Interstate 885

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Interstate 885 and North Carolina Highway 885

I-885 highlighted in red; NC 885 highlighted in purple
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-85
Maintained by NCDOT
Length11.5 mi[1] (18.5 km)
ExistedJune 30, 2022 (June 30, 2022)[2]–present
Interstate 885
South end I-40 in RTP
Major intersections
North end I-85 / US 15 / US 70 in Durham
North Carolina Highway 885
South end
NC 540 Toll in Morrisville
North end I-40 in RTP
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
CountiesWake, Durham
Highway system
I-840 NC 901

Interstate 885 (I-885) and North Carolina Highway 885 (NC 885) is an 11.5-mile (18.5 km) auxiliary Interstate Highway and state highway in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It links NC 540 and I-40 to I-85 in the Durham area. The route consists of two previously preexisting segments of freeway—NC 147 to the south and US 70 to the north—connected by the East End Connector, which opened to traffic on June 30, 2022.[2]

NC 147 was truncated and removed from the southern half of the Durham Freeway and the northern section of the Triangle Expressway, which were redesignated I-885 and NC 885, respectively. The route is cosigned with US 70 from exit 10 to its northern terminus. The route provides a continuous freeway bypass east of downtown Durham and also provides freeway access from I-40 and I-85 to the Research Triangle Park and (via NC 147) to downtown Durham.

Route description

NC 885 begins at the interchange with NC 540. The whole route carries the moniker of the Triangle Expressway, which it inherits from the portion of NC 540 south of the aforementioned interchange. It has a single interchange with Davis Drive and Hopson Road between its termini. NC 885 ends at the interchange with I-40, at which I-885 promptly begins. Running north on the Durham Freeway (former NC 147) through the Research Triangle Park, three closely-spaced interchanges link the route to East Cornwallis Road, T.W. Alexander Drive, and Ellis Road. At the Durham city line, NC 147 begins and diverges toward downtown Durham, while I-885 heads northeast on the East End Connector before joining US 70, curving to the northwest concurrent with the latter route. The freeway turns due north as it comes to US 70 Business (US 70 Bus)/NC 98 at a junction that was reconstructed as a compressed diamond interchange. After continuing north and meeting Cheek Road, the Interstate ends at a semi-directional T interchange with its parent route, I-85.


Tolls along NC 885 are charged by electronic toll collection (ETC) and are enforced by video cameras. Several gantries are located along the route and entrance/exit ramps, where they collect tolls via the NC Quick Pass or other interoperable ETC systems. Drivers who do not participate in the ETC program will receive a bill in the mail and will have 30 days from date on bill before additional fees and civil penalties are applied.[3]


The first section of what eventually became I-885 to be constructed was the portion of US 70 between the East End Connector and I-85, completed by 1957 with US 70 relocated onto it. The East End Connector first appeared in Durham's 1959 thoroughfare plan but was shelved and its funding diverted to other priorities such as NC 147, the Durham Freeway.[4] The portion of NC 147 concurrent with the proposed Interstate opened in the early 1970s, including accommodation for an interchange with the Connector. The project would resurface in the 1990s when the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) studied it again, but it would not receive funding until it appeared in the 2009–2015 Transportation Improvement Plan.[4] In the meantime, as part of a larger widening project on I-85, the early 2000s saw the reconstruction of the US 70 freeway between I-85 and Cheek Road, widening the section to six lanes and bringing it up to modern Interstate Highway standards as well as adding the missing movements at the interchange with I-85.

The I-885 designation did not become public knowledge until the release of signing plans in 2014, though NCDOT had not yet received approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).[5] Later sign plans from NCDOT indicated that I-885 was expected to be signed immediately upon the completion of the East End Connector, pending approval from the FHWA.[5] Construction on the East End Connector began in April of the following year.[6] In addition to the construction of a short segment of new freeway between NC 147 and US 70, the section of US 70 between Cheek Road and the connector was being realigned and widened to six lanes.[7] Work at the interchange between NC 147 and the connector was expected to be completed in June 2018, but work in that area continued past that date, as the completion date got pushed back to mid-2022.

In May 2022, AASHTO approved the establishment of I-885; this was followed with the East End Connector opening to traffic on June 30, 2022, at which point I-885 was signed on the entirety of its designated corridor.[2][8] The portion of former NC 147 from NC 540 to I-40 was redesignated as NC 885.


The NCDOT 2020–2029 Final STIP released in September 2019 indicates a project that will widen 3.9 miles (6.3 km) 3 of I-885 to six lanes from the East End Connector Project south to I-40 at a cost of $1.8 million. Construction is scheduled to start in 2024.[9]

NC 885 extension

In 2012, a proposal to extend NC 147 (now NC 885) from its current southern terminus south to McCrimmon Parkway, in Morrisville, was scheduled for reprioritization.[10][11] As of October 2020, the project is scheduled for right-of-way acquisition in 2024 and will break ground in 2027.[12]

Exit List

WakeMorrisvilleMcCrimmon ParkwayProposed extension (unfunded)[10][11]

NC 540 Toll to I-40 / I-540 / US 1 – Raleigh, Sanford
Southern terminus of NC 885; Triangle Expressway continues as NC 540 south
DurhamResearch Triangle Park0.71.12 / 3Davis Drive / Hopson RoadSigned exit 2 northbound, exit 3 southbound
4T.W. Alexander DrivePermanently closed as of September 6, 2011[13][14]
I-40 to NC 54 – Raleigh, Chapel Hill
Northern end of NC 885 and southern end of I-885; northern terminus of the Triangle Expressway
4.16.66Research Triangle Park / East Cornwallis Road
4.77.67T.W. Alexander Drive
5.89.38Ellis Road
NC 147 north – Durham
Left exit, southern terminus of NC 147
US 70 east – Raleigh
South end of US 70 overlap

US 70 Bus. west / NC 98 – Durham, Wake Forest
10.817.412Cheek RoadFormer exit 286

I-85 south / US 15 south / US 70 west – Greensboro

I-85 north / US 15 north – Henderson, Petersburg
Northern terminus of I-885; north end of US 70 overlap; ramp to southbound I-85 unnumbered; former exit 285
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  •       Closed/former
  •       Concurrency terminus
  •       Route transition
  •       Unopened


  1. ^ a b Google (July 1, 2022). "Interstate 885 and North Carolina Highway 885" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Casey, Monica (June 30, 2022). "Durham leaders say new East End Connector will cut drivers' commute by 10 minutes". WRAL-TV. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  3. ^ "NC Quick Pass FAQs". North Carolina Turnpike Authority. Archived from the original on April 14, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Vaughan, Dawn (July 18, 2018). "I-885, the next highway in Durham: What it looks like and when it will open". The Herald-Sun. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Signing.pdf" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. June 24, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  6. ^ "Groundbreaking for the East End Connector Project". North Carolina Department of Transportation. April 22, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  7. ^ "NCDOT: East End Connector". North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (May 2022). "2022 Spring Meeting Report to the Council on Highways and Streets" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  9. ^ "2020–2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Transportation. September 5, 2019. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Staff. "Project #U-4763". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Staff. "Project #U-4763A". Project Details. North Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved December 13, 2012.
  12. ^ "N.C. 147 Extension". North Carolina Department of Transportation. October 7, 2021. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  13. ^ "Section of N.C. 147 in Durham to Close Sept. 6" (Press release). North Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on December 24, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  14. ^ "Crosstown Traffic—RTP Commuters: The NC 147 Southern Spur Is Closed Today, for Good". The News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. September 6, 2011. Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2011.

External links