Interstate 485 or I -485 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The highway forms a ring road around the state’s largest city, Charlotte. Interstate 485 is 108 kilometers long.
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I-485 around Charlotte.
Interstate 485 forms a fairly large ring road around Charlotte and opens up the suburbs and suburbs of the city. I-485 runs 10 to 20 miles outside of downtown Charlotte. The highway has mostly 2×3 to 2×4 lanes, with some 2×2 lanes on the east side of Charlotte, where the highway runs more along the edge of the urban region. I-485 has interchanges with Interstate 77 north and south of Charlotte and interchanges with Interstate 85 west and east of Charlotte. There is also a connection to US 74. on the southeast side of the city, which forms a toll road around Monroe. I-485 leads through industrial estates in the south of the city and the airport in the west. Elsewhere, I-485 mainly runs through residential areas in the woods. The start and end point is on the south side of town at the interchange with I-77.
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Charlotte built I-77 and I-85 in the 1960s and 1970s. Mecklenburg County, in which Charlotte is located, began to grow rapidly from the 1950s. Between 1950 and 1970, Mecklenburg County grew from 197,000 to 355,000 residents and it became clear that a Charlotte ring road was necessary, not only for the city but also to open up the rapid suburbanization around the city. Planning for a Charlotte ring road began in 1975.
By the time construction of I-485 began, Mecklenburg County was home to half a million residents. Construction officially began in July 1988, when the planned I-485 number was also announced. In late 1990, the first section of the highway opened, a short link between Pineville-Matthews Road and US 521, which did not yet connect to other highways. In late 1994, the highway was extended west to I-77, and east to Rea Road in south Charlotte. Two more sections opened in mid-1997, a westbound extension from I-77 to York Road and from Rea Road to US 74 in eastern Charlotte. On August 27, 1998, a short stretch from York Road to Arrowood Road opened in west Charlotte. After that, the highway was gradually completed on the west and east sides of Charlotte. On December 5, 2008, the most recent section on the north side opened to I-77. Some parts of the ring road are immediately constructed with 2×4 lanes. Finally, on June 5, 2015, the last missing section opened on the north side of Charlotte, completing the entire ring road.
|Exit 64||Exit 65||2 km||01-11-1990|
|Exit 65||exit 0||3 km||24-10-1994|
|exit 59||Exit 64||8 km||24-10-1994|
|exit 59||Exit 64||4 km||15-08-1997|
|exit 0||Exit 1||2 km||00-02-1998|
|Exit 1||Exit 3||3 km||27-08-1998|
|Exit 49||Exit 51||3 km||21-12-1999|
|Exit 31||exit 33||3 km||00-07-2000|
|exit 47||Exit 49||3 km||00-06-2001|
|exit 33||Exit 41||13 km||03-09-2003|
|Exit 41||exit 47||10 km||19-11-2003|
|Exit 3||Exit 10||11 km||19-10-2004|
|Exit 10||Exit 14||6 km||00-11-2005|
|Exit 14||Exit 18||6 km||00-11-2005|
|Exit 18||Exit 23||8 km||05-12-2008|
|Exit 23||Exit 31||10 km||05-06-2015|
I-485 on the northeast side of Charlotte.
Except for a small portion of Charlotte’s South Ring, I-485 was mostly 2×2 lanes. Although the ring road was far from complete, the parts opened up in the 1990s already started to become overloaded within a few years. That is why it was decided to construct the remaining parts immediately with 2×3 lanes. The cause was the explosive population growth around Charlotte, Mecklenburg County grew from 404,000 inhabitants in 1980 to 695,000 inhabitants in 2000, a growth that continued strongly after 2000. The parts that were opened after 2003 are mainly constructed with 2×3 lanes.
In 2005, a small stretch of I-485 on the south side of Charlotte west of I-77 was widened to 2×4 lanes. Between April 2013 and December 2014, a 10-mile (10-mile) portion of the South Ring was widened to 2×3 lanes between I-77 and Rea Road.
Interstate 485 Express Lanes
It is planned to build tolled express lanes on the southern portion of the ring road for 17 miles between I-77 and US 74. Construction costs are estimated at $203 million. The express lanes consist of one toll lane in each direction, with partially separate connections to and from the express lanes. In October 2018, a $346 million contract was awarded to build the express lanes. The project was scheduled to be completed in 2022, but was delayed until mid-2024 .
Every day, 100,000 to 120,000 vehicles drive across the southwest quadrant between I-77 and I-85. In the northwest quadrant, 65,000 to 80,000 vehicles per day travel between I-85 and I-77. On the northeastern part, 75,000 to 85,000 vehicles drive per day. The longest section, the East Ring, has 60,000 to 80,000 vehicles between I-85 and US 74 and 80,000 to 95,000 vehicles on the South Ring between US 74 and US 521. The busiest section is between US 521 and I-77 on the south side from Charlotte, with 120,000 to 145,000 vehicles per day.
Due to the rapid growth of Mecklenburg County after 2000, traffic volumes on I-485 increased rapidly. Between 2000 and 2016, Mecklenburg County’s population grew from 695,000 to 1,055,000. On some road sections of I-485, traffic volumes increased by 30,000 vehicles in a few years after 2010. The section on the northeast side of Charlotte, which opened in 2015, was already driving 80,000 vehicles a day within a year.
Traffic on I-485 mainly has a destination and origin in the suburbs, most through traffic uses I-77 and I-85 and therefore not the ring road.