Interstate 485

Interstate 485

Infobox road

length_ref=fact|date=December 2007
terminus_a=Jct|state=NC|NC|16 in Charlotte
junction=Jct|state=NC|I|77 in Charlotte
Jct|state=NC|US|521 in Pineville
jct|state=NC|US|74 in Matthews
Jct|state=NC|US|29 in Charlotte
terminus_b=Jct|state=NC|I|85 in Charlotte
:"For two unbuilt highways, see Interstate 485 (Georgia)."Interstate 485 (I-485) is an Interstate highway and a partially-completed beltway around Charlotte, North Carolina. It is one of the newest members of the Interstate 85 family.

The western, southern and eastern segments of the beltway are complete and open to traffic. The current path runs south from NC 16 (Brookshire Freeway), crosses I-85 near Charlotte/Douglas International Airport and continues counter-clockwise to I-85 near Concord and UNC Charlotte, crossing I-77 south of Uptown Charlotte. During rush hour, this newly-opened roadway is an easy, but long, way around the I-77/I-85 interchange in north Charlotte.

The northwest segment from I-85 to I-77 is currently under construction and being opened in phases. The most recent segment from NC 27 to NC 16 opened on May 9, 2007; the segment from NC 16 to NC 115, just beyond the I-77 interchange is scheduled to open either in middle to late 2008. Construction on the final segment—the northeast section from I-77 to I-85 near UNC Charlotte, is scheduled to begin in 2015.cite news | url= | title=Last thought for the road? | author=Harrison, Steve | publisher=Charlotte Observer | date=December 23 2007 | accessdate=2008-01-11]

Although I-485 is officially called the Charlotte Beltway, and unofficially the "Outerbelt", it also goes by four other names. The majority of the interstate is called the Governor James G. Martin Freeway and the southwestern section is the Rusty Goode Freeway, in honor of the men who helped make I-485 a reality. Seddon "Rusty" Goode served on the transportation board in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. The partially opened northwestern section is designated the Craig Lawing Freeway, and the final section that will connect back to the University Area will be called the Doctor Jay Robinson Freeway (named for a former superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools).

Although part of the Southern Outerbelt runs within 1.5 miles (2.4km) of South Carolina, the entire Outerbelt is located in Mecklenburg County and never crosses into South Carolina or neighboring counties. It should be noted, however that I-485 does come within just convert|20|ft|m of the Cabarrus County line at the Rocky River Road exit. The Outerbelt traverses the towns of Mint Hill, Matthews and Pineville; when completed, it will also pass through Huntersville. This will be the first "true" loop road around Charlotte, as the I-277 freeway is an inner loop around downtown Charlotte, locally known as "Uptown" or "Center City."

Route description

Orientation and signage

Since Interstate 485, when completed, will be a beltway, the compass orientation of the freeway is not uniform around the loop. Some sections of the loop are signed North/South and others are signed East/West, depending on the general compass directions along which traffic flows. In addition to the compass directions, the Inner/Outer labeling system is also utilized, but as of December 2006, it is secondary. Usually when both systems are utilized on signs, the compass directional banner is placed above the number shield and the Inner/Outer banner is placed below. [ Guide - I-485 Outer / Wilkinson Blvd sign picture] ] Officials originally decided to use only "north" and "south" compass directions when signing the route, but because this would be confusing with multiple "norths" and "souths", "inner" and "outer" designations were included. Althouth "east" and "west" signs exist, these will be phased out in favor of "inner" and "outer" designations.cite news |first= |last=Dr. Traffic |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Making heads or tails of inner, outer loops |url= |work=The Charlotte Observer |publisher= |date=2006-05-14 |accessdate=2008-03-07 ]

Traffic traveling in a clockwise direction around the city of Charlotte is on the "Inner" loop and traffic traveling in a counterclockwise direction is on the "Outer" loop. [ WSOC-TV News: State has new way to identify location on I-485 (Accessed Dec 2006)] ] This system can be confusing, but it is logical; since traffic in the United States generally travels on the right side of the road, the clockwise traveling lanes will always be the "Inner" lanes of a loop.

Volume and capacity

As of 2006, approximately convert|24|mi|km of I-485 between NC51 (Exit 65) and NC24-27 (Exit 41), has four travel lanes. Volume on this section varies widely from a maximum of 120,000 vpd east of NC51 to a 50,000 vpd south of NC24.

Approximately convert|10|mi|km of I-485 between NC24-27 (Exit 41) and I-85 (Exit 31) has between six and eight travel lanes. Volume on this section varies between 50,000 vpd and 55,000 vpd.

Approximately convert|10|mi|km of I-485 between I-77 (Exit 67) and I-85 (Exit 10) has between six and eight travel lanes. Volume on this section varies between 50,000 and 80,000 vpd.

Volume on the southern section of I-485 regularly exceeds capacity during peak travel times, particularly between I-77 (Exit 67) and NC16 (Exit 57). Many of the interchanges in this area were designed to accommodate large volumes of traffic, particular the massive interchange with I-77. However, with only two travel lanes in each direction, I-485 does a poor job of handling through traffic when volume is heavy.


The North Carolina Department of Transportation has proposed to build additional travel lanes along the southern section of I-485 between I-77 and US521. Construction is currently scheduled to begin in 2015.

In addition, NCDOT is planning to convert the existing grade separation at Weddington Road (located between Exit 57 and Exit 52) to an interchange beginning in 2009. The proposed design is a folded-diamond style interchange with all four ramps located to one side of the existing grade separation, similar to the existing interchange of I-485 & NC24-27. The westbound (inner) ramps are proposed to intersect Weddington Road directly opposite Plantation Drive. The future interchange will likely be designated Exit 54.

Exit list

Mile numbering on Interstate 485 is awkward, as the numbers are set up for when the freeway is a completed loop. Numbering begins at Interstate 77 south of Charlotte, NC and continues clockwise to NC 16 (Brookshire Boulevard) on the Northwest side of Charlotte. The road ends there for now. The interstate begins at Interstate 85 northeast of Charlotte, and continues as if the road had not ended, at mile 31 (in reality, a convert|17|mi|km|sing=on gap exists between the two exits), and continues to Interstate 77 at mile 67.The entire route is in Mecklenburg County.


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