The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to open the new Salem Parkway/U.S. 421 (formerly Business 40) this weekend, nearly six months ahead of schedule, if weather cooperates.
Construction crews are scheduled to install the pavement markings on the roadway this weekend if conditions are dry, and then reopen the road Sunday. Even if weather does interfere, NCDOT officials say the “opening is imminent.”
Though the road will open to traffic soon, full construction of the project will not be complete for several more months.
“This is great news for Winston-Salem businesses, families, and commuters and I appreciate the tireless work of our Department of Transportation officials to complete construction as quickly as possible and ahead of schedule,” said Governor Roy Cooper.
“There is still work to do before the entire project is completed,” said NCDOT Resident Engineer Larry Shaver. “Some of that work will require nighttime lane closures when overnight traffic volumes are minimal. We are excited that we can open Salem Parkway earlier than expected.”
Shaver credited the contractors with their hard work and long hours to speed up the project. As of late January, Flatiron Constructors-Blythe Development had hired 41 contractors and subcontractors, providing employment for close to 600 workers. About 200 of them have been hired during the construction period.
“This has been an unprecedented feat,” said NCDOT Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey. “Never in the history of our state has a section of freeway been closed in both directions at the same time for reconstruction.”
Ivey noted that in the early days of project discussion, the public overwhelmingly favored a 2-year, full closure project versus a 6-year, partial closure of Business 40 during construction.
“We are thrilled to have the road open in 14 months, almost six months earlier than originally planned,” he said. “We thank everyone who provided input to make this a hallmark project for our state and a beautiful new entrance into Winston-Salem.”
Once the remaining items of the project are completed this summer, Salem Parkway/U.S. 421 will be a safe, modern freeway with aesthetic enhancements consistent with the City of Arts and Innovation.
To celebrate the milestone, a community celebration will take place on Saturday, February 1st at the BB&T Ballpark. The party is a joint effort of the Winston-Salem Dash, City of Winston-Salem, and Creative Corridors Coalition.