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Drivers prepare for weekend of detours ahead of Business 40 shutdown in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Drivers in Winston-Salem are gearing up for a weekend of detours on the roads, but it’s just a taste of what’s ahead.

The first Business 40 shutdown starts Friday night and the traffic shift could cause a big headache for commuters.

The highway will shut down in both directions from Cloverdale Avenue to Peters Creek Parkway from Friday at 9 p.m. to Sunday at 11 a.m.

“I know it’s going to be a pain for me to get to work and I’m just around the corner,” said Annie Kinsey, who works at the Old Winston Social Club on Burke Street.

Crews will demolish the Fourth Street bridge this weekend and drivers will need to find a way around the work.

“I normally get off on Cloverdale and come Cloverdale to First, right up the hill to Burke,” said Michael Wallace, who works near Business 40. “But everybody else is going to be doing that now.”

People who live and work in the area are expecting lots of slamming brakes and blaring horns this weekend.

“Some people don’t pay attention. They won’t realize it’s closed until they get there and they can’t get through,” Wallace said.

“Definitely going to be a very crazy weekend,” Kinsey added. “Traffic is going to be backed up everywhere. I know people are probably going to be pretty frustrated, because nobody likes sitting in traffic. I know I don’t.”

If you need to drive east on Business 40, the North Carolina Department of Transportation recommends exit the highway at Peters Creek Parkway just past the BB&T Ballpark. Take a left on First Street, then head straight to rejoin Business 40 past Cloverdale Avenue.

If you’re driving west on Business 40, the NCDOT suggests you take Wallace’s recommended route. Exist the highway at Cloverdale Avenue, take a right on First Street, take a right on Peters Creek Parkway, then turn left to rejoin Business 40.

These detours mean side streets, like Burke Street off of First Street, will likely see more traffic than these roads are meant to handle.

“I’m sincerely hoping that it doesn’t negatively impact the business or at least people coming to this side of town, because it will be harder,” Kinsey said.

This weekend’s construction is part of the bigger plan to upgrade Business 40 over several years. Starting this fall, the highway will shut down for 20 straight months.

“Doing it this way, I think, is a good thing,” Wallace said. “Because it’s going to be a Friday night until a Sunday morning. But when it gets to work days, business, Monday through Friday, it’s going to be a problem.”

Many people, like Wallace and Kinsey, say these growing pains will ultimately be worth it for Winston-Salem in the long run.

“You can’t stay the same. You either got to go forward or go back so I think we get to go forward,” Wallace said.

The Fourth Street bridge will shut down on Friday at 7 a.m. The NCDOT expects the bridge to be re-built and back open in January 2019.