End of US highway 401

View a map showing this route.

Photo credits: David Dawson; J.P. Nasiatka; Alex Nitzman; Bob Robb

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1957-2001 Norlina, NC Sumter, SC
2001-present (near Wise, NC) Sumter, SC

There was a "US 401" among the original 1926 routes: it was entirely in Virginia, running between South Hill and South Boston, along what is now US 58. That designation was decommissioned in 1932; you can read about its endpoints on this page.

Maps from the following year show a second US 401 - this one serving Raleigh NC, Walterboro SC, and points between - but this road was decommissioned after only one year, mostly replaced by US 15.

It wasn't until 1957 that the US 401 designation was resurrected again; it's this third version that still exists today. The south end of US 401 is in Sumter SC. The photo below was looking west on Calhoun Street; the intersection is Washington Street, which once served as US 76/US 521...

Dawson, Dec. 2001

...but apparently the routing of US 521 has changed a bit since that photo. Here's a more recent shot of the assembly that's posted there now:

Nitzman, May 2007

The shot below is from the opposite direction (east) on Calhoun, which is SC hwy. 763 at this point; US 401 begins on the other side of the light (Washington):

Dawson, Dec. 2001

The first northbound US 401 sign is near the yellow pedestrian signs in the distance; it's shown more close-up below:

Dawson, Dec. 2001

That too has changed; it now looks like this:

Nitzman, May 2007

In about a half-mile, Calhoun becomes Oswego Highway, which veers to the northeast, towards Darlington. This last shot is from northbound Washington:

Nitzman, May 2007

The south beginning of US 401 is to the right on Calhoun.


Originally the north end of US 401 was in Norlina NC. There was no "End" sign; you can see the assembly at far left below...

Nitzman, 2000

...but the former beginning of southbound US 401 was to the right. This was heading north on US 1/US 158. The Virginia line is about 7 miles ahead on US 1. US 158 splits from US 1 at this intersection, and heads east towards Roanoke Rapids. US 401 is multiplexed with US 158 for about the first mile, but then it splits off, heading south to Raleigh.

In 2001, the US 401 designation was extended about 7 miles ahead with US 1, to I-85's interchange 233, just shy of the Virginia line. So now the sign shown above looks like this:

Nasiatka, Aug. 2003

This next shot shows the updated sign assembly that replaced the one visible at far left in the first Norlina photo above:

Nasiatka, Aug. 2003

That's at the at the former north end of US 401. Obviously the designation now continues to the right; the shot below is about 7 miles that direction, approaching US 401's new terminus at I-85:

Robb, Apr. 2006

Just ahead is North Carolina's northernmost I-85 interchange, where the US 401 designation actually ends:

Nitzman, June 2005

Below we're looking the opposite direction on US 1...

Nasiatka, Aug. 2003

...and beyond the interchange is the first southbound reassurance marker.

Nitzman, June 2005

Below is a view of the north beginning of US 401 as seen from I-85:

Nitzman, June 2005