Drivers prepare for 17-month Business 40 closure

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Work on Business 40 is officially underway for the next year and a half. Starting on Monday, routes and detours will really be put to the test.

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said things went pretty well over the weekend, the only place that had a few hiccups was Peters Creek Parkway by I-40.

Each day, around 80,000 people use Business 40, and roughly 100,000 drivers use I-40, so starting Monday, traffic could nearly double on the interstate.

“I guess they were going to do it sooner or later, so might as well do it now,” Dewey Edwards said.

Bridges over Business 40 are getting a lot of foot traffic. Many people stopped to take a picture, or just get a glimpse of the stretch of road being stripped apart amidst construction.

While the road underneath is without any drivers, some people are wondering what the work will mean for their commute for the next year and a half. It will likely impact people who don't even need to drive along this section.

"I don’t think it will impact me a lot, except the amount of traffic I think will impact me a lot,” Stan Huck said.

Knowing your new route before you hit the road is key. Tori Triplet has tried a few alternative ways to get around.

“I have, and we’ve seen a lot more traffic on the road that we live on, so there are a lot of people doing that,” she said.

Peak times, between 7:00 and 8:30 in the morning, and again from around 4:30 until 6:00 are expected to be problematic.

Emergency Management will open up the emergency operations center at 7:00 Monday morning. DOT, EMS, and the Wake Forest Medical Center will all be on hand in case there are any issues on the road.

Some people are changing their work schedule to avoid the rush.

“I’ll probably leave a little bit earlier, but I’ll probably leave around the same time after work. Just going to have to take my time getting home,” Edwards said.

It's a change thousands of drivers will have to adjust to for the next year and a half.

“Fortunately time flies, so it probably won’t actually seem that long and then everything will be so much nicer, especially the entrance getting into Winston-Salem,” Huck said.

DOT is asking truck drivers who do not need to stop in Winston-Salem not to drive through the city to help ease some traffic. They are also advising drivers to leave an extra twenty to thirty minutes early Monday morning. They are also encouraging people to use public transportation. A DOT spokesperson said they are hoping traffic will be light this week with people out of work for the holiday.