Interstate 885 will run along the Durham Freeway (NC 147) north from I-40 and the Triangle Expressway (Toll NC 147) at Research Triangle Park to the East End Connector. 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, then June 2021 and then December 2021, the project will be completed overall in Spring 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 will be truncated north from I-40 to the East End Connector. The TriEx south from I-40 to Toll NC 540 (Western Wake Expressway) will be renumbered from Toll NC 147 to Toll NC 885.5
Completion of the East End Connector was delayed from June to December 2021. This was 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