Currently there are two completed sections of the A-85. Constructed in 1970, the first section runs from Saint-Antonin (km 87) to a junction with the A-20 at Notre-Dame-du-Portage (km 100). Originally signed as Route 185 when built, it was designed as A-85 in 2005 following extensive rehabilitation. The second, newer section extends from the New Brunswick border (km 0) to Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! (km 48). Construction began in 2002 in the vicinity of Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac and continues to the present day.
The A-85 begins at the Quebec-New Brunswick border as the continuation of New Brunswick Route 2 and the Trans-Canada Highway. In 2010, the Quebec government announced that the A-85 would be named for Claude Béchard, a longtime Member of the National Assembly from Bas-Saint-Laurent.
From the New Brunswick border, the A-85 briefly parallels the main runway of the Edmundston Airport, which straddles the interprovincial border. The A-85 travels in a northwesterly direction, following the course of the Madawaska River. The autoroute passes Dégelis to the west with exits at km 12, km 14, and km 15. Briefly skirting the south shore of Lake Témiscouata, the A-85 passes through Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac, with exits at km 29, km 37, and km 40 (which provides access to Parc nationale Lac-Témiscouata). At Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! (km 48), the controlled-access highway ends and the route resumes its designation as Route 185.