Interstate 85 in North Carolina
According to act-test-centers, Interstate 85 or I -85 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway forms a diagonal east-west route across the state, from the South Carolina border at Kings Mountain through Charlotte, Greensboro, and Durham to the Virginia border at Wise. I-85 runs through or past most major cities in the state and, along with I-40, is often considered North Carolina’s primary highway connection. Interstate 85 is 375 kilometers long in North Carolina.
I-85 on the west side of Charlotte.
I-85 langs Durham.
Interstate 85 in South Carolina comes from Atlanta and crosses the border into North Carolina at Kings Mountain. US 74 joins at Kings Mountain, I-85 also has 2×3 lanes from here. The highway then leads past the small town of Gastonia, where there is a connection to US 321. Then one enters the urban area of Charlotte. From Belmont, I-85 has 2×4 lanes and crosses the Catawba River.
Next, I-85 passes through west and north Charlotte, passing through the city, but not downtown. One crosses Interstate 485 twice, which forms the Charlotte ring road. The passage of I-85 through Charlotte has mostly 2×4 lanes. Just north of downtown is an interchange with Interstate 77.
Northeast of Charlotte follows a series of smaller towns, this area is relatively densely populated. On the 100-mile stretch between Charlotte and Greensboro, I-85 has 2×3 to 2×4 lanes. The highway passes Kannapolis and Concord and crosses the Yadkin River after Salisbury. At Lexington, Interstate 285 branches off to Winston-Salem. I-85 then has a wide median strip and both lanes intersect twice.
According to liuxers, I-85 then bypasses Thomasville and High Point, then interchanges with Interstate 74. I-85 then enters the urban area of Greensboro. I-85 thereafter forms Greensboro’s southern bypass, which connects to Interstate 840, which forms the remainder of the Greensboro beltway. The Greensboro bypass has 2×4 lanes. There will be an interchange with Interstate 73.
East of Greensboro, a 50-mile double-numbered intersection begins with Interstate 40 until just before Durham. This route also has 2×4 lanes and leads past Burlington. At Hillsborough, the two routes split again, I-40 heads southeast past Durham toward Raleigh, while I-85 forms Durham’s northern bypass. After the fork, I-85 briefly has 2×2 lanes, but 2×4 lanes are available again past Durham. Interstates with State Route 147 and Interstate 885 follow here.
After this, I-85 narrows again to 2×2 lanes and then continues northeast through rural areas. The route to the border with Virginia is still almost 80 kilometers long. At Henderson the US 1 connects from Raleigh. Shortly afterwards the border with Virginia follows . Interstate 85 in Virginia then continues towards Petersburg and Richmond.
Before I-85 was built, the dense network of US Highways was North Carolina’s major highway network. US 29 was the through route between the South Carolina and Greensboro border. The route from Charlotte to Greensboro already had 2×2 lanes in its entirety in the 1950s. Between Greensboro and Durham, I-85 has been constructed in the corridor of US 70. Between Durham and Oxford this was US 15 and from Henderson to the border with Virginia the US 1. The reason I-85 runs along many different US Highways is because I-85 was planned as a diagonal route through the grid -numbered network of roads.
The first section of I-85 opened as US 29 in 1949 around Lexington. In 1955 this was extended to Greensboro, which was not a full-fledged highway but a substandard expressway. The first official section of I-85 opened in 1958 in the city of Charlotte. In 1960, more sections of I-85 opened, such as the part near the Virginia border, the double-numbering I-40, and sections between Salisbury and Greensboro and a section in Charlotte. In 1965, the stretch opened from the South Carolina border to Charlotte. It took until 1973 for the entire highway to be completed.
Later, two major route changes were carried out. I-85 was originally signposted as ‘Temporary I-85’ on US 29 from before Lexington to past High point. This route was 31 miles (31 km) long, but substandard, and was considered problematic when I-85 was completed in 1973. At that time it was decided to build a new route of I-85 that runs outside Lexington, Thomasville and High Point. This highway was built between 1980 and 1984. This made the entire I-85 a modern Interstate Highway.
At Greensboro, I-85 and I-40 originally converged on the south side of Downtown Greensboro. They wanted to realize a ring road around Greensboro, the Greensboro Urban Loop. It was decided to run I-85 over the Southeast Beltway, this route was barely longer and relieved the passage of Greensboro of through traffic. The 19 km long southeastern ring road was opened in 2004. The old route has since been signposted as Interstate 85 Business, US 29, and US 70.
The dates below are indicative, and are more of an impression of when a piece was completed, than exact opening dates.
|Exit 26||Exit 43||27 km||09-09-1958|
|Exit 2||Exit 10||13 km||00-00-1960|
|Exit 68||Exit 85||27 km||00-00-1960|
|Exit 131||Exit 161||48 km||00-00-1960|
|Exit 218||Exit 233||24 km||00-00-1960|
|Exit 161||Exit 174||21 km||00-00-1961|
|Exit 0||Exit 2||3 km||00-00-1965|
|Exit 10||Exit 26||26 km||00-00-1965|
|Exit 43||Exit 68||24 km||00-00-1973|
|Exit 85||Exit 131||74 km||00-00-1973|
|Exit 174||Exit 218||71 km||00-00-1973|
|Exit 87||Exit 118 (new route)||50 km||00-00-1984|
|Exit 121||Exit 131 (new route)||19 km||21-02-2004|
North Carolina is a fast-growing state and I-85 connects the three largest metropolitan areas; Charlotte, Winston-Salem/Greensboro and Durham/Raleigh. Large parts of I-85 have therefore been widened to 2×3 and 2×4 lanes.
Verbreding Lexington – Greensboro
The section along Lexington and High Point was constructed between 1980 and 1984 over a distance of 50 kilometers on a new route. The original route was on US 29 and was a substandard expressway signposted ‘Temp I-85’. This new route was opened directly in 1984 with 2×3 lanes. What was special was that the lanes intersect between Lexington and Thomasville. Traffic here drives on the ‘wrong’ side for some distance, but cannot see traffic on the other lane due to the dense forest. The section between High Point and Greensboro was probably also widened to 2×3 lanes at the time or shortly afterwards. As part of the construction of the ‘Greensboro Urban Loop’
Widening in Charlotte
In Charlotte, the first section was widened to 2×3 to 2×4 lanes in the late 1980s, initially just 10 miles between the Brookshire Freeway west of Downtown Charlotte and the I-85 Connector to NC-49 on the east side of Charlotte. In the first half of the 1990s, a section west of Charlotte was also widened, a 10-mile stretch from Lowell to Charlotte Airport. A small portion of this has been widened directly to 2×4 lanes around the Catawba River. Subsequently, the missing section between the airport and the Brookshire Freeway was widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes in the mid-1990s, while a longer section between the west side of Gastonia and Lowell was also widened to 2×3 lanes over a length of 15 kilometers. With this, more than 40 kilometers of I-85 in the Gastonia-Charlotte region had 2×3 to 2×4 lanes and was one of the longer stretches of widened Interstate Highway in North Carolina at the time. Presumably in the early 2000s, I-85 was further widened to 2×3 lanes between US 74 in Kings Mountain and Gastonia.
Verbreding Greensboro – Hillsborough
The 2×4 lane I-40/85 at Burlington.
Another eye-catching widening was the 35-mile double-numbering with Interstate 40 between Greensboro and Hillsborough, which was immediately widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes in the 1990s. Work started in 1989, although work on most of the route did not start until after 1993. The widening was completed in 1996, costing $175 million at the time. At the time, this was one of the few rural stretches in the southeastern United States to have 2×4 lanes.
Widening along Durham
The passage along Durham has also been widened. First, in 1998, a small section of I-85 around the NC-147 interchange was widened to 2×3 lanes. This coincided with the construction of NC-147 to the west of Durham. However, this wider part was only 3 kilometers long. Work began in 2002 to widen the actual passage from Durham to 2×4 lanes between NC-147 and US 70. This project was 9 kilometers long and was completed in 2006.
Verbreding Charlotte – Lexington
In the first half of the 2000s, a 13-kilometer stretch between China Grove and Salisbury was widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes. Subsequently, between 2010 and 2013, the 15-kilometer section between Salisbury and Lexington was widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes, with a route realignment at the Yadkin River. Around 2004, a seven-mile stretch in northeast Charlotte was widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes, between the I-85 Connector and a major shopping mall just in Cabarrus County. In 2014, the widening was extended to NC-73 at Concord, the connection with NC-73 was also converted into a diverging diamond interchange. Subsequently, in 2017, the last section from Concord to China Grove was widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes, a 22-kilometer stretch around the city of Kannapolis. In 2019-2020, the remaining section between Kannapolis and China Grove has been widened to 2×4 lanes.
Some 42,000 vehicles cross the border into South Carolina every day, increasing rapidly eastwards to 125,000 vehicles at Gastonia. The section through Charlotte is even busier with a maximum of 160,000 vehicles per day. At Kannapolis there are 94,000 vehicles per day, and at Salisbury there are 75,000 vehicles. There are 64,000 vehicles at Lexington and 52,000 at High Point. At Greensboro, that’s a maximum of 101,000 vehicles, rising to 110,000 on I-40/I-85 at Burlington. North of Durham, intensities drop from 80,000 to 41,000 vehicles, with 25,000 vehicles crossing the Virginia border daily.