Interstate 285 North Carolina

Proposed Routing

Interstate 285 is the proposed designation for the U.S. 52 freeway between Lexington and Winston-Salem in North Carolina.1 Already built to Interstate standards, Interstate 285 appears in North Carolina's Strategic Highway Corridors map as of November 12, 2004. Submitted to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as Interstate 185, it was rejected on May 30, 2003. (for more on this and other actions taken by AASHTO at their 2003 meeting, see AASHTO Committee Actions - Special Committee on Route Numbering). It is likely that Interstate 185 will be resubmitted to AASHTO as Interstate 285, and once it is approved, then Interstate signs may start appearing along the route.


After several tries by the state of North Carolina, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the signing of Interstate 285 along the U.S. 52 freeway between Lexington and Winston-Salem during the week of September 5, 2005.2 Their approval coupled with the FHWA approval granted in 2004 paves 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 are $2.5 million in upgrades to the highway including shoulder improvements. Completion of that project is slated for 2011, at which time Interstate 285 will be fully signed.2

The U.S. 52 freeway between Lexington and Winston-Salem previously appeared as Interstate 285 on the North Carolina Strategic Corridors map. Originally, Interstate 285 was planned to end at Interstate 40, but an extension of the highway will lengthen the route to eventual Interstate 74 (U.S. 52 at Rural Hall) and Interstate 274 at the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway interchange. From that interchange, the existing U.S. 52 freeway is planned to become part of Interstate 74 northwest toward Mount Airy. $500 million in improvements to the existing U.S. 52 freeway between downtown Winston-Salem and Rural Hall are expected for completion by 2012. The Interstate 285 designation should boost the local economy by placing additional communities onto the Interstate system.2

As a result of Interstate 285 and Interstate 74, U.S. 52 would be relegated to being paired with an Interstate from Mount Airy southeast to Lexington. An option to eliminate this redundancy would be for U.S. 52 to replace U.S. 601 between these same two cities, but there do not appear to be official plans for this to occur.

Southern Terminus - Interstate 85 - Lexington, North Carolina
The future south end is located at the split with U.S. 29-70 and Business Loop I-85 north from I-85 on the south side of Lexington.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 74, Interstate 274, and U.S. 52 - near King, North Carolina
This terminus location is approximate at this time. An interchange between Interstate 74, Interstate 274, and U.S. 52 will be constructed several years from now.


  1. North Carolina Department of Transportation Strategic Highway Planning Documents
  2. "U.S. 52 gets a second name." The Winston-Salem Journal, September 10, 2005.

Page Updated March 25, 2006.

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