U.S. Route 121

U.S. Highway 121 marker

U.S. Highway 121

LocationLexington, NC-VA state line
Length64.0 mi[18] (103.0 km)

U.S. Route 121 (US 121) was an original US highway, established in 1926, and was completely overlapped with NC 66. Beginning north from Main Street (US 70/NC 10), in Lexington, it went through Welcome and Midway to Winston-Salem. Traversing through Winston-Salem on Waughtown Road and Main Street, it exits north along Patterson Avenue to Stanleyville. Continuing north through Rural Hall, King, and Pilot Mountain, it reached downtown Mount Airy, before continuing on north into Virginia, via Old Fancy Gap Road. By 1929, US 121 was rerouted south of Winston-Salem along Spur Street; its old alignment remained part of NC 77. In late 1934, both US 121 and NC 66 were replaced by US 52.

Andy Griffith Parkway

The Andy Griffith Parkway is an 11-mile (18 km) section of U.S. Route 52 in northern Surry County, North Carolina, dedicated in honor of actor Andy Griffith. U.S. Route 52 through this stretch is a limited- controlled-access four-lane divided highway. Approximately 5.5 miles (8.9 km) of the 11-mile (18 km) section passes through the corporate limits of Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.[19]


Due to its proximity to Pilot Mountain State Park, in 1977 U.S. Route 52 through Surry County and Stokes County was dedicated as the Pilot Mountain Parkway by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. However, in March 2002, the North Carolina Department of Transportation was approached by a grassroots group of residents of Mount Airy that felt that a highway dedication for Griffith was long overdue.

The group proposed to rename an 11-mile (18 km) section of the Pilot Mountain Parkway running from the Interstate 74 interchange north to the Virginia state line as the Andy Griffith Parkway. The Pilot Mountain Parkway designation would remain from the I-74 intersection south through Stokes County.

The group had the support of the dedication from several North Carolina state agency officials that included Governor Mike Easley, State Treasurer Richard H. Moore and NCDOT Division 11 Board Member Sam Erby. Each of these officials played an integral role in expediting the renaming through the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Road and Bridge Naming Committee. The dedication also had the full support of Andy Griffith. The NCDOT Road and Bridge Naming Committee voted unanimously for the dedication at their July 2002 meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dedication ceremony

A dedication ceremony was held on October 16, 2002, in the parking lot behind City Hall in Mount Airy. Andy Griffith accepted the invitation to attend the ceremony. It was Griffith's first public appearance in his hometown in over 40 years. Also in attendance were Griffith's wife Cindi Griffith, Governor Mike Easley, former University of North Carolina President William C. Friday, Grandfather Mountain developer Hugh Morton, as well as many more state and local officials. More than 3000 Andy Griffith fans also attended to welcome Griffith back to Mount Airy.

Dedicated and memorial names

US 52 features three additional dedicated stretches of highway.


In 2011 there were plans to widen US 52 between Wadesboro and NC 24/NC 27, in Albemarle, to four-lanes by around 2015 (STIP: R-2320).[20]

In the more distant future, US 52 between NC 65, in Winston-Salem, and I-74, near Mount Airy, is planned to be reconstructed to interstate-grade standards as part of I-74 (STIP: I-4404).

Junction list

US 52 east – Cheraw
Continuation from South Carolina
Morven4.47.1 NC 145 (Main Street) – Rockingham, Chesterfield
US 74 east – Rockingham
East end of US 74 overlap
NC 109 / NC 742 south (Greene Street)
South end of NC 742 overlap
US 74 west – Monroe, Charlotte
West end of US 74 overlap
NC 742 north – Oakboro
North end of NC 742 overlap
NC 731 west – Mount Gilead
NC 138 south – Oakboro

US 52 Bus. north / NC 24 / NC 27 / NC 73 east – Troy, Mount Gilead, Charlotte
East end of NC 73 overlap
NC 73 west (Main Street) – Concord
West end of NC 73 overlap

US 52 Bus. south (First Street)
New London50.481.1

NC 8 north / NC 740 south (Gold Street) – Badin
Richfield53.686.3 NC 49 – Concord, Charlotte, Asheboro
No major junctions
NC 152 west (Market Street) – China Grove
I-85 south / Innes Street – Charlotte, Salisbury Downtown
South end of I-85 overlap
Spencer74.9120.579Andrews Street – Spencer, East Spencer
76.3122.881Long Ferry Road – Spencer
Yadkin River78.2125.9Yadkin River Veterans Memorial Bridge

US 29 south / US 70 west / NC 150 east – Spencer
Permanently closed as of April, 2010[21][22][23][24]
79.0127.183 NC 150Permanently closed as of May, 2013[21][23][24]

US 29 south / US 70 west to NC 150 – Spencer
South end of US 29 and west end of US 70 overlap
80.3129.285Clark RoadPermanently closed as of November, 2012[25]
81.4131.086Belmont Road
I-85 north / I-285 begin / I-85 BL begin – High Point, Greensboro
North end of I-85 and south end of I-285/I-85 Bus overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance

NC 47 east to I-85 north
To Davidson County Airport
84.9136.685Green Needles Road
86.0138.486Salisbury Road – Downtown Lexington

I-85 BL / US 29 north / US 70 east – Thomasville, High Point
North end of I-85 Bus/US 29 and east end of US 70 overlap; northbound exit and southbound entrance
88.6142.689 US 64 – Lexington, Mocksville
NC 8 south (Old U.S. Hwy 52) – Lexington, Welcome
South end of NC 8 overlap
97.3156.697Old U.S. Hwy 52 – Midway
Midway99.5160.1100Hickory Tree Road
ForsythWinston-Salem102.8165.4103South Main Street
105.1169.1105Clemmonsville Road
I-40 east / I-285 end – Greensboro, High Point

I-40 west – Statesville
North end of I-285; signed as exits 107A (east) and 107B (west)
107.0172.2108ASprague Street / Waughtown StreetTo University of North Carolina School of the Arts
107.8173.5108BResearch Parkway – Old Salem, Winston-Salem State UniversityDDI; formerly Vargrave Street prior to January 6, 2014[10]
108.2174.1108CStadium Drive – Old SalemPermanently closed as of July 12, 2017[11]

US 158 east / US 421 south / NC 150 east – Kernersville

US 158 west / US 421 north / NC 150 west – Downtown
Signed as exits 109A (east) and 109B (west)
108.9175.3110A3rd 4th 5th Streets – DowntownPermanently closed in 2012[7]
US 311 north (ML King Jr Drive)
109.6176.4110CLiberty Street
109.9176.9110DNorthwest BoulevardSouthbound exit only
110.6178.0111A25th Street / 28th Street
110.9178.5111BLiberty Street – Smith Reynolds AirportWas northbound exit only; permanently closed as of February 19, 2011[4]
111.8179.9112Akron Drive – Smith Reynolds AirportTo Coliseum and BB&T Field
112.6181.2113Patterson Avenue
NC 8 north (Germanton Road) – Germanton
North end of NC 8 overlap
115.5185.9115University ParkwaySigned northbound as exits 115A (north) and 115B (south)
116.1186.8116Hanes Mill RoadTo Kaleideum North
To NC 66 – Germanton
Former northbound entrance and southbound exit; permanently closed on December 9, 2019
Rural Hall117
NC 74 east
Southbound exit and northbound entrance opened to traffic on November 19, 2023; rest of the interchange remains under construction[26]
118.1190.1118 NC 65 – Rural Hall, Bethania
119.8192.8120Westinghouse Road
King121.9196.2122Moore-RJR Drive
123.0197.9123Main Street – King, Tobaccoville
Stokes128.7207.1129Perch Road – Pinnacle
Surry130.8210.5131Pilot Knob Park Road – Pilot Mountain State Park
Pilot Mountain133.7215.2134 NC 268 – Pilot Mountain, ElkinDouble roundabout interchange
135.5218.1135West 52 Bypass – Pilot MountainNorthbound entrance and left southbound exit only
136.1219.0136Cook School Road

I-74 west to I-77 – Wytheville
141.0226.9141Holly Springs Church RoadTo Mount Airy/Surry County Airport

US 52 Bus. north (Main Street)
Mount Airy144.4232.4
US 601 south (Rockford Street) – Dobson

NC 89 (Pine Street) to I-74 west / I-77 – Downtown

US 52 Bus. south (Main Street)
US 52 north – Hillsville
Continuation into Virginia
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, United States Numbered Highways Archived 2007-02-04 at the Wayback Machine, 1989 Edition
  2. ^ a b Google (April 5, 2011). "U.S. Route 52 in North Carolina" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  3. ^ "NCDOT: Strategic Highway Corridors". Archived from the original on January 29, 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Lane closures, construction work on U.S. 52 north in Winston-Salem to begin Saturday" (Press release). Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Transportation. February 17, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  5. ^ "NCDOT: US 52 Bridge Replacement Project". Archived from the original on November 23, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  6. ^ "NCDOT: US 52 Bridge Replacement Project Map" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 24, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "NCDOT News Release: NCDOT to Close U.S. 52; Third, Fourth, Fifth Street Ramps in Winston-Salem Starting Sunday Night" (Press release). Raleigh. June 7, 2012. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "Ramp from Fifth Street to US 52 north closes Monday". WXII-TV. Archived from the original on February 19, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "NCDOT: Salem Creek Connector". Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "NCDOT News Release: Construction of Salem Creek Connector Ramps up in Winston-Salem" (Press release). Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Transportation. December 27, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Young, Wesley (July 12, 2017). "New US 52 intersection opens tonight". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  12. ^ Luck, Todd (July 13, 2017). "WSSU, stadium have new U.S. 52 interchange". Winston-Salem Chronicle. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  14. ^ "I-85 Winston-Salem Connector". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  15. ^ "Correspondence 050616 Peters to Sanderson" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. June 16, 2005. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  16. ^ "Route Change (2018-02-01)" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. February 1, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  17. ^ "I-285 Gets Federal Approval as the Next New Interstate for North Carolina" (Press release). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  18. ^ Google (July 14, 2013). "U.S. Route 121" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c d "North Carolina Memorial Highways and other Named Facilities" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. July 15, 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2012. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  20. ^ "NCDOT - STIP: R-2320". Retrieved March 6, 2011.[dead link]
  21. ^ a b "NCDOT: I-85 Corridor Improvement Project". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2011.
  22. ^ "SalisburyPost.com: Safety concerns lead to closing of Wil-Cox Bridge; no timeframe on reopening". Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  23. ^ a b "NC 150 Route Change (2012-03-01)" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. March 1, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  24. ^ a b NC 150 Route Change (2012-01-04) (PDF) (Map). North Carolina Department of Transportation. January 4, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  25. ^ Staff (July 27, 2011). "NCDOT to close Clark Road entrance and exits ramps on I-85 north, section of Snider Kines Road in Davidson County starting Monday". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  26. ^ Funk, Hunter (November 17, 2023). "NCDOT to open piece of Winston-Salem Northern Beltway ahead of Thanksgiving". wfmynews2.com. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
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