Interstate 85 (I-85) is a major
Interstate Highway in the Southeastern
United States. Its current southern terminus is at an interchange with
I-65 in Montgomery, Alabama; its northern terminus interchanges with
I-95 in Petersburg, Virginia, near Richmond. It is nominally
north–south, but physically mostly northeast–southwest. While most
interstates that end in a "5" are cross-country routes, I-85 is mainly
a regional route, serving five southeastern states. Major metropolitan
areas served by I-85 include the
Greater Richmond Region
Greater Richmond Region in Virginia,
the Research Triangle, Piedmont Triad, and Metrolina regions of North
Carolina, Upstate South Carolina, the
Atlanta metropolitan area in
Georgia, and the
Montgomery metropolitan area
Montgomery metropolitan area in Alabama
1 Route description
1.3 South Carolina
1.4 North Carolina
4 Major junctions
5 Related routes
6 See also
8 External links
I-85 is a route that serves several major locations in the
Southeastern United States, stretching from
major metropolitan areas such as
Atlanta and Charlotte.
Interstate 85 in Alabama
City map of Auburn, Alabama, showing I-85 passing south of it
I-85 begins as a fork off I-65 in Montgomery. From there, I-85
U.S. Route 80
U.S. Route 80 (US 80) until the highway nears Tuskegee.
At Tuskegee, I-85 leaves US 80 and starts to parallel US 29,
which the highway parallels for much of its length.
I-85 also passes near Auburn, Opelika, Valley and Lanett before
Chattahoochee River into Georgia.
I-85 will soon be rerouted southward just east of Montgomery, where it
will intersect with I-65 just south of downtown Montgomery. Future
I-685 will be the new designation for the route of current I-85, which
leads directly to I-65 in downtown Montgomery.
Interstate 85 in Georgia
I-75 co-signed with I-85 in downtown Atlanta, GA
In Georgia, I-85 (unsigned State Route 403) bypasses West Point before
coming into the LaGrange area. East of LaGrange, I-85 intersects I-185
which connects to Columbus and Fort Benning. In the
Atlanta area, I-85
intersects I-20 and merges with
I-75 through the downtown area. North
of Atlanta, I-985 provides a link to Gainesville before heading
through northeastern Georgia and then crossing into South Carolina.
Due to a bridge collapse on March 30, 2017, parts of I-85 in Atlanta
I-85 North after Exit 1 in Oconee County, South Carolina, in 2008
Interstate 85 in South Carolina
I-85 provides the major transportation route for the Upstate of South
Carolina, linking together the major centers of Greenville and
Spartanburg with regional centers of importance. In Spartanburg, BMW
has a major manufacturing plant that can be seen from the highway. In
South Carolina, I-85 bypasses Clemson and Anderson on the way to
Greenville. Beginning at Anderson, I-85 widens from four to six lanes.
Near Powdersville, US 29 joins I-85 and they run concurrently
until they cross the Saluda River. I-85 bypasses just south of
Greenville, but provides two links into the city via spur routes I-185
and I-385. I-85 also has direct exits to Greenville–Spartanburg
International Airport, which serves the Greenville–Spartanburg
metropolitan area. I-85 then bypasses the city of
Spartanburg to the
north. Its original route is now signed as Business Loop 85 and was
approved by AASHTO on April 22, 1995. Near mile marker 70, I-85
intersects with I-26. The exits are signed as exits 70A for eastbound
traffic and 70B for westbound traffic. North of Spartanburg, I-85
narrows from six lanes back to four lanes and bypasses Gaffney. Much
of the terrain between
Spartanburg and the
North Carolina border is
rural in nature but congested to the state line due to its location
I-40/85 through Burlington, North Carolina
Interstate 85 in North Carolina
In North Carolina, I-85 enters a relatively rural area near Kings
Mountain before entering the Gastonia and Charlotte areas. In
Charlotte, I-85 bypasses
Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Charlotte Douglas International Airport and
turns northeastward just before reaching uptown Charlotte; thus I-85
just bypasses uptown to the north where it junctions with I-77. North
of Charlotte, the highway passes near Concord, Salisbury, Lexington
and High Point before reaching Greensboro. At Greensboro, I-85 shifts
away from downtown I-85 Business Loop (old I-85 through town). I-85
then joins I-40 east of downtown, and the two highways are cosigned as
they pass through Burlington, Graham and Mebane then separate near
Hillsborough where I-40 turns toward Chapel Hill, Cary and Raleigh.
From Durham, I-85 turns northeastward and heads through Oxford then
Henderson toward Virginia.
I-85's terminus at I-95 near Petersburg, VA
Interstate 85 in Virginia
Starting from the
Virginia border, drivers will pass South Hill and
McKenney before heading into a large forest. After the forest, I-85
reaches Petersburg and ends at I-95. The highway is briefly cosigned
with US 460 from a few miles west of Petersburg in Dinwiddie
County to I-95. I-85 follows the same general path as US 1 (Boydton
Plank Road and Jefferson Davis Highway), as the two cross several
times between the
North Carolina border and the northern terminus
Interstate 85 bridge collapse
In the northern half of I-85, the route roughly parallels an ancient
Indian trading path documented since colonial times from Petersburg,
Virginia, to the Catawba Indian territory.
I-85 near Petersburg once formed the southern end of the
Richmond–Petersburg Turnpike, which was completed in 1958. The tolls
were removed in 1992 after I-295 was completed.
Before a 2010 decision to raise the speed limit in the state to 70
miles per hour (110 km/h), Virginia's portion of I-85 was also
Interstate Highway in the state with a posted speed limit
greater than 65 miles per hour (105 km/h). It was raised from 65
to 70 mph (105 to 113 km/h) on July 1, 2006, by the state
In 2004, I-85 was rerouted around Greensboro; and it split with I-40
eight miles (13 km) east of the original departure point. I-40
ran with I-85 along the bypass to the southern/western end and I-40
continued on a new freeway alignment at exit 121 until September 2008,
when it was rerouted back to its old alignment through the city.
Despite its reroute around Greensboro, the overall length for I-85 in
North Carolina remains the same as before.
U.S. Route 80
U.S. Route 80 in Alabama
An extension of I-85 has been proposed west from Montgomery to
interchange with I-20/I-59 just east of the Mississippi–Alabama
state line, where it will connect with I-20/I-59 near Cuba,
Alabama. This extension will roughly follow the route of US 80, going
through or bypassing Selma and Demopolis. The Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) approved the alignment on February 17, 2011,
after the American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials (AASHTO) approved at its Fall 2010 meeting in Biloxi,
Mississippi. Also approved was the proposal to re-designate part of
existing I-85 south and east of Montgomery to be bypassed as part of
the extension of I-85 as I-685.
Alabama has permission to co-sign this
part of I-85 as I-685 until the new alignment is built. This
section is also envisioned by some as part of a proposed I-14.
If this extension were to be completed, I-85 and I-20 would meet each
I-85 is scheduled to have several new auxiliary routes in the future.
I-285 is also planned to follow part of the US 52 freeway from
Lexington to Winston-Salem, both in North Carolina. I-785 is currently
planned by the
North Carolina Department of Transportation to run from
Greensboro to Danville, Virginia. The proposed route would follow the
current US 29 corridor. There are plans for I-85 from Anderson
Spartanburg County, South Carolina, to become four to five
lanes in each direction including HOV lanes.
I-65 in Montgomery
I‑185 near LaGrange
I‑285 near College Park; I-85 intersects this highway twice.
I‑75 in Atlanta; the two highways run concurrently through much of
I‑20 in Atlanta
I‑985 near Buford
I-185 near Greenville
I-385 near Greenville
I-26 near Spartanburg
Spartanburg via I-85 Business Loop; An extension is
currently underway that will extend I-585 to I-85.
I‑485 around Charlotte; I-85 intersects I-485 twice.
I‑77 in Charlotte
I‑40 / US 220 / US 421 in Greensboro; they run
concurrently until Hillsborough, North Carolina.
I‑73 in Greensboro
I-95 / US 460 in Petersburg
Auxiliary routes of Interstate 85
I-85 Business Loop in Lexington, High Point and Greensboro, North
I-85 Business Loop in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
U.S. Roads portal
Death Valley (North Carolina)
^ a b Adderly, Kevin (February 21, 2017). "Table 1: Main Routes of the
Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense
Highways as of December 31, 2016". Route Log and Finder List. Federal
Highway Administration. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
^ "Interstate 85". Interstate-Guide.com. Retrieved May 27,
2007. [self-published source]
^ Kozel, Scott. "Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (I-95/I-85) and I-285".
Roads of the Future. Retrieved May 27, 2007. [self-published
^ Volkert and Associates. "I-85 Extension Corridor Study & EUIS".
Archived from the original on December 19, 2008.
^ Dinnen, Jerry (January 17, 2005). "Shelby shares views with Hale,
Greene counties". The Demopolis Times. [permanent dead link]
^ FHWA letter downloaded from
April 14, 2011[dead link]
Route map: Google
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Primary Interstate Highways