Interstate 85 South - Rowan & Cabbarus Counties

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Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 south
Interstate 85 across the Yadkin River was named the Yadkin River Veterans Memorial Bridge on June 12, 2012. The southbound span is 0.55 miles long and 72 feet in width.1 The nearby 1955 bridge for I-85, which stretched just 0.2 miles, was demolished by April 2013.2 Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 and U.S. 52 share 11 miles of pavement southwest from Lexington to Salisbury. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Southbound travelers entered Rowan County midway across the Yadkin River. Home to 138,428 per the 2010 census, the county was formed in 1753 from a portion of Anson County and named after North Carolina Governor Matthew Rowan. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Long Ferry Road (SR 2120) winds east from U.S. 29-70 & NC 150 (Salisbury Avenue) in Spencer to Trading Ford and a dead end on a peninsula off High Rock Lake. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Downtown Salisbury is seven miles ahead at the former crossroads of U.S. 29, 52, 70 and 601 (Main and Innes Streets) while Charlotte is 47 miles to the southwest. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 continues with eight overall lanes through the Exit 81 diamond interchange with Long Ferry Road (SR 2120). Photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 81 leaves Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 south for Long Ferry Road west to Spencer and east to the Buck Combined Cycle Plant, a Duke Energy natural gas facility along the Yadkin River. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Continuing south, Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 enter the town of East Spencer to a diamond interchange (Exit 79) with Andrews Street west and Old Union Church Road east (SR 1915). Photo taken 08/06/13.
Andrews Street (SR 1915) leads 1.2 miles north to U.S. 29-70 & NC 150 (Salisbury Avenue) in Spencer. The trio proceed west from there to Downtown. Photo taken 08/06/13.
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 includes recreation opportunities including boating and camping. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Old Union Church Road (SR 1915) heads southeast to connect Interstate 85 & U.S. 52 with Bringle Ferry Road (SR 1002) east to Craven and High Rock Lake. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Rebuilding of Interstate 85 south from mileposts 81 to 68 was undertaken between June 1997 and 2007 in four sections at a cost of $84.2-million. The final project expanded I-85 from north of Bringle Ferry Road to Long Ferry Road between January 2005 and early 2007. Work included the reconstruction of both Exits 81 and 79.3,5 Photo taken 08/06/13.
U.S. 52 south parts ways with Interstate 85 at forthcoming Exit 76 to rejoin its alignment along Innes Street south to Granite Quarry and Rockwell in southern Rowan County. The route followed U.S. 29 & 70 (Main Street) to Innes Street southeast from downtown until 1971.4 Photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 76 was rebuilt from a full cloverleaf interchange into a single point urban interchange (SPUI) as phase three of the overall 13-mile widening of I-85 from East Spencer to China Grove. Work broke ground in February 2001 and ran through summer 2006.5 U.S. 52 otherwise travels south 29 miles to the Stanly County seat of Albemarle. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 South
Interstate 85 travels solo for just 1.5 miles before combing with U.S. 601 south at Jake Alexander Boulevard. Photo taken 08/06/13.
U.S. 601 bypasses Salisbury along a somewhat commercialized arterial (Jake Alexander Boulevard) southward from Innes Street, on the northern outskirts of town, to a diamond interchange (Exit 75) with Interstate 85. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Jake Alexander Boulevard (SR 1007) continues east from U.S. 601 south to U.S. 52 (Innes Street) at South Salisbury. U.S. 601 north combines with U.S. 70 west from U.S. 29 near Rowan Mills to Statesville Road. Before moving onto Interstate 85, U.S. 601 shared pavement with U.S. 29 southwest through China Grove, Landis and Kannapolis, meeting I-85 at Exit 58. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 south
Interstate 85 reconstruction between China Grove and Spencer added auxiliary lanes from Jake Alexander Boulevard southwest to Julian Road (SR 2528). The diamond interchange (Exit 74) at SR 2528 was reconfigured into a folded diamond as part of Phase II of the 1997-2007 project. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Julian Road arcs southward from U.S. 601 (Jake Alexander Boulevard) by a business park, apartment complex and big box retail to Old Concord Road at Heilig Road (SR 1002). Photo taken 08/06/13.
U.S. 601 coincides with Interstate 85 south for 16.5 miles to Cannon Boulevard (U.S. 29) in Kannapolis. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Peach Orchard Road (SR 2539) and Peeler Road (SR 2538) are the first of three east-west roads connecting Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 with U.S. 29 (Main Street) to the west and Old Concord Road (SR 1002) to the east. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Downtown Kannapolis is 13 miles to the south, followed by Charlotte in about a half hour. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 72 consists of a diamond interchange with Peach Orchard Road, as does Exit 71 with Peeler Road in 0.75 miles. Photo taken 08/06/13.
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Phase II of the I-85 widening between China Grove and Salisbury focused on a 3.2-mile stretch from north of Julian Road to north of Webb Road (Exit 70). This work, completed on August 1, 2001,6 expanded Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 to ten overall lanes between Exits 72 and 71. Photos taken 08/06/13.
A pair of truck stops line Peeler Road (SR 2538) adjacent to Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 at Exit 71. U.S. 29 (Main Street) exits the city limits of Salisbury just south of Peeler Road's west end. Photo taken 08/06/13.
One half mile north of the Exit 70 diamond interchange with Webb Road (SR 1500) on Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 south. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 parallel Town Creek to the eastern reaches of China Grove at Exit 68. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 70 leaves the southbound freeway for Webb Road west to U.S. 29 (Main Street) at Roseman Road. Roseman Road (SR 1500) leads back into Salisbury. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 south lose a lane to the upcoming wye interchange with the U.S. 29 connector (SR 2664). This stretch of freeway was modernized as Phase I of the 1997-2007 project. Work here was completed in summer 2000.6 Photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 68 provides a route to North Carolina 152 east to Rockwell from an adjacent interchange with the U.S. 29 connector (SR 2664). NC 152 enters China Grove from a rural drive through Bostian Heights and Shupings Mill and leaves via Church Street to Mooresville. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 shifts eastward to bypass most of Kannapolis on the 33-mile drive to Charlotte. Five exits serve the city over the next 14 miles. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Another Mt. Hope Church Road (one met I-85 previously east of Greensboro) passes overhead on the half mile approach to Exit 68. Interstate 85 was constructed as new expressway for U.S. 29 from China Grove northeast to Greensboro in the 1950s. The upcoming connector to U.S. 29 represents the southern extent of that expressway. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Two lanes leave Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 south for Exit 68 onto the U.S. 29 connector (SR 2664). U.S. 29 splits with Main Street for a four-lane bypass of China Grove to Landis and Cannon Boulevard through Kannapolis. Main Street, formerly signed as U.S. 29A, follows the old route through the China Grove city and Landis town centers. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 reduce to a four-lane freeway ahead of the half diamond interchange (Exit 68 on northbound) with North Carolina 152. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Southbound mileage sign posted eight miles from the Kannapolis city center and 31 miles from Charlotte at the Lentz Road (SR 1137) overpass. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Next in line for Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 south is the Exit 63 diamond interchange with Lane Street (SR 2180) in 1.5 miles. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 circumvents adjacent Lake Fisher to the Cabarrus County line. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Lane Street heads 0.8 miles east from Exit 63 to Old Salisbury-Concord Road (SR 1002) and west 2.5 miles to Brantley Road (SR 2000), one block east of U.S. 29 (Cannon Boulevard) in Kannapolis. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Brantley Road (SR 2000) branches southward from Lane Street to span Lake Fisher ahead of its overpass above Interstate 85 & U.S. 601. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Copperfield Boulevard north and Dale Earnhardt Boulevard (SR 2126) east come together at a commercialized parclo interchange (Exit 60) with I-85 & U.S. 601 in one mile. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Dale Earnhardt Boulevard was renamed from Earnhardt Road on October 5, 1993 during a day of celebration to honor the Kannapolis native and seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion.7 The five-lane arterial leads northwest to become North Carolina 3 west from Concord Lake Road. NC 3 continues Dale Earnhardt Boulevard northwest to Mooresville Road through Kannapolis. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Rest areas line both sides of Interstate 85 amid the adjacent development off North Carolina 3 (Concord Lake Road) and Copperfield Boulevard south of Exit 60. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Copperfield Boulevard south follows the east side of I-85 & U.S. 601 from Exit 60 to NC 3 (Concord Lake Road) near Carolina Mall. There is no direct access between the freeway and North Carolina 3 otherwise.
North Carolina 3, a 27.82-mile route from Concord to Mooresville, was renumbered from NC 136 in memory of Dale Earnhardt, who drove the Number 3 Chevrolet. Efforts to renumber the state highway were undertaken by the Mooresville city council and supported by resolutions passed by Iredell and Carteret County Commissioners, and eventually Concord City Council, by September 2001. The N.C. Transportation Board eventually followed suit and on October 23, 2002, legislation formally swapping the route numbers of 3 and 136 was signed into law by Governor Mike Easley. Earnhardt died on the final lap of the February 2001 Daytona 500.8,9 Photo taken 08/06/13.
Development in the form of offices, hotels and retail followed the 1992 completion of the Earnhardt Road interchange southward along Copperfield Boulevard to then-North Carolina 136. Interstate 85 and U.S. 601 continue south with four overall lanes by this stretch. Photo taken 08/06/13.
U.S. 601 prepares to part ways with Interstate 85 south at the full cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 29 (Cannon Boulevard north / Concord Parkway south). U.S. 601 shares a 3.6-mile overlap with U.S. 29 south along a four-lane commercial arterial between Carolina Mall and W.C. Coleman Boulevard near West Concord. Photo taken 08/06/13.
U.S. 29 leaves Kannapolis for an older bypass of Concord before turning west along Concord Parkway to Charlotte Motor Speedway and North Tryon Street into Charlotte. Photo taken 08/06/13.
U.S. 601 connects the city of Concord with the Union County seat of Monroe by way of Midland, Fairview and Unionville. Exit 58 is the first of three interchanges for Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 140,000-seat NASCAR track along U.S. 29 at Bruton Smith Boulevard (SR 2894). Photo taken 08/06/13.
North Carolina 3 spans Interstate 85 & U.S. 601 south ahead of a collector distributor roadway (Exit 58) for Cannon Boulevard north to Kannapolis and Concord Parkway south to Concord. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 maintains four through lanes as single-lane c/d roadways facilities the movements to U.S. 29 and U.S. 601 south. US 601 comprises a two-state route for 316 miles from Mount Airy to U.S. 321 near Tarboro, South Carolina. Photo taken 08/06/13.
An older guide sign for U.S. 29 north alludes to the former cosigning with U.S. 601 north through Kannapolis, Landis and China Grove. Former U.S. 29A follows Main Street south to Kannapolis Highway (SR 1008) just to the west. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Motorists bound for U.S. 29 & 601 (Concord Parkway) south loop away from Interstate 85. The tandem merge with NC 73 nearby, which lines Davidson Drive and Church Street south into downtown Concord. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 South
Interstate 85 heads west from the split with U.S. 601 along the Kannapolis and Concord city line to Coddle Creek beyond Exit 54. Photo taken 08/06/13.
North Carolina 73 turns west from U.S. 29 & 601 along Davidson Highway to North Concord and Exit 55 with Interstate 85, one mile west of Irish Buffalo Creek. Photo taken 08/06/13.
A $138.7-million project underway by September 2010 focuses on expansion of I-85 from four to eight lanes along a 7.3-mile stretch leading southwest from Irish Buffalo Creek to Interstate 485. This work includes the conversion of diamond interchanges with NC 73 (Exit 55) and Poplar Tent Road (Exit 52) to diverging diamond interchanges (DDI's). The new I-85 travel lanes are expected to open by spring 2014 and the new DDI's should be completed by June 2014.10 Photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 55 leaves Interstate 85 south for North Carolina 73 (Davidson Highway) east to Concord and west to Huntersville. NC 73 totals 118.5 miles from NC 27, east of Lincolnton, to U.S. 15 & 501, north of Pinehurst. Photo taken 08/06/13.
One mile out from the Exit 54 diamond interchange with Kannapolis Parkway north (SR 1430) and George W. Liles Parkway (SR 1430) south on Interstate 85 south. Originally touted as the Westside Bypass, the north-south parkway between Poplar Tent Road and NC 73 opened to traffic along with Exit 54 on October 31, 2002.11 Photo taken 08/06/13.
George W. Liles Parkway extends SR 1430 south from the Kannapolis city line to Weddington Road (SR 1431) in Concord presently. A $44.5-million project will extend the six-lane divided highway south to U.S. 29 at Roberta Church Road (SR 1310),12 with an overall end planned at NC 49. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Spartanburg, South Carolina debuts on southbound I-85 mileage signs at 89 miles away. Downtown Charlotte is just 20 miles further. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Kannapolis Parkway winds northward through western reaches of Kannapolis to North Carolina 3 (Mooresville Road). The four-lane divided highway opened between NC 73 (Davidson Highway) and NC 3 in spring 2007. An extension of the parkway north is proposed to Tuckaseegee Road (SR 1616).11 Photo taken 08/06/13.
Poplar Tent Road (SR 1394) stems west from U.S. 29 & 601 (Concord Parkway) and McGill Avenue to cross paths with Interstate 85 at Exit 52 in 1.5 miles. Photo taken 08/06/13.
West from the future DDI with Interstate 85, Poplar Tent Road continues by a quarry to Cox Mill, Wallace Crossroads and a number of subdivisions to NC 73 along the Cabarrus and Mecklenburg County line. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Interstate 85 travels by Concord Regional Airport (JQF) to a parclo interchange (Exit 49) with Concord Mills Boulevard north and Bruton Smith Boulevard south. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Collectively SR 2894, Concord Mills and Bruton Smith Boulevard connect Interstate 85 with adjacent Concord Mills Mall and Charlotte Motor Speedway at U.S. 29. Christenbury Parkway continues SR 2894 north to the Highland Creek suburb of Charlotte. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Exit 49 departs Interstate 85 south for Concord Mills Boulevard north to Derita Road (SR 1445) and Bruton Smith Boulevard (formerly Speedway Boulevard) south to U.S. 29 (Concord Parkway). Exit 49 opened to traffic on October 1, 1996 in conjunction with Speedway Boulevard south to U.S. 29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.13 Photo taken 08/06/13.



  1. "NCDOT to open new I-85 Yadkin River bridge on Friday." WBTV, March 7, 2013.
  2. "Out with the Old: Demolition Work Under Way on Old Yadkin River Bridge near Salisbury." NCDOT, Press Release. February 1, 2013.
  3. "Work on next section of I-85 coming; widening project will continue through winter of 2007." Salisbury Post, January 22, 2005.
  4. U.S. 52.
  5. "Patience: I-85 construction managers say interstate work winding down." Salisbury Post, January 21, 2006.
  6. "Widening project on schedule." Salisbury Post, January 23, 2000.
  7. "Earnhardt is Honored by Kannapolis Family."Charlotte Observer, October 6, 1993.
  9. "It's Official: Road Honors Earnhardt - Driver's Widow Attend Bill's Signing Ceremony."Charlotte Observer, October 24, 2002.
  10. "New projects to ease I-85 traffic - N.C. DOT adding lanes, innovative interchanges, 'super streets' - Transportation."Charlotte Observer, January 23, 2013.
  12. "N.C. DOT starts work on road projects - Infrastructure, connectivity, safety targeted - Cabarrus."Charlotte Observer, March 31, 2013.
  13. "NEW EXIT 49 SHOULD EASE TRAFFIC TO, FROM RACES."Charlotte Observer, October 4, 1996.

Photo Credits:

08/06/13 by AARoads

Page Updated 09-19-2013.