Interstate 277 and 285 in North Carolina

North Carolina Interstate 277

Get started Charlotte
End Charlotte
Length 4 mi
Length 7 km
1A Wilkinson Blvd1B-C → Columbia / Charleston

1D Carson Blvd

1st College Street

2A Third Street

2B Independence Blvd

3B Davidson Street

3C Church Street

5 → Columbia / Charleston

Interstate 277 or I -277 is a short Interstate Highway in the US state of North Carolina. The highway forms a ring around the center of the city of Charlotte. Interstate 277 is 7 kilometers long.

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Travel directions

The northern end of I-277.

I-277 runs around the south, east, and north sides of Downtown Charlotte. The southern section is known as the Belk Freeway, the northern section as the Brookshire Freeway. I-277 begins and ends at Interstate 77 and has an interchange with US 74 on the east side of Downtown Charlotte. I-277 has predominantly 2×3 lanes and has a high exit density. The motorway has a mix of a sunken location and a location above ground level. From I-277 one has a view of the Charlotte skyline.

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When I-85 was built through Charlotte, it was decided to allow this freeway to pass some distance from Downtown Charlotte. I-77 was planned to run directly past downtown. The so-called ‘Northwest Freeway’ was also planned, from US 74 on the east side of Downtown to I-85 and beyond. The oldest part of I-277 originated from this Northwest Freeway, a 1.7-kilometer stretch between 10th Street and Graham Street that opened in or before 1970. This was the first stretch of freeway at Downtown Charlotte. Circa 1971 this was extended a very short distance to US 74 on the east side of Downtown Charlotte.

Circa 1973-1975, I-77 opened along the west side of Downtown Charlotte. A little earlier, in 1971, the Northwest Freeway opened into the northwestern neighborhoods of Charlotte, with the interchange with I-77 being constructed in subsequent years. This completed the northern half of the beltway around Downtown Charlotte. In 1975 this section was renamed the Brookshire Freeway, after Stan Brookshire (1905-1990) who was mayor of Charlotte between 1961 and 1969.

The southern half of the ring road around Downtown Charlotte was built a little later. The southern section was constructed as the Belk Freeway, named after John M. Belk (1920-2007), mayor of Charlotte between 1969 and 1977. The southern section opened in two phases in 1981 and 1988. In 1981 the eastern 1.2 miles between US 74 and Kenilworth Avenue. In 1987, the 2.7-kilometer section opened further to I-77. This completed the beltway around Downtown Charlotte after 17 years.

The beltway was originally known by its names, not until 1981 was the number Interstate 277 introduced, initially only for the Belk Freeway along the south side of Downtown Charlotte. In 1987, the track was also introduced on the Brookshire Freeway on the north side of Downtown Charlotte. I-277 is one of the few Downtown Loops in the United States.

Opening history

I-277 Brookshire Freeway.

from nasty length date
Exit 3A 10th Street Exit 4 Graham Street 2 km 00-00-1970
Exit 2B Exit 3A 10th Street 0.3 km 00-00-1971
Exit 4 Graham Street Exit 5B 1 km 00-00-1971
Exit 1st Kenilworth Avenue Exit 2B 1 km 00-00-1981
Exit 1A Exit 1st Kenilworth Avenue 3 km 00-00-1987

Traffic intensities

The highway has between 61,000 and 116,000 vehicles per day. The vast majority processes approximately 90,000 vehicles per day. The busiest point is on the north side just before I-77. The quietest point is a short section of road on the south side of Downtown. At the connection with US 74, 88,000 to 90,000 vehicles drive per day.

North Carolina Interstate 285

Get started Lexington
End Winston-Salem
Length 23 mi
Length 37 km
→ Charlotte84 Linwood

85 Green Needles Road

86 Downtown Lexington

87 → Lexington

89 } → Lexington

92 Welcome

97 Midway

100 Hickory Tree Road

103 South Main Street

105 Clemmonsville Road

107 → Asheville / Greensboro

Interstate 285 or I -285 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of North Carolina. The interstate connects Interstate 85 at Lexington with Interstate 40 at Winston-Salem. Interstate 285 is 37 kilometers long.

Travel directions

Southwest of Lexington, I-285 splits off I-85 from Charlotte and then heads north in 2×2 lanes, along the west side of the regional city of Lexington. The landscape is slightly hilly with some afforestation and some scattered buildings. The last part up to Winston-Salem is a bit more built-up, after which I-285 at the intersection with I-40 becomes US 52, which continues as a highway to Downtown Winston-Salem.


The southernmost portion of I-285 was previously part of an expressway from Salisbury to Greensboro, the southernmost 4 miles between I-85 and US 29 in Lexington opened in the early 1950s. For a time this was the waymarked route of “Temp I-85” before I-85 opened on a new route south of Lexington in 1984.

The rest of US 52 / NC-8 was built later. In 1980 the section opened from Winston-Salem southward to Midway. In 1991 to 1993, the highway was extended south to Welcome, and the Lexington bypass was opened in 1995, completing the highway. US 52 was not constructed to Interstate Highway design requirements, but was not particularly substandard.

In September 2005, the number I-285 was approved by the AASHTO, and in February 2006, the first signposts marked “Future I-285” were installed by the Department of Transportation of North Carolina. These signposts remained until the road was upgraded to Interstate Highway design requirements. The adjustments cost approximately $8.7 million and were completed between June 2012 and September 2017. In 2018, the FHWA approved the status of I-285 and signage with that number appeared as of November 2018.

Traffic intensities

Every day, 23,000 vehicles from I-85 enter I-285, rising to a maximum of 31,000 vehicles just before Lexington, then dropping to 19,000 vehicles on the Lexington bypass. North of Lexington, intensities rise from 23,000 to 28,000 vehicles at Midway. The busiest part is in front of the I-40 interchange, where 46,000 vehicles drive daily.

North Carolina Interstate 285