WINSTON-SALEM – The project that transformed Business 40 into a modern, state-of-the-art freeway through downtown Winston-Salem has been named the nation’s top transportation project.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials announced the Salem Parkway project as the Grand Prize winner of the 2021 America’s Transportation Awards during its annual meeting on Thursday. The project rose to the top in a competition that featured 80 nominees from 35 state transportation departments at the regional level and 12 national finalists.
“This competition evaluated impacts to quality of life and community development, the use of technology and innovation and operational excellence,” said North Carolina Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette. “Salem Parkway checks all those boxes and then some. We are extremely proud of our project team and partners and the way they represented North Carolina as a true leader in transportation.”
The N.C. Department of Transportation began an unprecedented public involvement and outreach campaign in 2006, at the onset of the project to reconstruct 1.2 miles of the freeway formerly known as Business 40. This effort ensured the dense residential and commercial development and historical properties adjacent to the freeway were given the utmost attention during the environmental process and throughout the planning, design and construction phases of the project.
In 2016, the community asked NCDOT to move forward with a two-year, full closure of a 1.2-mile stretch of Business 40 to reconstruct the freeway, rather than work on the project for six years under partial lane closures. The joint venture contracting team of Flatiron Constructors, Blythe Development and HDR Inc. closed the stretch in November 2018 and reopened it as Salem Parkway in February 2020, nearly six months ahead of schedule.
The project featured safety upgrades, multimodal improvements and aesthetic enhancements including the addition of a multi-use path, fewer interchanges, fresh pavement, reconstructed shoulders and ramps, 10 bridge replacements, bike lanes and two new, signature pedestrian bridges.
NCDOT, the city and residents committed to increasing the project’s aesthetics during the environmental review process. The city and the Creative Corridors Coalition, a local independent citizen group, contributed $9.7 million toward a double-tied arch pedestrian bridge at Green Street, the Strollway land bridge, multi-use path design and partial construction, a transparent noise wall on the Peter’s Creek Parkway bridge adjacent to the multi-use path, and brick veneer on the retaining walls along the project corridor.
“This project has gained a lot of national attention this year, and it’s not hard to see why,” said NCDOT Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey. “This gateway into the heart of The City of Arts and Innovation is truly one of a kind and the transportation industry has acknowledged this with the highest of recognitions. We can’t imagine a better end result.”
This section of highway first opened in 1958 and was designated the first section of Interstate 40 in North Carolina.