NCDOT has taken steps to coordinate construction work on three separate projects that will complete I-485 and widen I-85 in the Charlotte area. Using this fast-track approach will help save money and speed up completion. The projects include:
- Building the final 5.7 miles of I-485, which will run from west of N.C. 115 to west of I-85 and link I-77 to I-85. (TIP No. R-2248E).
- Converting the existing I-485/I-85 interchange to a turbine interchange, the first of its kind in the state (TIP No. R-2123CE).
- Widening approximately 7 miles of I-85 from four to eight lanes from south of Bruton Smith Boulevard/Concord Mills Boulevard to north of N.C. 73 in Cabarrus County (TIP No. I-3803B). The project also includes converting Poplar Tent Road and N.C. 73 to a superstreet design.
All three I-485/I-85 improvement projects will feature interchange designs being used for the first time in North Carolina. These interchanges not only help move more traffic quicker, but they also help improve safety and significantly reduce project costs.
It is estimated that the use of these innovative interchange designs will save more than $50 million on these three projects alone.
All three projects are being constructed using the design-build method. To find out more information about the design-build process click here.
I-485 from west of N.C. 115 to west of I-85 (R-2248E)
Construct a new eight-lane section of I-485 from west of N.C. 115 (Old Statesville Road) to west of I-85. This 5.7-mile section will link I-77 to I-85.
News & Updates
- Complete the final section of I-485 from west of N.C. 115 to west of I-85.
- Complete I-485/N.C. 115 interchange.
- Extend Alexanderana Road from N.C. 115 (Old Statesville Road) to connect with Eastfield Road.
- Construct bridge to carry Browne Road over I-485.
- Construct a split diamond interchange at Prosperity Church Road. The split diamond interchange will allow traffic to take an exit ramp that crosses three streets and then will direct traffic onto the freeway. The exit ramp at the split diamond interchange will take traffic off of I-485. The on ramp will take traffic onto I-485 and a one-way service road will connect the exit ramp and on ramp. The interchange will include six roundabouts.
Split Diamond Interchange
- Realign Johnston-Oehler Road to connect with the Prosperity Church Road/Dearmon Road intersection.
- Construct a diverging diamond interchange at Mallard Creek Road.
- Realign Ridge Road and Odell School Road in the vicinity of the I-485/Mallard Creek Road interchange.
Diverging Diamond Interchange
I-85/I-485 Interchange (R-2123CE)
The existing I-85/I-485 Interchange in northeast Charlotte will be modified to what is called a turbine interchange. A turbine interchange utilizes smaller, single-span bridges, smaller columns and flatter roadway profiles. This design will have less impact on traffic during construction. See picture under Project Highlights.
News & Updates
- A new innovative turbine interchange design will replace the existing trumpet interchange connecting I-85 to I-485, helping complete the Charlotte Outer Loop. The turbine design was selected because it costs significantly less to construct than other types of interchanges, will reduce impacts to traffic during construction and will cost less to maintain. The first of its kind in North Carolina, the turbine interchange design circles all left-turning traffic around a central bridge in a clockwise direction, creating a seamless movement between the two highways. It also requires fewer levels and has smaller bridges with smaller columns.
- Replace the existing bridge carrying Mallard Creek Road over I-85 to accommodate the new on and off-ramps connecting I-85 to the new interchange.
I-85 widening project (I-3803B)
This approximately 7-mile project will widen Interstate 85 from four to eight lanes from south of Bruton Smith Boulevard/Concord Mills Boulevard to north of N.C. 73 in Cabarrus County. This will help the already heavily traveled I-85 accommodate additional traffic once the Charlotte Outer Loop is completed. The project also includes improvements to roads around the interchange.
News & Updates
- In late February 2014, NCDOT anticipates opening new lanes on I-85 in both directions from Mallard Creek Church Road to north of George Liles Parkway, providing four lanes in each direction.
- In April 2014, new lanes will be open on the project from north of George Liles Parkway to north of N.C. 73. Motorists will have four lanes available in each direction
- Southbound lanes on I-85 from Bruton Smith Boulevard to the future I-85/I-485 turbine interchange will not be open before the completion of the final section of I-485, anticipated for December 2014.
- Construction on the diverging diamond interchanges at Poplar Tent Road and N.C. 73 will continue through the end of September 2014.
- Additional turn lanes will be added on Bruton Smith Boulevard/Concord Mills Boulevard from the Concord Mills Boulevard/I-85 Interchange and at Weddington Road.
- Poplar Tent Road will be widened and changed to a “superstreet” design from west of Derita Road/Odell School Road to east of Shelton Road to improve traffic flow.
- N.C. 73 will be widened and converted to a “superstreet” design from Biscayne Drive to Branson Road to improve traffic flow.
- I-85 interchanges with Poplar Tent Road and N.C. 73 will be reconstructed into a diverging diamond interchange. This design improves turn movements at interchange ramps that accommodate a high volume of vehicles. The DDI design also the amount of land needed to build it.
- Noise walls will be built at the southeast quadrant of George Liles Parkway/Kannapolis Parkway, adjacent to the interstate’s northbound exit ramp.
- A temporary access bridge will be constructed over I-85 with a ramp to the median north of Poplar Tent Road. This ramp will allow hauling operations and construction site access with limited impact to vehicles traveling on I-85.
I-485 Improvements From I-77 To Rea Road (R-4902)
Project Overview and Purpose
This section of I-485 is one of the most congested roadways in North Carolina, averaging 110,000-135,000 vehicles per day (2010 volume), with trucks making up seven percent of those vehicles. These volumes exceed the capacity of the existing facility, resulting in a level of service (LOS) of F. If no improvements are made, this section will continue to become more congested, with increased traffic and decreased average speeds.
The purpose of this project is to increase system capacity and improve efficiency on I-485 for local and regional traffic. Additional lanes should reduce travel time for motorists traveling this section of the Outer Loop. These improvements have been adopted by local governments within the Mecklenburg –Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO), including the City of Charlotte, the Town of Pineville, as well as NCDOT.
This project consists of widening approximately 9.2 miles of I-485 from four to six lanes between I-77 and Rea Road in Mecklenburg County by constructing an additional lane in each direction within the existing right-of-way. Other proposed improvements include the following:
- Construction of a flyover bridge at the interchange with U.S. 521 (Johnston Road), taking traffic from U.S. 521 North to the I-485 Inner Loop. The left turn movement from U.S. 521 to the I-485 Inner Loop will be eliminated.
- Rehabilitation of the existing pavement on I-485 within the project limits;
- Widening of existing structures on I-485 within the proposed project limits, except the bridges over I-77;
- Construction of an auxiliary lane on the Inner Loop between U.S. 521 and N.C. 51 (Pineville-Matthews Road); and
Three sound barrier walls are proposed in the project limits, consistent with the Noise Sensitive Areas shown on the Design Public Meeting Map:
- An approximate 2,600 – foot long sound barrier wall along the I-485 Inner Loop from the bridge over Little Sugar Creek to the entrance ramp from N.C. 51, including a wall mounted on the westbound bridge over Little Sugar Creek;
- An approximate 2,350 foot-long sound barrier wall along the I-485 Inner Loop west of the entrance ramp from South Boulevard; and
- An approximate 3,050 foot-long sound barrier wall along the I-485 Outer Loop between U.S. 521 and Elm Lane.
The engineers at STV have developed an innovative interchange design in concert with their build-partner, The Lane Construction Corporation, that will help complete the heavily traveled Outer Loop of Charlotte.
This visualization is a rendering of the proposed new section of I-485 (Charlotte Outer Loop) to be constructed under R-2248E. The project proposes to construct a new eight-lane freeway from west of N.C. 115 to west of I-85 in northeast Charlotte.
This visualization is a rendering of how to drive a diverging diamond interchange.
Dennis Cloud, PE
Address: 130 South Sutherland Avenue,
Monroe, NC 28112
Louis Mitchell, PE
Address: 716 West Main Street,
Albemarle, NC 28001
Email: Contact Us
Phone: (704) 596-6900
Address: 7605 District Drive
Charlotte, NC 28213
Resources for Local Property Owners
In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.