The proposed route extended over the existing freeway along U.S. 29 from I-40/85 in Greensboro, North Carolina to the interchange with U.S. 58 at Danville, Virginia. The 7.0 mile long Virginia portion was built to Interstate standards. The 40.22 mile long North Carolina section required upgrading to meet full Interstate design standards. Signing I-785 was subject to approval of the FHWA in accordance with 23 USC 139(a) and 139(b).
A ceremony designating U.S. 29 as the Future I-785 corridor took place on June 29, 1998 at the Piedmont Triad Visitors Center south of Danville, Virginia. Attended by Representatives Virgil Goode of Virginia and Richard Burr of North Carolina, the event promoted economic development enhanced by the proposed Interstate highway. Future I-785 signs were installed afterward.5
Interstate 785 subsequently appeared on North Carolina’s Strategic Highway Corridors map by November 12, 2004. The southernmost section of I-785 was eventually approved by the FHWA on July 31, 2013 and acknowledged by AASHTO on October 21, 2013. This established I-785 along the Greensboro Northern Loop from I-40 north to U.S. 70 at Greensboro, North Carolina.
NCDOT installed I-785 signs by December 2016 at I-40/85. A spokesman for the agency indicated on February 20, 2017 that the signs were installed “early”, as the section of the Greensboro Urban Loop north from U.S. 70 to U.S. 29 was not scheduled to open until October of that year.6
The Eastern Section of the Greensboro Urban Loop opened to traffic on the evening of December 6, 2017, a year ahead of schedule. Costing over $140 million,1 work included completing the parclo interchange with U.S. 70 (Burlington Road) and building new interchanges with Huffine Mill Road and U.S. 29. NCDOT projected 58,000 vehicles per day (vpd) on this section of I-785 by 2040.7