WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Business 40 improvement project, which was originally slated to shut down portions of the highway through the heart of Winston-Salem for two years, could now take as little as 14 months.
According to NCDOT officials, new incentives could shorten the life of the project, which will begin fully closing down part of the highway in November. The incentives would allow the contractor to bring in subcontractors ready to go immediately, instead of waiting to see who placed the lowest bids.
“That’s good work,” Winston-Salem resident Greg McCall said. “That’s good they found that, we really appreciate that.”
Smaller, short-term closures have already been in place over the last year, which have already impacted drivers and business owners alike.
“The traffic has slowed down a little, but it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be,” said Courtney Myers, owner of Mellie and Emilia of Winston-Salem, which is located near Business 40 on Peters Creek Parkway. “Not yet at least.”
When told that the project could be shortened by 10 months, Myers said she’s “super excited that they’ve cut that down.”
The news of the shortened timeline was welcomed by people living near the construction as well.
“I got two kids, a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, and they would stay up at night listening to the construction, sirens going on all day, lights just like lighting up like the ballpark right there on Peters Creek,” said Tyree Thomas, who lives near the Peters Creek and Business 40 interchange.
The lane closures on Business 40 for the Peter’s Creek Parkway bridge construction was reduced from 45 days to 16. The second phase of that project is hopefully being reduced from 60 to 20 days, according to the NCDOT.
“I think we can do what we need to do engineering-wise,” said Nicholas Bragg, who admits he was panicked when he heard the original project’s timetable.
The incentives will also speed up the opening of bridges included in the project. Bridges which will be closed are on Church, Liberty, Cherry, Main, Green, Fourth and Marshall streets. Additional closures will be the bridges on Brookstown Avenue, the Strollway and the Green Street pedestrian bridge, the NCDOT said.
“I would say it’s definitely for the better,” Myers said.
NCDOT officials are urging drivers who normally use Business 40 to explore the area to find two new alternative routes to get to their destination. Detour signs will be posted but having a back-up plan would be a good idea, they said.
Transportation officials say drivers should plan for as much as a 30-minute addition to their commutes.
Drivers who normally use Business 40 to access downtown Winston-Salem will find that they need to use other routes to get to Broad, Cherry, Marshall, Liberty and Main streets, the NCDOT said.
Eastbound traffic on Business 40 will have the option to take Knollwood Street, Stratford Road, Cloverdale Avenue or Peter’s Creek Parkway to access downtown, they added.
Westbound traffic will be able to choose from Old Greensboro Road, Fifth Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard or U.S. 52. No traffic will be able to go past the U.S. 52 exit.
The incentives mean the road could reopen by January 2020.