Light display along Business 40 has people talking

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Traffic passes by the hillside Christmas lights at the Main Street interchange of I-40 Business in Kernersville, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (Bruce Chapman/Journal)

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KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — For the past month, blinking Christmas lights have greeted drivers on Business 40 at the South Main Street exit.

In early November, the town of Kernersville placed lights on 39 trees that it planted along the entrance and exit ramps to and from South Main Street, Town Manager Curtis Swisher said Thursday.

This is first year that town has had a light display at the interchange, he said.

The trees are on state-owned property, but the town helps maintains it, Swisher said. The town received from permission from the N.C. Department of Transportation to display the lights each day from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The lights will be blinking until early January, Swisher said.

The town also has holiday lights in and near its downtown.

The town recently finished a project to revamp the interchanges, planting trees and removing some old bushes and trees, he said. The lights are on the newly planted trees.

So far, many town residents like the display, Swisher said.

“Everyone who has talked to me about them really loves them,” Swisher said. “The lights provide a good lead into the town.”

The town spent $2,440 to install the lights, Swisher said. The contractor, Roger’s Products of Kernersville, donated the lights.

“I think it is very attractive display,” said Roger Briles, the owner of Roger’s Products.

John Rhyne, a DOT district engineer in Winston-Salem, informed Swisher in a September letter that state transportation officials had no objections to the town installing the lights as long as the lights didn’t damage the area or interfere with traffic.

The lights are a topic of interest at businesses along South Main Street.

“I like them, and I noticed them when they turned them on,” said Tanisha Smith, an employee at the Four Brothers Food Store and BP gas station.

Bubba Smith of Kernersville, who stopped at the station for gas, said he and his wife also enjoy looking at the lights.

“I just had to buy some those lights for my wife, too,” Smith said.

Alfred “A.J.: Adams, manager of the Wendy’s restaurant, said he hasn’t paid any attention to the blinking lights. But for some drivers, the blinking might be a bit distracting, he said.

Krista DeAngelo, manager at the Dollar General store, disagreed.

“I like them, and the lights are not distracting,” she said. “It puts you in the Christmas spirit.”

Sgt. Newton Stell, a supervisor with the N.C. Highway Patrol in Winston-Salem, said his office hasn’t received any complaints about the lights.

“I have seen them, and I like them,” Stell said. “But I guess anything could distract people.”

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