A two-lane rural highway, it traverses 13.6 miles (21.9 km), starting at the South Carolina state line, going through the town of Morven where it intersects US 52, and ending at US 74 just north of Pee Dee community.
North Carolina Highway 85 (NC 85) was established in 1937 as a renumbering of NC 802. Around 1947, NC 85 was realigned onto new road, bypassing the Cairo community. In 1961, NC 85 was renumbered to NC 145 because of the Interstate 85 designation in the state.
North Carolina Highway 802 (NC 802) was established as a new primary routing in either 1929 or 1930 as an auxiliary route of NC 80 (today's US 52) in Morven. It traveled from SC 95 (today's SC 145) at the state line, going northeast through Cairo and Pee Dee, to US 74/NC 20. In 1937, both North and South Carolina agreed to renumber NC 802 and SC 95 to 85.