RALEIGH -A colorful display of pink, red and white wildflowers in the shape of a ribbon has emerged from a field next to the I-40/I-95 interchange in Benson just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
The roadside wildflowers are the North Carolina Department of Transportation's unique way of paying tribute to those impacted by the disease.
This is the fourth year NCDOT has planted the ribbon, which is designed and maintained by staff from the local Roadside Environmental Unit. The initial concept came out of a desire to honor a co-worker's late wife, as well as others fighting the disease.
"The more you think about it, the more you realize you do know someone who has been through this battle," said Brian Glover, the local roadside environmental crew manager who leads the ribbon planting effort.
The employees envisioned a roadside beautification project that would have special meaning to the thousands of motorists who pass by it each day, so they created a landscape design patterned after the official logo of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a global organization known for its work in the fight against breast cancer.
The flowers comprising the ribbon pattern are an array of pink, red and white blossoms of cosmos bipinnatus, commonly known as Mexican aster. The flowers are at their peak of color throughout October, traditionally observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The pink ribbon of flowers stretches across an acre at the southwest corner of the I-40 and I-95 interchange. For the best view of the ribbon, drive I-95 North to Exit 81 and follow signs for I-40 West towards Raleigh.
NCDOT's Wildflower Program began in 1985 as an initiative to beautify the state's highways. Wildflower beds are installed and maintained across the state by staff in each of the 14 highway divisions. To learn more about NCDOT's Wildflower Program, visit the Roadside Environmental Unit's website.