If you give directions to your new home at Autumnwood in Sanford, North Carolina, you may say you’re less than a mile off U.S. Highway 421 Business. That’s correct but confusing, since few locals refer to the road that way. It’s one on several quirks you should know to navigate major routes in Sanford most efficiently.

U.S. 421 Business is more commonly called Boone Trail Road to make it distinct from the U.S. 421 highway that bypasses Sanford on the north and east to connect Greensboro to Lillington. It’s Boone Trail Road until the intersection with Wilkins Drive, where it becomes North Horner Boulevard heading southeastward. That intersection is less than a mile when you leave Autumnwood from Cool Springs Road, so expect to hear references to both Boone Trail Road and Horner Boulevard.

When you exit Autumnwood onto Boone Trail/Horner going southeast, that route intersects with U.S. 1/15-501 a mile and a half away. That’s right, there are three numbers for one state highway, because in Sanford, U.S. 1 and U.S. 15-501 merge as the former heads southwestward from Raleigh and the latter heads south from Pittsboro. They stay together south through Aberdeen, where U.S. 1 continues southwestward toward Columbia, South Carolina, while U.S. 15 and 501, which previously combined north of Sanford in Durham, then split in Laurinburg a few miles north of the North Carolina border. Most people refer to the shared highway in Sanford as just U.S. 1.

Additionally, signs for NC 87 appear on U.S. 1/15-501 in Sanford. It’s the main highway connecting Sanford to Graham in the north and Fayetteville to the southeast. NC 87 combines with U.S. 15-501 going north through Pittsboro before heading northwestward on its own, and these routes are the only ones just two lanes among the routes mentioned here. NC 87 also bypasses Sanford concurrently with U.S. 421 on the northeast before they split and the 87 bypass merges with the “old” business NC 87 a mile south of the split. Business 87 becomes part of Horner Boulevard south of the intersection with U.S. 1 until reconnecting with the 87 bypass. It may sound confusing, but one you drive around here, you will get used to this setup, we promise!

Are there any other essential routes you think new arrivals should know to get around Sanford more easily? If so, feel free to comment below.

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