Project Maps
I-85 project Map
  • Project Map (149kb)
  • Project Fast Facts
    • Status: Projects Under Development
    • Counties: Gaston
    • Type of Project: Road Widening
    • STIP Number: I-5719, U-3608
    • Estimated Cost: $262.22 million
    • Start Date: 2021
    • Completion Date: 2024

    Project Overview and Purpose

    The N.C. Department of Transportation is proposing to improve about 10 miles of I-85 from U.S. 321 (Exit 17) in Gastonia to N.C. 273 (Exit 27) in Belmont to address existing and future congestion and to improve traffic flow.

    This critical stretch of highway connects Gastonia to other cities and towns in Gaston County and serves as a vital corridor for commuters within the Charlotte metropolitan area.

    Proposed work would involve widening the roadway from six to eight lanes and replacing or rebuilding roadway and railroad bridges as well as upgrading interchanges.

    Due to its proximity, construction schedule and association with I-85, proposed work also includes widening three-tenths of mile of N.C. 7 from I-85 to U.S. 29 in Belmont.

    Project Highlights

    The N.C. Department of Transportation will evaluate "best-fit" alignment for the I-85 widening – such as widening the road on the outside or inside – to determine which widening option would minimize environmental impacts within the project corridor.

    In addition, because there is not enough clearance to widen I-85 at all of the interchanges and bridges (roadway and railroad), NCDOT will evaluate various options for upgrading interchanges and relocating bridges.

    The NCDOT project team will evaluate the following interchanges and bridges as part of the project development process:

    • U.S. 321 interchange (Exit 17)
    • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Marietta Street bridge
    • Modena Street bridge
    • Four railroad bridges that cross over I-85
    • N.C. 7 (East Ozark Avenue) interchange (Exit 19)
    • N.C. 279 (North New Hope Road) interchange (Exit 20)
    • Aberdeen Road bridge
    • Cox Road interchange (Exit 21)
    • South Church Street bridge
    • South Main Street interchange (Exit 22)
    • Groves Street bridge
    • N.C. 7 (McAdenville Road) interchange (Exit 23)
    • South Fork Catawba River bridge
    • Hickory Grove Road bridge
    • Belmont-Mount Holly Road interchange (Exit 26)
    • N.C. 273 (Beatty Drive) interchange (Exit 27)

    Options will be screened and analyzed based on impacts to property owners, community resources, streams, wetlands and historic resources. Other factors such as cost, schedule, design complexity and traffic flow will also be considered.

    As part of the project development process, NCDOT will prepare an Environmental Assessment that outlines the impacts and benefits associated with the proposed work. For the project to move forward, the Federal Highway Administration must approve the environmental document and agree with an anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact, which determines the project will not have a significant effect on the environment.

    Public Involvement

    Community input is a key component of the environmental review and project development process. NCDOT will consider and incorporate comments and feedback as much as possible and will hold a public meeting to present potential design options for review.

    Project Cost

    I-85 Widening Estimated Amount* N.C. 7 Widening Estimated Amount*
    Prior Year Costs $2,009,000 $500,000
    Property Acquisition and Utilities $40,500,000 $515,000
    Construction Costs $215,000,000 $3,700,000
    Total Cost $257,509,000 $4,715,000

    *Estimated costs are subject to change.

    Project Timeline

    Milestone Dates*
    Public meeting Summer 2018
    Environmental Assessment Winter 2019
    Environmental study finalized with anticipated Finding of No Significant Impact Winter 2020
    Construction begins 2021

    *Future dates are preliminary and subject to change

    Contact Information

    Ahmad Al-Sharawneh
    Project Planning Engineer
    NCDOT Central Project Delivery
    (919) 707-6010
    Send a message
    1548 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC 27699-1548

    Kim Bereis, AICP
    HNTB North Carolina, P.C.
    (704) 208-5360
    Send a message
    101 South Tryon St. #3610
    Charlotte, NC 28202

    Michael L. Poe, P.E.
    Division Project Development
    NCDOT Division 12
    (980) 552-4203
    Send a message
    P.O. Box 47
    Shelby, NC 28151-0047

    Resources for Local Property Owners

    Although the N.C. Department of Transportation works to minimize the number of homes and businesses displaced by a road project, it is inevitable, in many cases, that a certain amount of private property is needed. The following information explains right of way acquisition and answers questions about the process.