Approved in February 2018, Interstate 285 runs concurrent with the 23-mile freeway portion of U.S. 52 through Davidson and Forsyth counties, connecting Lexington to Winston-Salem. The I-285 designation should boost the local economy by placing additional communities onto the Interstate system.1
Beginning at the split of U.S. 29-52-70 and Business Loop I-85 from Interstate 85 (Exit 87) near Davidson County Airport (EXX), I-285 initially travels northeast toward Lexington. Business Loop I-85, U.S. 29 & 70 depart for Downtown while I-285 and U.S. 52 continue around Lexington, bypassing it to the west. The freeway proceeds north around both Welcome and Midway before entering Forsyth County. I-285 ends at the exchange with I-40 while the U.S. 52 freeway continues into Winston-Salem.
Already built to Interstate standards, the section of U.S. 52 between Lexington and Winston-Salem was initially submitted to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as Interstate 185. That designation however, was rejected on May 30, 2003 during their annual Special Committee on Route Numbering meeting. Interstate 285 first appeared in North Carolina’s Strategic Highway Corridors map as of November 12, 2004.
After several tries by the state of North Carolina, AASHTO approved the signing of Interstate 285 along the U.S. 52 freeway between Lexington and Winston-Salem during the week of September 5, 2005.1 This decision, coupled with approval by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) granted in 2004, paved the way for NCDOT officials to post Future Interstate 285 signs along the corridor. The only hurdle preventing the highway from officially joining the Interstate system at the time were $2.5 million in shoulder improvements needed along the freeway . Completion of that project was slated for 2011, at which time Interstate 285 was to be signed.1