Interstate 285 North Carolina

Routing

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 I-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.

History

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, 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, 2005.1 Their approval, coupled with approval by the 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 upgrades to the highway needed, including shoulder improvements. Completion of that project was slated for 2011, at which time Interstate 285 was to be signed.1

The North Carolina Strategic Corridors map outlined Interstate 285 as ending at Interstate 40. An extension of the highway will lengthen the route to the planned Winston-Salem Northern Beltway south of Rural Hall, where eventual Interstate 74 and Interstate 274 will meet. North from that interchange, the existing U.S. 52 freeway doubles as the I-74 corridor northwest toward Mount Airy. $500 million in improvements to the existing U.S. 52 freeway between Downtown Winston-Salem and Rural Hall were expected for completion by 2012.1

Finally on February 15, 2018, Interstate 285 received its formal approval from the Federal Highway Administration to overlay the 23-mile segment of U.S. 52 between I-85 in Lexington and I-40 in Winston-Salem.2 The submission was made by NCDOT in September 2017 upon completion of two projects that finalized additional upgrades of U.S. 52 to Interstate standards. Signs for I-285 will be placed along the corridor later in 2018.2

Southern Terminus - Interstate 85 - Lexington, North Carolina
Perspective from Interstate 85 & U.S. 29-52-70 north
Sign changes made along Interstate 85 north during freeway expansion removal most references from Business Loop I-85 for Exit 87 to Lexington. Additional sign changes will be needed in 2018 with the approval of I-285 north. Photo taken 12/15/16.
U.S. 29-52-70 split with Interstate 85 north at a wye interchange (Exit 87). The three routes accompany I-285 and Business Loop I-85 through southwest Lexington. Photo taken 12/15/16.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 40 - Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Perspective from Interstate 285 & U.S. 52 north
Cassell Street spans Interstate 285 & U.S. 52 on the half mile approach to the full cloverleaf interchange (Exits 107A/B) with Interstate 40 and U.S. 311 south. Photo taken 12/15/16.
Exit 107A departs for I-40 east to Greensboro and U.S. 311 south along side I-74 east to High Point. Photo taken 12/15/16.
A loop ramp (Exit 107B) follows from U.S. 52 north for I-40 west to Statesville and Asheville. I-285 north ends as U.S. 52 continues north to Downtown Winston-Salem and Mount Airy. Photo taken 12/15/16.
Perspective from Interstate 40 west & U.S. 311 north
Exit 193A loops away from Interstate 40 west for I-285, U.S. 52 & N.C. 8 south to Lexington. N.C. 8 overlays the freeway south to Bethesda. Photo taken 12/15/16.

Sources

  1. "U.S. 52 gets a second name." The Winston-Salem Journal, September 10, 2005.
  2. I-285 Gets Federal Approval as the Next New Interstate for North Carolina, NCDOT News Releases, February 15, 2018.

Page Updated February 18, 2018.

Mileage

State North Carolina
Mileage 23
Cities Lexington, Winston-Salem
Junctions I-85, I-40
Source: NCDOT, February 2018
Future Interstate 285 Corridor signs appeared on the U.S. 52 freeway in early 2006. This entry was photographed by Carter Buchanan on January 28, 2006 near the city of Lexington.
The southernmost section of Interstate 285 will coincide with Business Loop Interstate 85, creating perhaps the first 3di and Interstate Business loop overlap.


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