HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: I-485 opens 40 years after planning began

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Forty years after the planning began and 27 years after the first groundbreaking, the full loop of Interstate 485 in Charlotte will finally be finished Friday.

STORY: After numerous delays, last leg of I-485 loop to open Friday

I-485 travels 67.6 miles in a loop around the city of Charlotte with a 70 mph speed limit.

The planning for the beltway began in 1975 and the first groundbreaking was in 1988.

The first 1.3 mile section was built between US 521 and Highway 51 in south Charlotte and opened in 1990. 

Closing the final section is a long time in the making and reporter Mark Becker said it is symbolic for the city of Charlotte, because the city finally has its loop completed.

Take a look back at what was happening in 1975 and 1988 when I-485 was first planned and constructed.

In 1975:

  • Gas prices were 44 cents per gallon
  • Population of Charlotte was 796,400
  • Average cost of new house was $39,300
  • Average income per year was $14,100
  • Average price for new car was $4,250
  • Average monthly rent was $200
  • "Jaws" was the most popular movie
  • The laser printer was invented
  • Ford F-150 truck was introduced
  • Gerald Ford was President of the United States
  • Pittsburgh Steelers were Super Bowl Champions
  • Golden State Warriors were NBA Champions
  • Cincinnati Reds were World Series Champions
  • Tiger Woods, Angelina Jolie and Kate Winslet were born in 1975
  • Famous quote: "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." - McDonalds


  • Gas prices were 91 cents per gallon
  • Population of Charlotte was between 932,000 and 1,024,000.
  • Average cost of new house was $91,600
  • Average income per year was $24,450
  • Average price for new car was $10,400
  • Movie ticket prices were $3.50
  • US postage stamp was 24 cents
  • Dozen eggs was 65 cents
  • Gallon of 2 percent milk was $1.89
  • "Rain Man" was popular movie
  • George H. W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis in 1988 U.S. Presidential election
  • Washington Redskins were Super Bowl Champions
  • Los Angeles Lakers were NBA Champions
  • Los Angeles Dodgers were World Series Champions
  • Famous quote: "Read my lips: no new taxes."
    - Presidential Candidate George Bush
  • Doppler radar was invented by Christian Andreas Doppler.

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