Proposed work on I-85 in Gaston County would involve widening the interstate from six to eight lanes between the U.S. 321 interchange (Exit 17) in Gastonia and the N.C. 273 interchange (Exit 27) in Mount Holly as well as upgrading interchanges and relocating/replacing roadway and railroad bridges.
It is anticipated that the two additional lanes on I-85 (one in each direction) would be built within the existing right of way.
The proposed typical section for I-85 is an eight-lane, median-divided freeway with 12-foot travel lanes and 14-foot outside paved shoulders (12-foot paved). The northbound and southbound lanes would be divided by a 26-foot median, which would include a two-foot concrete barrier and 12-foot paved shoulders on either side of the barrier.
Auxiliary lanes might be proposed on I-85 within the project study area in areas where they can improve operating conditions for vehicles entering and exiting I-85.
There are eight interchanges in the project corridor, each with unique challenges and constraints that warrant a review of several design options. Numerous design options (e.g. interchange forms) are under examination and will consider traffic operation benefits, constructability, potential cost and environmental constraints.
In addition to interchanges in the project corridor, there are six roadway bridges, four railroad bridges and the I-85 bridge over the South Fork Catawba River. The project team is also evaluating various design options at these locations.