FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Just about everywhere you look when you cross into Forsyth County, there’s some kind of construction.
One week ago, the eastbound Interstate-40 ramp to Union Cross Road was closed down as part of the Forsyth County Northern Beltway project, and workers have started to remove the pavement.
This is an area that’s seen massive growth and development over the past several years, including new housing and businesses.
It’s an exit where they installed a diverging diamond interchange about a decade ago. Construction in the surrounding area has been nearly constant, so people who travel there frequently have already seen a lot of change, and many have road work fatigue.
“They’re doing it for everyone. It’ll be nice at the end of it,” said Stephanie Lingafelt, a driver who stopped by Sheetz.
The entire eastern section of the Northern Beltway Project, the loop around Winston-Salem with an estimated $1.74 billion price tag, isn’t scheduled to be done until 2026.
“I think it’s horrible because it’s slowing all the traffic down,” said Jonathan William, another driver.
While it’s designed to alleviate traffic from Winston-Salem roads that can’t handle today’s traffic loads, it’s also the reason for the closure of the eastbound exit ramp on Exit 201 to Union Cross Road.
“They are trying to create better traffic flow for us in the future, but right now, it’s frustration,” said a woman who wanted to be identified as Maria.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it should end by Aug. 23.
There are two detours.
The first: taking Exit 196 from west Interstate-74 to get to Union Cross Road that way.
The second: taking Exit 203 or the Highway 66 exit, turning around then coming from eastbound I-40.
Another reason the area gets busy, especially during certain hours of the day, is it’s the easiest way for a lot of people to get to the nearby Glenn High School.
That’s just another reason crews are working to stay on schedule to get everything done before the first bell rings on the new school year.
The western section of the beltway doesn’t have an estimated completion date.