New road will improve motorist, pedestrian safety and help traffic flow more efficiently
RALEIGH – This month, work will begin on the Salem Creek Connector, a major road construction project that will improve motorist and pedestrian safety while helping traffic flow more efficiently in downtown Winston-Salem.
The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a $68.9 million contract to the design-build team of Blythe Construction Inc. of Charlotte and Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. of Charlotte to build the new road from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to Rams Drive. The project includes constructing 10 bridges mainly over parts of Salem Creek and U.S. 52.
These improvements will:
• Reduce traffic congestion and make it easier for motorists to access U.S. 52 from Winston-Salem State University, Salem Academy, Salem College and the Piedmont Triad Research Park;
• Improve pedestrian safety at WSSU by installing sidewalks along the roadway;
• Enhance motorist safety on U.S. 52; and
• Benefit the local economy by providing a direct route to a revitalized downtown.
The Salem Creek Connector will also serve as an important detour route to keep traffic flowing while the Business 40 Improvement Project is under way. NCDOT will completely close 1.1 miles of U.S. 421/Business 40 from east of Church Street to east of Fourth Street for up to two years starting in 2018 to completely upgrade the highway, ramps and bridges.
Construction on the Salem Creek Connector is expected to be complete by Nov. 20, 2015.
NCDOT is working closely on this project and others in the downtown area with a nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem called the Creative Corridors Coalition. The mission of Creative Corridors is to make these roadway improvements more aesthetically attractive and reflect the city’s devotion to arts, culture and innovation.
In determining a basic layout for the Salem Creek Connector, NCDOT met numerous times with Creative Corridors to discuss the group’s ideas on how and where to incorporate features such as unique lighting, pavement design and landscaping. Through these meetings, NCDOT and Creative Corridors:
• Eliminated suggestions that did not meet federal construction guidelines;
• Agreed on design improvements such as decorative bridge railings that are considered a standard NCDOT construction option and do not cost more to include as part of a project; and
• Identified enhancements that do not qualify as standard NCDOT construction options and would require an outside entity (Creative Corridors, the City of Winston-Salem, etc.) to pay for the additional cost.
Creative Corridors is partnering with the Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, City of Winston-Salem and other local organizations to provide the additional funding needed for the upgrades and enhancements planned for the Salem Creek Connector. These enhancements include patterned crosswalks, ornamental lighting, 5-foot-wide sidewalks and 10-foot-wide sidepaths, and landscaping – all of which will help achieve the goal of showcasing Winston-Salem as the City of Arts and Innovation.
For more information on the project, visit the project webpage or follow NCDOT’s Triad Twitter feed.
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