Interstate 885 North Carolina

Interstate 885 North Carolina


Interstate 885 runs along the Durham Freeway north from I-40 and the Triangle Expressway (Toll NC 885) at Research Triangle Park to the East End Connector. Opened to traffic on June 30, 2022, the East Connector is a 1.25 mile long roadway constructed between the Durham Freeway and the east Durham bypass (U.S. 70) near East End Avenue. I-885 overlays U.S. 70 northward to I-85/U.S. 15 at Exit 178. 2.75 miles of U.S. 70 were upgraded to limited access standards.

Previously anticipated to open to traffic in November 2019, and delayed to June 2021 and then December 2021, the project was completed overall in Summer 2022. Final paving operations for the East End Connector commenced in the first week of May 2022 between I-85 and the connector. Sign installation for I-885 commenced during the second week of May 2022. Upon completion NC 147 was truncated north from I-40 to the East End Connector. The TriEx south from I-40 to Toll NC 540 (Western Wake Expressway) was renumbered from Toll NC 147 to Toll NC 885.5

Completion of the East End Connector was delayed from June to December 2021 due to the demolition of a temporary railroad bridge for CSX and Norfolk Southern Railroad trains spanning U.S. 70 near where it converges with I-885. The concrete piers for the bridge blocked a portion of the new lanes for the wider road. A permanent replacement bridge for the Norfolk Southern Railroad was already complete, but the CSX Railroad bridge was still without tracks. Built by a North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) contractor, winter weather delayed construction for the CSX span. CSX was responsible for laying tracks on the crossing, which was expected to take place during Summer 2021.1

Route Information

  • North End – Durham, NC

  • South End – Research Triangle Park, NC

  • Mileage – 13

  • Cities – Durham

  • JunctionsI-40 I-85

Source: —


The East End Connector was first proposed in 1959 as part of the city of Durham’s thoroughfare plan. The freeway was funded by a bond referendum in 1962, with the first section completed in 1970. Additional exits were added in the 1990s. NCDOT studied the connector again in the late 1990s, but construction was still unfunded in project lists issued in 2003 and 2005. It eventually was incorporated in the 2009-15 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).2 A ground breaking ceremony for the project took place in April 2015.3

Right of way acquisition for the East End Connector commenced in April 2012. Construction on the $142 million project was pushed back from April 2014 to a starting date in February 2015. Work was originally anticipated to run through May 2020, then November 2020.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) submitted Interstate 885 to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) at the Spring 2022 meeting. It was approved. 2014 sign schematics by NCDOT previously showed the route acknowledged for the East End Connector.4

North End I-85 US 15 US 70 – Durham, North Carolina

I-885 North US 70 West at I-85 US 15

I-885/US 70 north at Cheek Road, 0.75 miles from I-85/US 15.

A parclo interchange (Exit 12) connects I-885/U.S. 70 with Cheek Road (SR 1800) three quarters of a mile south of I-85/U.S. 15. 12/16/22

I-885 concludes with two lanes joining I-85 south and one for I-85 north.

I-885/U.S. 70 span Geer Street (SR 1670) ahead of Exit 13 for I-85/U.S. 15 north to Henderson. 12/16/22

I-885 north at I-85/US 15 north to Petersburg, Virginia.

Exit 13 parts ways from the north end of I-885 for I-85 to Petersburg, Virginia. U.S. 70 continues west along a two lane flyover onto I-85/U.S. 15 south. 12/16/22

US 70 continues west from I-885 onto I-85/US 15 ahead of Exit 177.

U.S. 70 combines with I-85/U.S. 15 south ahead of a split diamond interchange (Exit 177) with U.S. 15-501 Business (N Roxboro Street) and NC 55 (Avondale Drive). 12/16/22

I-85 US 15 North US 70 East at I-885

I-85/US 15-70 south at Interstate 885 in Durham, NC.

U.S. 70 separates from I-85/U.S. 15 north at the directional T interchange (Exit 178) with I-885 south in east Durham. 12/16/22

I-85/US 15 split with US 70 east at I-885 south in Durham, NC.

This exchange with U.S. 70 east was previously upgraded from a single wye as part of a $210 million project in 1999-2008 to reconstruct I-85 from Exit 173 to 178 through Durham. 12/16/22

I-85 US 15 South at I-885 US 70

I-85/US 15 south enter Durham, NC ahead of I-885/US 70.

I-85/U.S. 15 travel southwest from Falls Lake and Gorman into the city of Durham ahead of I-885/U.S. 70. 12/27/22

I-85/US 15 south at I-885/US 70 in Durham, North Carolina.

I-885 branches south alongside U.S. 70 at Exit 178 toward Joyland and Bethesda. 12/16/22

Exit 178 leaves I-85/US 15 south for Interstate 885.

Midland Terrace (SR 1827) spans I-85/U.S. 15 south at Exit 178. I-885/U.S. 70 overlap to S Miami Boulevard. 12/27/22

South End I-40 Toll NC 147 Triangle Expressway – Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

I-885 South at I-40 Toll NC 147

I-885 travels south through RTP to the TriEx.

Interstate 885 concludes at I-40 and the north end of the TriEx (Toll NC 885), 1.75 miles south of T.W. Alexander Drive (SR 2028). 12/27/22

I-885 south at Exit 6 in Research Triangle Park.

A cloverleaf interchange (Exit 5) joins the south end of the Durham Freeway, north end of the tolled Triangle Expressway (TriEx) and I-40 within Research Triangle Park. 12/27/22

I-885 south at Exit 6 in Research Triangle Park.

The tolled Triangle Expressway extends 3.12 miles south from I-40/885 to NC 540 (Western Wake Expressway) at Morrisville. 12/27/22

I-885 south at I-40 east to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Directional ramps connect I-885 south with I-40 east at Left Exit 5 A and I-40 west with the Durham Freeway north at Exit 279 B. 12/27/22

I-40 East at I-885 Toll NC 885

I-40 east a half mile ahead of I-885/NC 885 in Durham.

Interstate 40 advances east from NC 55 in Durham to a cloverleaf interchange (Exit 279) with I-885/NC 885 in RTP. 12/16/22

I-40 east at NC 885 (TriEx) south to Morrisville.

Exit 279 A leaves I-40 east for NC 885 (TriEx) south to NC 540 for Cary and Apex. 12/16/22

I-40 east at I-885 (Durham Freeway) north through RTP.

Interstate 885 replaced NC 147 north along the Durham Freeway to the East End Connector in Durham. 12/16/22

I-40 West at I-885 Toll NC 885

I-40 continues west from Davis Drive in RTP to I-885 north.

I-40 converges with NC 885 (TriEx) and I-885 (Durham Freeway) in RTP, 0.44 miles west of Davis Drive (SR 1999). 12/16/22

Two lanes depart from I-40 west for I-885 north to Durham, NC.

A two lane directional ramp provides a high speed connection from I-40 west onto I-885 (Durham Freeway) north at Exit 279 B. 12/16/22

Toll NC 885 North at I-40 I-885

NC 885 (TriEx) north at I-40 east to Raleigh.

NC 885 (Triangle Expressway) heads north through Research Triangle Park (RTP) to meet Interstate 40 just beyond NC 54. 12/16/22

NC 885 (TriEx) transitions into I-885 (Durham Freeway) at Exit 5 B.

Interstate 885 (Durham Freeway) begins at the north end of NC 885 (TriEx) within the exchange for I-40. 12/16/22

  1. “Opening of Durham East End Connector delayed for 6 more months.” Herald-Sun, The (Durham, NC), June 5, 2021.
  2. “I-885, the next highway in Durham: What it looks like and when it will open.” Herald-Sun, The (Durham, NC), July 18, 2018.
  3. “NCDOT project closes section of N. Miami Boulevard in Durham – The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.).” News & Observer, The (Raleigh, NC) June 10, 2015.
  4. New Interstate 885 in Durham” online posting by bob7374, AARoads Forum, August 19, 2014.
  5. “Final Paving Begins as East End Connector Project Wraps Up.” North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), press release. May 4, 2022.

Page updated April 6, 2023.