RALEIGH — A worldwide symbol of hope is getting a lot of attention at one of the busiest interchanges in the state.
A pink ribbon of flowers is now in full bloom at the intersection of I-95 and I-40 in Benson, thanks to NCDOT employees with the Roadside Environmental Unit of the Division 4 office in Wilson. 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.
“We are flattered by the choice of our logo to represent breast cancer awareness,” said Pam Kohl, executive director for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure North Carolina Triangle to the Coast Affiliate. “We work with every facet of the disease, which includes keeping the fight against breast cancer at the front of peoples’ minds. Through these beautiful flowers and their great location, we hope that both men and women will be encouraged to ask their doctor questions and know their risk.”
One passerby took the time to praise the display of flowers on Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti’s Facebook page:
“I passed the cancer ribbon today on I-40 and I-95. I am a breast cancer survivor and was on my way to speak to a group in Goldsboro, N.C., this morning. The sight stunned me, encouraged me, and affirmed to me (again) the responsibility and privilege I have to share my story with others. Thanks so much, DOT! This was a brilliant, beautiful gift to me.” – Elaine, Fayetteville, N.C.
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.
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.
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. The program is funded through the sales of personalize license plates. To learn more about NCDOT’s Wildflower Program, visit the Roadside Environmental Unit’s website.
Editor’s note: Photos of the pink ribbon flower bed and other unique NCDOT beds across the state are available on our Flickr page.
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