WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- When Business 40 closes for the Business 40 Project, students and parents will be up to the test.
“That’s going to be a challenge,” said Wayne Loflin, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools chief operations officer. “We have about 12 schools in that area.”
Plans for the closure were first implemented this summer, when buses were rerouted off the 1.2-mile stretch of the highway affected by the closure. Those buses will be affected by increased traffic on their new routes.
“We anticipate some late buses,” Loflin said.
In addition to the 12 schools in the area of the closure, there are 13 traditional high schools where students travel from to get to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Career Center. The Career Center is located about an exit away from the east end of the closure, near Business 40 and U.S. 52.
“They spend part of their day here and they’re coming from all over this county,” Career Center Principal Dr. Chris Nichols said.
Schools officials say students traveling from the east of the closure shouldn’t experience too many issues.
“East Forsyth, Glenn, Carver, those kids have non-highway routes they can use pretty easily,” Nichols said.
However, students traveling from the west will have some significant adjustments to make.
“It’s our west kids that we’re most concerned with and we’ll be working with them directly,” Nichols added.
The school system has already posted alternate routes for students and parents online.
As students pulled out of the Career Center Thursday afternoon, many had no idea Business 40 was closing in less than three weeks.
“They’re not quite aware of what’s getting ready to happen,” Nichols said. “These are teenagers, they’re not news watchers all the time.”
School administrators will also be inside the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Multi-Agency Coordination Center, which will be open the first few days of the closure and house officials from about 60 agencies.
“To avoid traffic delays, and problems, and how we can work directly with them and help us understand where they’re having issues and be able to hopefully reroute our buses around it if there’s a potential accident or something else that may occur,” Loflin said.
While parents and students are urged to be patient, they’re also encouraged to practice.
“Come over here at night, come on the weekend, practice another route so you know what to do when you’re in the middle of traffic,” Nichols said.
There is no school on Monday, Nov. 12, which is the second day of the closure. Officials are hopeful this will give commuters an extra day to adjust before school traffic is added to the mix.
For more information on the school system’s preparation for the project, click here.
For more information on the project, click here.