Interstate 85 South - Mecklenburg County

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Interstate 85 South
Interstate 85 immediately reaches Exit 48 with Interstate 485, the Charlotte Beltway, beyond the Cabarrus County line. Construction underway between summer 2011 and June 2014 upgrades the junction into at turbine interchange in preparation for the final 5.7-mile stretch of I-485 west to NC 115 (planned to open in December 2014).
Interstate 485 encircles the city of Charlotte along a 65.64-mile course, providing both a commuter route and bypass to Interstate 77 south to Rock Hill and eventually I-77 north to Huntersville and Statesville. Photo taken 08/06/13.
West from I-485, Interstate 85 south continues to a parclo interchange (Exit 46) with Mallard Creek Church Road (SR 2472). Photo taken 08/06/12.
Mallard Creek Church Road travels south from Exit 46 to University City North, U.S. 29 (North Tryon Street) and North Carolina 49 (University City Boulevard) east of UNC-Charlotte. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Interstate 85 enters the Queen City of Charlotte ahead of the Exit 46 off-ramp to Mallard Creek Church Road (SR 2472). SR 2742 constitutes a arterial northwest to the commercialized intersection with Mallard Creek Road (SR 2467) to connect the freeway with a number of residential subdivisions. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Approaching the bridge over Mallard Creek, drivers pass by this reassurance sign for Interstate 85 south. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Five lanes of Interstate 85 south near the Exit 45 six-ramp parclo interchange with North Carolina 24 (Harris Boulevard). Photo taken 08/06/12.
Separate ramps (Exits 45B/A) join Harris Boulevard from Interstate 85 south within the next 0.75 miles. University City Boulevard (SR 5383) carries NC 49 by the UNC Charlotte campus to the Belgate retail area adjacent to Exit 43 in two miles. Photo taken 08/06/12.
North Carolina 24 follows Harris Boulevard west to University Research Park, Croft, and Interstate 77 (Exit 18), its western terminus. NC 24 totals 278 miles from Exit 21 of I-485 to U.S. 70 in Morehead City. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Exit 45A loops onto North Carolina 24 (Harris Boulevard) east to UNC-Charlotte and the Newell section of the city. NC 24 combines with NC 27 east at the Hickory Ridge neighborhood for a 108-mile overlap to Ablemarle and Johnsonville. Photo taken 08/06/12.
University City Boulevard (SR 5383) ties into Interstate 85 at a parclo interchange (Exit 43) west from the merge of North Carolina 49 south onto U.S. 29 (North Tryon Street). Photo taken 08/06/12.
One half mile out from the Exit 43 off-ramp to University City Boulevard and the Belgate Shopping Center, a 900,000 square foot power center between I-85 and parallel U.S. 29 (Tryon Street). Exits follow for the Hidden Valley and Sugar Creek neighborhoods over the next three miles. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Another small guide sign takes the place of a conventional stand alone shield for Interstate 85 south along the ten-lane stretch between NC 24 and University City Boulevard. Photo taken 08/06/12.
University City Boulevard (SR 5383) initially only traveled west from I-85 to Neal Road. An extension east to U.S. 29 (Tryon Street) opened in 2009 as part of the $25.5-million U.S. 29/N.C. 49 Roadway Improvement Project.1 Further lengthening of the road is proposed from Neal Road to Sugar Creek Road (SR 2480) at Graham Street (SR 2540) to the northwest.
Ikea Boulevard bisects the Belgate retail area from McCullough Drive southward, with an extension to McFarlane Boulevard planned. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Traffic merges onto Interstate 85 south from the U.S. 29 & North Carolina 49 connector (SR 2772) at a wye interchange. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Meeting the freeway next is Sugar Creek Road (SR 2480) at the Exit 41 diamond interchange. Sugar Creek Road connects I-85 with the Mineral Springs and Hemphill Heights neighborhoods to the north. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Sugar Creek Road doubles as Charlotte City Route 4 south between the Sugar Creek and Hidden Valley communities to Eastway Drive at Shannon Park. City Route 4 constitutes a 18.6-mile loop along a series of arterials and avenues encircling Uptown Charlotte. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Graham Street (SR 2540) angles southwest from Sugar Creek Road along the Statesville neighborhood to cross paths with Interstate 85 at a folded diamond interchange (Exit 40) in one half mile. Photo taken 08/06/12.
An auxiliary lane from Sugar Creek Road departs for Exit 40 to Graham Street (SR 2540). The four-lane boulevard lines the Druid Hills and Sugar Creek industrial areas southwest to Tryon Hills and Lockwood. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Graham Street (SR 2540) carries U.S. 29 & North Carolina 49 south from Dalton Avenue into the Fourth Ward and Downtown Charlotte. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Interstate 77 & U.S. 21 appear for the first time at the Graham Street and Norfolk Southern Railroad overpasses above I-85 south. Exit 39 to Statesville Avenue and Road, the former alignment of U.S. 21, departs next in 1.5 miles. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Statesville Road (SR 2691) leads north from the Exit 39 parclo interchange to the Statesville and Slater Road industrial areas while Statesville Avenue continues the boulevard south to the Double Oaks and Druid Hills neighborhoods. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Exit 38 leaves Interstate 85 south just ahead of the Exit 38 ramps for Interstate 77 & U.S. 21 north to Statesville and south to Downtown Charlotte and Columbia, South Carolina. Photo taken 08/06/12.
All traffic bound for Interstate 77 & U.S. 21 depart I-85 south in unison at Exit 38 below Statesville Avenue. Traveling 102 miles in the state, I-77 links Charlotte with Rock Hill and Columbia to the south and Statesville and Wytheville, Virginia to the north. The route north through Huntersville, Lake Norman and Mooresville doubles as a busy commuter route. As such the freeway includes HOV lanes to Interstate 485. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Immediately west of Interstate 77 is a folded diamond interchange (Exit 37) joining Interstate 85 with Beatties Ford Road. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Beatties Ford Road constitutes a north-south commercial boulevard between the Garden and University Park neighborhoods to the west and Wilson and Lincoln Heights to the east. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Beatties Ford Road shadows Interstate 77 & U.S. 21 southward from Exit 37 to Johnson C. Smith University and 5th Street at the Biddleville neighborhood. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Exit 37 loops away from Interstate 85 south onto Beatties Ford Road. Beatties Ford Road continues north to the Trinity neighborhood and an exit of the city to North Carolina 73 at Lake Norman. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Interstate 85 lowers to cross Stewart Creek between the Thomasboro and University Park communities west of Exit 37. Photo taken 08/06/12.
North Carolina 16 branches northwest from U.S. 74 (Independence Boulevard) to bypass Downtown Charlotte with Interstate 277 (Brookshire Freeway) to I-77. The Brookshire Freeway continues northwest from McCrorey Heights to Oakview Terrace at Idaho Drive, where NC 16 transitions into a surface boulevard to Exit 36. Photo taken 08/06/12.
One half mile out from the Exit 36 single point urban interchange (SPUI) with North Carolina 16 (Brookshire Boulevard). Photo taken 08/06/12.
Exit 36 parts ways with Interstate 85 south for North Carolina 16 (Brookshire Boulevard) west to the Thomasboro neighborhood and east to Oakview Terrace. NC 16 leads northwest from Charlotte as a four-lane corridor to Lucia, Lowesville and Denver. The state route travels 115 miles in the state, from Waxhaw in Union County to Charlotte, Newton, Wilkesboro and the Virginia state line at Grassy Creek. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Next in line for Interstate 85 south is the Exit 35 diamond interchange with Glenwood Drive at the Enderly Park and Thomasboro neighborhoods. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Exit 35 leaves Interstate 85 south for Glenwood Drive, one half mile out from the Single Point Urban Interchange (Exit 34) with North Carolina 27 (Freedom Drive). Photo taken 08/06/12.
A cloverleaf interchange originally facilitated the movements with North Carolina 27 (Freedom Drive) and adjacent Tuckaseegee Road. Widening of Interstate 85 between 1991 and August 1995 included the rebuilding of Exit 34 into a SPUI.2 NC 27 otherwise leads northwest from Exit 34 to the Westchester neighborhood. Photo taken 08/06/12.
North Carolina 27 (Freedom Drive) angles southeast along a commercial boulevard by Ashley Park to combine with U.S. 29 (Morehead Street) north at Wesley Heights. The state highway stretches 198 miles across the state from Benson and NC 10 near Toluca. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Interstate 85 turns more westerly between the Toddville Road and Westerly Hills neighborhoods to a parclo interchange with Billy Graham Parkway (SR 5901) south and Mulberry Church Road north. Billy Graham Parkway extended U.S. 521 north from Woodlawn Road at NC 49 to an end at I-85 until 2003, when it was truncated south to Exit 61 of I-485. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Billy Graham Parkway is named after Charlotte native and Christian evangelist Billy Graham. A library documenting the life and ministry of Graham resides off of the parkway and Westmont Drive, midway between CLT Airport and the Tryon Street (NC 49). Photo taken 08/06/12.
Billy Graham Parkway doubles as Charlotte City Route 4 southward to Birmingham Parkway, the main entrance to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), and Woodlawn Road near the Regional Farmers Market. Forthcoming Little Rock Road (SR 1641) presently serves the air cargo section of CLT Airport. A $21.5-million project, started in August 2012, realigns Little Rock Road onto a new roadway to provide direct access from I-85 to the passenger terminal.3 Photo taken 08/06/12.
Reassurance marker posted for I-85 south ahead of the SPUI with Little Rock Road (SR 1641). Photo taken 08/06/12.
One quarter mile out from the Exit 32 off-ramp to Little Rock Road north to Toddville Road and NC 27 (Freedom Drive) at Paw Creek. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Little Rock Road south from Exit 32 links I-85 with parallel U.S. 29 & 74 (Wilkinson Boulevard) and a 200-acre Norfolk Southern Railroad intermodel facility, constructed between May 2, 2012 and late 2013.4 The new alignment to CLT Airport will be completed in December 2013.3 Photo taken 08/06/12.
Southbound mileage sign focusing on the North Carolina destinations of Gastonia and Kings Mountain rather than Spartanburg, South Carolina. Parallel Business Center Drive leaves the immediate frontage to the right. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Next in line for westbound motorists is the Exit 30 directional cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 485. Sign replacements between 2008 and 2012 replaced Huntersville with Statesville as the north control city for I-485. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Interstate 485 north serves suburbs in Wildwood and the Paw Creek area northward to Interstate 77 near Huntersville. Interstate 485 south lines the west side of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to Yorkmount in south Charlotte. Photo taken 08/06/12.
Exit 30B departs I-85 for Interstate 485 north. I-485 was completed northward to NC 16 on May 8, 2007 and from there to I-77 and NC 115 on December 5, 2008. Photo taken 08/06/12.
2 photos
2 photos
Interstate 85 continues with eight overall lanes through the Interstate 485 interchange. Exit 30A follows onto I-485 south to I-77 at Montclaire South, Pineville, and Fort Mill, South Carolina. Photo taken 12/06/08. Second photo taken 08/06/13.
2 photos
2 photos
I-485 opened to traffic southward from Exit 30A on October 19, 2004. The Charlotte beltway reaches Interstate 77 in ten miles near the South Carolina state line. I-77 heads south from there to Rock Hill and Columbia, South Carolina. Photo taken 12/06/08. Second photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 29 to Sam Wilson Road (SR 1625) leaves from within the I-485 interchange. The diamond interchange serves the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The $38-million facility, opened to the public on November 4, 2006, lies to the northwest of Moores Chapel Road at the end of Whitewater Parkway. The facility is an official training site for Olympic whitewater slalom racing. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Sam Wilson Road travels south from Exit 38 to U.S. 29 & 74 (Wilkinson Boulevard) and Old Dowd Road (SR 1191) and north to Moores Chapel Road (SR 1601) by an assortment of subdivisions and industrial parks. Photo taken 08/06/13.
A set of truck weigh stations line Interstate 85 one mile to the west beyond the Moores Chapel Road (SR 1641) overpass. Photo taken 08/06/13.
North Carolina 273 constitutes the main corridor between Belmont and Mt. Holly. The state highway crosses paths with Interstate 85 at the first of two exits for the Gaston County cities in 1.75 miles. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 southbound at the weigh station off-ramp. The scales here replaced a set of rest areas. Photo taken 08/06/13.
The right lane defaults into the Exit 27 diamond interchange with NC 273 (Beatty Drive) north to Belmont and Park Street south to Belmont. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Five lanes of Interstate 85 south span the Catawba River across the Cameron Morrison Bridge into Gaston County. Photo taken 08/06/13.

  1. "Expect delays in N.C. 49's 'weave' area." Charlotte Observer, July 11, 2010.
  2. "First Chunk of Wider I-85 Nearly Done." Charlotte Observer, September 29, 1993.
  3. "Growth taking off at Charlotte airport - Construction under way for several projects." Charlotte Observer, January 4, 2013.
  4. "Norfolk Southern breaks ground for intermodal facility at Charlotte airport." Charlotte Business Journal, May 2, 2012.

Photo Credits:

  • 12/06/08 by Jamie Dzencelowcz.
  • 08/06/12 by AARoads.
  • 08/06/13 by AARoads.

Connect with:
Interstate 77
Interstate 485 - Charlotte Beltway
U.S. 21

Page Updated 09-20-2013.