The N.C. Department of Transportation is coordinating four separate projects that will complete and improve the I-485 Outer Loop and widen I-85 near Concord and northeast Charlotte. Using this fast-track approach saves money and speeds completion. The three projects in the northeast Charlotte area 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-85/I-485 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 at Exit 49 to north of N.C. 73 at Exit 55 in Cabarrus County. The project also includes converting Popular Tent Road and N.C. 73 to a superstreet design (TIP No. I-3803B).
All three I-485/I-85 improvement projects will feature interchange designs being used for the first time in North Carolina. These interchanges improve safety, move traffic more quickly and significantly reduce project costs. Using these innovative interchange designs as well as using the design-build method saved approximately $130 million on the three projects. To find out more about the design-build process click here.
The fourth project will widen the southern section of I-485 from four to six lanes between I-77 and Rea Road (TIP No. R-4902).
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 east of I-85. This 5.7-mile section will link I-77 to I-85, relieving congestion on neighboring surface streets. This project will complete the entire 67-mile I-485 Loop, an important corridor for local and regional travel.
News & Updates
- Lower temperatures and seasonal limitations have moved the completion date from December 2014 to spring 2015.
- On November 2, 2014, NCDOT and Mothers Against Drunk Driving partnered to sponsor the MADD Dash 5K and 10K races on part of the project. For images of the races, click here.
- Complete the final section of I-485 from west of N.C. 115 to east of I-85.
- Complete the I-485/N.C. 115 interchange.
- Extend Alexanderana Road from N.C. 115 to connect with Eastfield Road.
- Construct a new bridge to carry Browne Road over I-485.
- Construct a split diamond interchange at Prosperity Church Road. This design allows traffic to exit I-485 onto a one-way service road connected to three separate streets through a series of roundabouts.
Split Diamond Interchange
- Realign Johnston-Oehler road to connect with the Prosperity Church Road/DeArmon Road intersection.
- Realign Ridge Road and Odell School Road near the I-485 Mallard Creek Road interchange.
- Construct a diverging diamond interchange at Mallard Creek Road.
Diverging Diamond Interchange
I-85/I-485 Interchange (R-2123CE)
The project converts the existing I-85/I-485 interchange in northeast Charlotte to a “turbine interchange,” a new concept and design first for North Carolina. NCDOT originally planned to build a traditional four-level “stack interchange” at this location, consisting of several levels of bridges that would be more expensive to construct and complicated to maintain.
The turbine design features smaller, single-span bridges with smaller columns and flatter roadway profiles. This innovative design circles all left-turning traffic around a central bridge in a counterclockwise direction, improving sight distances for motorists and allowing a safer transition between the two interstates at highway speeds.
News & Updates
- The turbine interchange design saved an estimated $50 million on the total cost of the project and did not require any additional right of way.
- Roads and Bridges magazine named the turbine interchange the Number One project on its 2012 Top 10 Roads list.
- The project also will replace the existing bridge carrying Mallard Creek Road over I-85 to accommodate the new on and exit ramps connecting I-85 to the new interchange.
I-85 Widening Project (I-3803B)
This approximately 7-mile project widened I-85 from four to eight lanes in Cabarrus County from south of Bruton Smith Boulevard/Concord Mills Boulevard at Exit 49 to north of N.C. 73 at Exit 55. This will help the already heavily-traveled I-85 accommodate additional traffic once the Charlotte Outer Loop is completed in spring of 2015. The project also included improvements to roads around the interchanges.
News & Updates
This portion of the Charlotte Outer Loop project was completed in September 2014.
I-485 Improvements from I-77 to Rea Road (R-4902)
Project Overview and Purpose
Completed in 1994, this approximately 9.2-mile segment of I-485 ranks among the most congested roadways in North Carolina, averaging over 115,000 vehicles per day. These volumes exceed the capacity of the existing facility. Without additional improvements, this section of I-485 will become even more congested with increased traffic and decreased travel reliability.
By widening this section of I-485 from four to six lanes, the improvement project will increase system capacity and improve travel efficiency on I-485 for both local and regional motorists.
News & Updates
The new general purpose lanes opened in December 2014; however, due to seasonal limitations, final paving will occur in spring 2015.
- Add one new general purpose lane in each direction between I-77 and Rea Road.
- Construct 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. This eliminated the left turn movement from U.S. 521 North to the I-485 Inner Loop. The flyover bridge opened in July 2014.
- Rehabilitate the existing pavement on I-485 within the project limits.
- Widen existing structures on I-485 within the project limits, except the bridges over I-77.
- Construct an auxiliary lane on the I-485 Inner Loop between U.S. 521 (Johnston Road) and N.C. 51 (Pineville-Matthews Road).
- Construct four sound barrier walls within the project limits: one approximately 2,400-foot wall along the I-485 Inner Loop from the bridge over Little Sugar Creek to the entrance ramp from N.C. 51; one approximately 2,350-foot wall along the I-485 Inner Loop west of the entrance ramp from South Boulevard; one approximately 3,000-foot long wall along the I-485 Outer Loop between U.S. 521 (Johnston Road) and Elm Lane; and one approximately 930-foot long wall in the northwest corner of the I-485/Rea Road interchange.
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.