WINSTON-SALEM — A 20-mile portion of the historic Business 40 highway between I-40 east of Kernersville and I-40 west of Winston-Salem has a new name thanks to members of the public. Business 40 will now be known as U.S. 421/Salem Parkway.
Governor Pat McCrory, Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, Transportation Board Member Jake Alexander, Forsyth County Commissioner Dave Plyler, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines, State Senator Paul Lowe, State Representative Evelyn Terry, Transportation Division Nine Engineer Pat Ivey and a host of area officials and members of the public celebrated the unveiling of the name during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Green Street Bridge at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem.
“This project is about so much more than a new name,” said Governor McCrory. “It will result in safer, more efficient travel that is aesthetically pleasing and will help support the future of Winston-Salem through improved transportation, economic development, business development and tourism.”
“It also helps fulfill my 25-year vision that is focused on strengthening transportation connections to promote ongoing success of our state - great example of how transportation can foster overall well being of our communities, and also ties in with the "Art that Moves You" initiative.”
“The Economic Impacts of Project are far reaching including but not limited to:”
- The employment of up approximately 500 people during construction.
- Local use of restaurants, hotels and commercial stores.
- Utilization of local materials and resources.
“I am honored to help turn ground on such an impactful project that is certain to have far reaching impacts for the region.”
"The idea of re-naming Business 40 was actually brought up by citizens when the public involvement process began back in 2006 when the Federally-sponsored Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer (ACTT) conference was held in Winston Salem," said Division Nine Engineer Pat Ivey.
The actual naming process began in 2015 when the Winston Salem City Council and the Kernersville Board of Aldermen appointed local representatives that would make up the Business 40 Naming Committee. The charge for the committee was to evaluate the roughly 1800 suggested names and decide on four finalists that would be voted on by the public. (NCDOT staff served as a resource for the committee, but did NOT vote on the names.)
“NCDOT felt the new name of this highway would be very important to the communities it serves and thus, should be determined by those communities,” said NCDOT Communications Officer Miracle King.
In November 2015, a name nomination period began and by January 2016, 1,889 nominations were email and mailed into the project team.
In March 2016, a selection committee chose four final names from the long list:
- Golden Leaf Parkway
- Innovation Parkway
- Piedmont Corridor
- Salem Parkway
Public voting opened on March 15, and closed at midnight on June 15. During that time 9,882 votes were cast via email, online and phone.
The DOT project team would like to thank each individual who voted as well as the selection committee representatives for their enthusiastic participation and commitment to this process.
We'd also like to extend a special thank you to the members of the community who initially submitted the name "Salem Parkway" for nomination.
New highway signs will be erected upon completion of the project. The main impact of the project, the full closure of Business 40, is expected to start in late 2018/early 2019. It is anticipated that Business 40 will not be closed for more than two years.
What's in a name?
The dividing line between the town of Winston and Salem was 1st street. So this highway Business 40 cuts right through the property that was the town of Salem.
“To all of the 'Winstonites' the significance of the name Salem Parkway is clear, but for those traveling through the area they may not know that the very name Salem means "Peace" according to the Old Salem archives,” said Division Nine Board Member Jake Alexander. “This name is reflective of the protestant Moravians who once governed all aspects of life for people here.”