Interstate 85 North - Cabarrus & Rowan Counties

Interstate 85 north
Shortly after leaving Mecklenburg County, Interstate 85 enters the city of Concord and reaches the Exit 49 off-ramp to Bruton Smith (formerly Speedway) Boulevard. Speedway Boulevard was built in conjunction with Exit 49 to provide another access route between U.S. 29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and I-85. The interchange opened to traffic on October 1, 1996.1 Photo taken 05/30/05. Second photo taken 06/01/12.
Downtown Concord lies 11 miles ahead via Interstate 85 north to either NC 73 east or U.S. 29 & 601 south. Greensboro is 76 miles to the northeast. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Poplar Tent Road (SR 1394) meanders east from a number of subdivisions in northwest Concord by Wallace Crossroads and Cox Mills to meet Interstate 85 at Exit 52 in one mile. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Construction to widen Interstate 85 to eight lanes includes the revision of the Exit 52 diamond interchange into a diverging diamond interchange (DDI). The new interchange is slated for completion by June 2014. Photo taken 06/01/12.
A look at Interstate 85 when it was just a four-lane freeway at Poplar Tent Road (Exit 52). East from Exit 52, Poplar Tent Road (SR 1394) travels by a number of subdivisions through to U.S. 29 & 601 (Concord Parkway), where the road becomes McGill Avenue east toward the Concord street grid. Photo taken 06/22/05.
George W. Liles Parkway (SR 1430) leads south from upcoming Exit 54 to parallel Poplar Tent Road and Weddington Road amid growing residential and commercial areas. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Kannapolis Parkway (SR 1430) heads north from Exit 54 to North Carolina 3 (Mooresville Road) west of Kannapolis. Together with George W. Liles Parkway, the two roadways were known as the Westside Bypass when they opened between Poplar Tent Road (SR 1394) and North Carolina 73 (Davidson Highway) on October 31, 2002.2 Photo taken 06/01/12.
Spanning Cuddle Creek eight miles west of Downtown Concord, Interstate 85 northbound travelers are 63 miles from High Point and 73 miles from Greensboro. The Kannapolis city limits line the southbound side of the freeway from here through to Exit 63. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Exit 54 leaves Interstate 85 north for Kannapolis and George W. Liles Parkway to west Kannapolis and south Concord respectively. The four to six lane corridor will be extended southward to NC 49 and northward to Tuckaseegee Road when fully completed. Work building George W. Liles Parkway south from Weddington Road to U.S. 29 at Roberta Church Road (SR 1310) is funded. Photo taken 06/22/05.
North Carolina 73 (Davidson Highway) heads east from Kannapolis Parkway to Rowan Cabarrus Community College and the Exit 55 diamond interchange with Interstate 85. Like Exit 52, I-85 widening includes the conversion of this interchange into a DDI. Photo taken 06/01/12.
One half mile west of Exit 55 and North Carolina 73 (Davidson Highway). The state highway links Interstate 85 and Concord with the cities of Huntersville and Davidson to the west as part of a 118.5-mile course. Photo taken 06/22/05.
Northbound I-85 at the North Carolina 73 (Exit 55) off-ramp. Davidson Highway travels between a handful of subdivisions before the NC 73 merge with U.S. 29 & 601 at North Concord. Photo taken 06/01/12.
The $138.7-million widening of Interstate 85 in western Cabarrus County concludes just ahead of Irish Buffalo Creek. Work commenced on the eight-laning in September 2010 and runs through June 2014.3 Widening of I-85 northward to Exit 68 at China Grove will be undertaken in separate projects: Project #I-3802A, at a cost of $100.3 million runs from Exit 55 to Exit 63. Project #I-3802B, slated for construction starting in October 2019, extends the work to Exit 68 at a cost of $62.7-million. Photo taken 06/01/12.
A full-cloverleaf interchange lies 1.5 miles ahead with U.S. 29 (Cannon Boulevard) north into Kannapolis and U.S. 29 & 601 (Concord Parkway) south to Concord. This sign was removed during the widening of I-85. Photo taken 05/30/05.
Winecroft School Road (SR 1790) spans Interstate 85 on the approach to Exit 58. U.S. 601 links Concord with the Union County seat of Monroe by way of Midland, Fairview and Unionville. U.S. 29 links Kannapolis with the adjacent cities of Landis and China Grove before reconvening with I-85 near Exit 68. Photo taken 06/01/12.
The first northbound rest area for I-85 since the North Carolina welcome center near Grover appears 1.75 miles ahead in north Concord. Photo taken 06/01/12.
One quarter mile west from U.S. 29 & 601 south on Interstate 85 north. U.S. 29 & 601 travel 3.5 miles along a bypass arterial of downtown Concord. Photo taken 06/01/12.
A collector/distributor system facilitates the movements between Interstate 85 and the Exit 58 on and off-ramps. Departing in this northbound photograph is the U.S. 29 & 601 c/d roadway at the Kannapolis Highway (SR 1008) overpass. Kannapolis Highway becomes Main Street northward to Downtown Kannapolis. The roadway represents the former U.S. 29A. Photo taken 06/01/12.
U.S. 29 & 601 (Concord Parkway) south pass by Carolina Mall and Carolinas Medical Center through to a short merge with North Carolina 73. NC 73 follows Church Street south into downtown Concord before turning east to Ablemarle. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Expansion of Interstate 85 around Kannapolis will redesign the cloverleaf interchange at U.S. 29 and U.S. 601 south into a diverging diamond interchange (DDI). Photo taken 06/01/12.
The guide sign for U.S. 29 north to Kannapolis and Landis includes a blank space that once included U.S. 601. U.S. 601 used to run in tandem with U.S. 29 through Kannapolis, Landis, China Grove and Salisbury. The route now follows Interstate 85 northward for 16.5 miles. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 north
North Carolina 3 (Concord Lake Road) passes overhead as Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 north reach the rest area off-ramp. Photo taken 06/01/12.
A pair of reassurance markers follow the rest area on-ramp as Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 near the partial-cloverleaf interchange with Dale Earnhardt Boulevard (SR 2126) west and Copperfield Boulevard south. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Originally named Earnhardt Road, SR 2126 west from Interstate 85 was renamed to honor the Kannapolis-native and seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion on October 5, 1993.4 Dale Earnhardt Boulevard becomes a part of North Carolina 3 west from Concord Lake Road to Mooresville Road. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Exit 60 opened in 1992 and was quickly followed with heavy retail and office development on both sides of the freeway. Copperfield Boulevard continues the development southwest to NC 3 by Carolina Mall.
Planned widening of Interstate 85 at Exit 60 will reconfigure some of the ramps at Dale Earnhardt and Copperfield Boulevards. The southbound ramp will shift to the west beyond an adjacent LOWE's store, meeting SR 2126 by Coldwater Ridge Drive. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Dale Earnhardt Boulevard continues the arterial northwest to central Kannapolis, following former Centergrove and South Loop Roads. North Carolina 3, originally numbered NC 136, comprises a 27.82-mile route from Concord west to Mooresville. It was renumbered from 136 on October 23, 2002 to honor Dale Earnhardt, who died in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.5 Photo taken 06/01/12.
Two miles south of the Exit 63 diamond interchange with Lane Street (SR 2180) on I-85 & U.S. 601 north. Expansion of I-85 along this stretch will reconfigure Exit 63 to utilize roundabouts (dumbbell interchange) between the ramps and Lane Street. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 continue northeast by Lake Concord and Lake Fisher east of Kannapolis. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Salisbury, the Rowan County seat, lies 16 miles to the northeast. Greensboro is still an hour away. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Centergrove Road passes over Interstate 85, 1.25 miles south of the Exit 63 off-ramp to Lane Street. Northbound motorists reenter the Kannapolis city limits from here toward Lane Street (SR 2180). Photo taken 06/01/12.
Lane Street (SR 2180) travels east from U.S. 29 (Cannon Boulevard) in Kannapolis 2.7 miles to Interstate 85. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 northbound at the Exit 63 off-ramp to Lane Street. Lane Street ends nearby at Old Salisbury-Concord Road (SR 1002) in rural Mount Mitchell. Photo taken 06/22/05.
Travelers along Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 cross the Rowan County line immediately north of Exit 63. Photo taken 06/01/12.
The freeway arcs westward, paralleling Cold Water Creek toward China Grove. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Pine Ridge Road (SR 1232) crosses overhead, 1.25 miles south of the Exit 68 half-diamond interchange with North Carolina 152. Widening of Interstate 85 along this stretch will tie into an eight-lane stretch leading north to Salisbury. Exit 68 will be reworked into a full-access dumbbell interchange during the work after 2019. Photo taken 06/01/12.
North Carolina 152 crosses Interstate 85 at China Grove near adjacent U.S. 29. The state highway ventures west from the city to Mooresville and east to the town of Rockwell on its journey through Iredell and Rowan Counties. Photo taken 06/01/12.
North Carolina 152 merges with U.S. 29 south at an adjacent cloverleaf interchange (slated to become a half-diamond interchange during I-85 widening). U.S. 29 exits China Grove via Main Street to parallel I-85 northward to Salisbury. Main Street carried U.S. 29A southward to Landis and Kannapolis originally. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Shields for Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 reside beyond the Exit 68 gore point. The addition of ramps on the north side of NC 152 after 2019 will provide full access, eliminating the need for several of the ramps between the adjacent U.S. 29 connector (SR 2664) and NC 152, where U.S. 29 ties in from Main Street. Photo taken 06/01/12.
One mile south of Exit 70 (Webb Road) at a wye interchange with the U.S. 29 connector (SR 2664) north. Interstate 85 was constructed as an expressway for U.S. 29 from China Grove northeast to Greensboro in the 1950s. The connector represents the southern extent of that roadway. Photo taken 06/01/12.
A pair of shields precede the Mt. Hope Church Road (SR 1505) overpass along Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 north. An $84.2-million project reconstructed 13 miles of Interstate 85 from SR 2664 at China Grove northward to East Spencer between June 1997 and winter 2007.6 Photo taken 06/01/12.
The four phase widening of Interstate 85 between mileposts 68 and 81 expanded the freeway to eight overall lanes from SR 2664 to Webb Road (Exit 70) by summer 2000.7 Photo taken 06/01/12.
Webb Road (SR 1500) leads west to U.S. 29 (Main Street) at Roseman Road and east to Old Concord Road (SR 1002). The Exit 70 diamond interchange is the first of three in a row connecting I-85 with U.S. 29 and Old Concord Road. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Peeler Road (SR 2538) meets I-85 in a half mile by a pair of truck stops. The local road ties into U.S. 29 at southern reaches of the Salisbury city limit. Photo taken 05/30/05.
Phase II of the I-85 widening upgraded 3.2 miles of freeway north from Webb Road to north of Julian Road. This work was completed on August 1, 2001.7 Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 north at Exit 71 to Peeler Road. The Peach Orchard Road (SR 2539) off-ramp follows in 0.75 miles. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Auxiliary lanes in both directions of Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 expand the freeway to ten lanes overall. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Exit 72 leaves I-85 north for Peach Orchard Road (SR 2539) east to Old Concord Road and west to U.S. 29 (Main Street) near Rowan County Airport (RUQ). Photo taken 06/01/12.
The next three exits directly serve Salisbury, a city of 33,663 (per the 2010 census). Photo taken 06/01/12.
Julian Road meets Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 at a folded-diamond interchange (Exit 74) in one half mile. This interchange was converted from a diamond during Phase II of the I-85 widening to reduce weaving traffic conflicts with the nearby split of U.S. 601 north for Jake Alexander Boulevard (Exit 75). Photo taken 06/01/12.
Julian Road (SR 2528) forms an arc west from Heilig Road (SR 2528) and Old Concord Road (SR 1002) to U.S. 601 (Jake Alexander Boulevard) by a business park, apartment complex and Wallace Commons shopping center. Jake Alexander Boulevard consists of an arterial bypass of Salisbury west from U.S. 52 (Innes Street) to U.S. 29 & 70 at Rowan Mills and Innes Street near Franklin. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 was reconstructed from north of Julian Road to the Bringle Ferry Road overpass between February 2001 and summer 2006.8 Photo taken 06/01/12.
U.S. 601 leaves the freeway by way of the Exit 75 diamond interchange with Jake Alexander Boulevard. The route encircles the west side of Salisbury, hooking up with U.S. 70 between U.S. 29 (Main Street) and (Statesville Boulevard). U.S. 601 leads north from the city to Mocksville. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 north
Phase III of the I-85 widening between 1997-2007 reconfigured the full-cloverleaf interchange (Exit 76) with U.S. 52 south and Innes Street into a single point urban interchange (SPUI). Photo taken 06/01/12.
U.S. 52 travels Innes Street south from Salisbury toward Granite Quarry and Rockwell in southern Rowan County. The US highway travels 29 miles from Exit 76 to the Stanly County seat of Ablemarle. Photo taken 06/01/12.
A historical look at the former Exit 76B loop ramp onto Innes Street (old U.S. 52) north into downtown Salisbury. U.S. 52 was relocated away from Innes Street north to Main Street (U.S. 29 & 70) in 1971.8 Photo taken 08/08/04.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 north
U.S. 52 north combines with Interstate 85 north for 11 miles through to Lexington. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Bringle Ferry Road (SR 1002) crosses overhead as Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 enter the final project area of the 1997-2007 widening. Both Exits 79 (Andrews Street) and 81 (Long Ferry Road) were rebuilt during the January 2005 to winter 2007 construction. Photo taken 06/01/12.
High Rock Lake was formed along the Yadkin River by the construction of High Rock Dam, a hydroelectric power facility, in 1927. The 15,180-acre lake offers recreation opportunities including boating and camping.
Use Exit 79 also for the North Carolina Transportation Museum at Spencer. The museum is host to an authentic train depot, antique automobiles, and a 37 stall roundhouse that includes 25 locomotives and other exhibit areas. Seasonal train rides, guided tours, and special events are scheduled throughout the year. Photo taken 06/01/12.
One mile south of the Exit 79 diamond interchange with Andrews Street (SR 1915) west and Old Union Church Road (SR 1915) east on Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 north. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Looking at the previous four-lane freeway of Interstate 85 at the McCanless Road (SR 2114) under crossing. This stretch of freeway carried U.S. 29 until Interstate 85 was designated. Photo taken 05/30/05.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 north traverse eastern reaches of the East Spencer town limits at Exit 79. Andrews Street (SR 1915) links the freeway with U.S. 29 & 70 (Salisbury Avenue) east of Downtown Spencer. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Old Union Church Road (SR 1915) heads southeast from Exit 79 to connect Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 with Bringle Ferry Road (SR 1002) east to Craven and High Rock Lake.
Reconstruction of Exit 79 moved SR 1915 from an underpass to an overpass above the expanded freeway. Photo taken 08/08/04. Second photo taken 06/01/12.
Long Ferry Road (SR 2120) stems eastward from U.S. 29 & 70 (Salisbury Avenue) at the town of Spencer to meet Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 at Exit 81 in 0.75 miles. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 curve northward across Town Creek through East Spencer. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Long Ferry Road (SR 2120) winds east from Exit 81 to Trading Ford and a dead end on a peninsula off High Rock Lake.
The exit only placards pictured here were removed when the Yadkin River Veterans Memorial Bridge was completed, bringing I-85 up to eight overall lanes. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Pre and post construction looks at the Exit 81 ramp departure for Long Ferry Road (SR 2120) on Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 north. SR 2120 heads 1.1 miles west to Spencer and east to the Buck Combined Cycle Plant, a Duke Energy natural gas facility along the Yadkin River. Photo taken 08/08/04. Second photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 north climb to over 700 feet above sea level before descending to the Yadkin River Veterans Memorial Bridge. The new eight-lane freeway curves away from the 1955 four-lane alignment over the next mile. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Spanning SR 2124, northbound motorists continue north from Spencer 32 miles to Winston-Salem (via U.S. 52 / Future I-285 north) and 45 miles to Greensboro. Photo taken 06/01/12.
The I-85 Corridor Improvement Project involved rebuilding and expanding Interstate 85 northward from Exit 81 to the U.S. 52 split at Lexington between September 29, 2010 and late September 2013. Included in the work was the removal of back to back wye interchanges with the merging U.S. 29 north & 70 east and departing NC 150 north. A new six-ramp partial-cloverleaf interchange replaces those ramps at NC 150 north and Seven Oaks Drive (SR 1285) south in 1.5 miles. Photo taken 06/01/12.
The Southern Segment of the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project focused on construction of twin four-lane spans across the Yadkin River. The northbound span was opened on May 5, 2012. It eventually supported two-way traffic until the March 9, 2013 opening of the southbound bridge. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 - 1955 alignment
The wye interchange for North Carolina 150 north was numbered Exit 83. The first guide sign for the Davidson County exit was posted at the SR 2124 underpass. Exit 83 followed a second wye interchange that brought motorists from U.S. 29-70 and North Carolina 150 east onto the freeway from Yadkin. Photo taken 06/22/05.
The 1955 Yadkin River bridge carried just four lanes with no shoulders on either side. It was demolished by April 2013.10 Debate over the replacement of this bridge initially focused on construction of a toll bridge to pay for its cost. Discussion involved electronic toll collection at a rate as high as $4 per passenger vehicle. Photo taken 06/22/05.
A left-hand merge added U.S. 29 & NC 150 north and U.S. 70 east onto I-85 north just ahead of the Exit 83 departure of NC 150 to Tyro, Reeds and Winston-Salem. Photo taken 08/08/04.
Shields for the four-way overlap of I-85 and U.S. 29-52-70 followed the Exit 83 gore point for NC 150 north. U.S. 29-70 & NC 150 now follow a new roadway parallel to the southbound side of I-85 through to new Exit 84. Photo taken 05/30/05.
This mileage sign was posted after the split with NC 150 north. Photo taken 05/30/05.
Clark Road (SR 1295) met Interstate 85 & U.S. 29-52-70 at an antiquated diamond interchange (Exit 85) near Lakeview. This exit was removed during the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project. Photo taken 08/08/04.
Exit 85 connected Interstate 85 with parallel Seven Oaks Drive (SR 1285) to the east and Old Salisbury Road (Old U.S. 29 & 70) to the immediate west. Photo taken 08/08/04.



  1. "NEW EXIT 49 SHOULD EASE TRAFFIC TO, FROM RACES."Charlotte Observer, October 4, 1996.
  3. "New projects to ease I-85 traffic - N.C. DOT adding lanes, innovative interchanges, 'super streets' - Transportation."Charlotte Observer, January 23, 2013.
  4. "Earnhardt is Honored by Kannapolis Family."Charlotte Observer, October 6, 1993.
  5. "It's Official: Road Honors Earnhardt - Driver's Widow Attend Bill's Signing Ceremony."Charlotte Observer, October 24, 2002.
  6. "Work on next section of I-85 coming; widening project will continue through winter of 2007." Salisbury Post, January 22, 2005.
  7. "Widening project on schedule." Salisbury Post, January 23, 2000.
  8. "Patience: I-85 construction managers say interstate work winding down." Salisbury Post, January 21, 2006.
  9. NCRoads.com: U.S. 52.
  10. "Out with the Old: Demolition Work Under Way on Old Yadkin River Bridge near Salisbury." NCDOT, Press Release. February 1, 2013.

Photo Credits:

  • 2004-08-08 by Carter Buchanan.
  • 2005-05-30 by AARoads.
  • 2005-06-22 by AARoads.
  • 2012-06-01 by AARoads.

Connect with:
U.S. Highway 29
U.S. Highway 52
U.S. Highway 70

Page Updated 09-19-2013.

© AARoads