I-85 Corridor

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I-85 running through Durham, North Carolina.

The I-85 Corridor is a multi-state region that follows Interstate 85 across the Southeastern United States. It stretches from Montgomery, Alabama to Petersburg, Virginia. Principal metropolitan areas include Metro Atlanta; Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina (also known as The Upstate); Charlotte Metrolina; the Piedmont Triad (which includes Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point); and the Research Triangle (which includes Raleigh and Durham).

A number of studies have identified parts of the region as a developing megalopolis[1] or "megapolitan area".[2] (see also Piedmont Atlantic MegaRegion) In particular, the metro areas of the Triangle, Triad, Charlotte (together as the Piedmont Crescent), Greenville-Spartanburg and Atlanta are growing toward each other. The area also appears to be growing toward the Northeast Megalopolis by way of two corridors through Virginia. It is also growing toward a developing megalopolis centered on Atlanta, stretching from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Birmingham, Alabama.


Specific major cities include:


Various other interstates have junctions with Interstate 85: I-95, I-40, I-73, I-74, I-77, I-26, I-75, I-20 and I-65. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is the seventh busiest. Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Piedmont Triad International Airport, Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Richmond International Airport also serve the region. It is also important to note that there are currently feasibility studies in the works to extend Interstate 85 from Montgomery to I-20/59 at Meridian, Mississippi. This would carry the interstate through Alabama's deeply impoverished "Black Belt" and is viewed as an opportunity to bring commerce to the region.[by whom?]


The corridor is located in the Piedmont region between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The Atlantic Ocean lies between two and four hours' drive to the southeast of the region.


The region boasts a diverse economy - traditions of manufacturing and transportation have grown to include technology, biotech and finance. Atlanta is a regional cultural and business mecca, Charlotte has emerged as the second largest banking center in the U.S. and is home to University Research Park (7th largest research park in the country), The Research Triangle is home to Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the world, The Upstate has one of the highest per capita rates of foreign investment in the country, and the Piedmont Triad remains an important national manufacturing hub. The Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is found just off Future I-285 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Gateway University Research Park is off of the Business 85 corridor in Greensboro, North Carolina. The North Carolina Research Campus, a biotech research facility, opened in 2008 on the site of the former Cannon Mills textile plant in Kannapolis, North Carolina.


The area is home to a number of colleges and universities, including:


  1. ^ Georgia Institute of Technology :: CQGRD : MegaRegions
  2. ^ http://www.mi.vt.edu/uploads/megacensusreport.pdf "Beyond Megalopolis" by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech

External links[edit]