Study looks at safety of roads, bridges in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- North Carolina has some of the fastest-growing vehicle traffic in the country, but it puts a big strain on Triad roads, bridges and sidewalks.

For you, that could mean more time in traffic, more money on gas and unsafe roads.

A national transportation group called TRIP looked at road conditions in Winston-Salem and says there's a lot of room for improvement.

"What's critical there is that if you don't make the repairs now, they become far more costly in the future," said Rocky Moretti, TRIP's director of policy.

"It's preventative maintenance, because if we don't take care of it, then it becomes like the Green Street that fell in," said Gayle Anderson, the president of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

According to the NCDOT, about 10 percent, or 200 bridges, are considered "structurally deficient" in the Triad, which TRIP says is far above the national average.

They're not unsafe to drive on.

"They're just in need of repair," Anderson said.

But if left without attention, one day they could be.

"The big takeaway is we need a lot more money, not just to keep what we have in really good condition, but to build what we need where we're already deficient," Anderson said.

City leaders plan to ask the state for more money and TRIP says the state needs to invest it.

"If safety improvements can be made, if guard rails can be added, if rumble strips can be added, if we can add turn lanes at busy intersections, all of these cumulatively make the system a lot safer," Moretti said.

"I think the public would like to think that themselves and their loved ones are driving on roads that are safe as they should be," he added. "Unfortunately that's not always the case."

Anderson says other projects have the potential to worsen Winston-Salem roads, including when Business 40 shuts down for at least two years in 2018. City leaders say it needs to be repaired, but the detours will put added strain on smaller roads that aren't meant to carry a lot of weight.