Ministers voice concerns about Business 40 project

Ministers voice concerns about Business 40 project
November 19
00:00 2015

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

Members of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) recently sat down with ministers of churches that have been directly affected by the Business 40 Improvement Project.

With construction in the early stages, a number of ministers in the area have already seen the project affect their congregations in the worse way.

“The impact, as of now, has been drastic,” said the Rev. William Brown, pastor of Rising Ebenezer Baptist Church. “I have had a number of frustrated members call with complaints about the road construction in the area.”

Because of the road construction near the church, located on Free Street, members and visitors have a hard time getting to the church. Brown said he came to the meeting to find out more information to pass on to his congregation.

“With all of the traffic and commotion, it can be disturbing, especially for older members. Change comes hard for our seniors.”

NCDOT Engineer Pat Ivey recognizes the issues construction has caused. He assured the ministers the finished project will be well worth it.

“There have been some significant impacts to the communities near this project,” he continued. “We do recognize that, and we appreciate the patience of the entire community.

“This is a huge project. That does not negate the problems that are being created, but the improvements have to be done,” Ivey said.

In 2007, the NCDOT unveiled a plan to completely upgrade and streamline a one-mile section of Business 40 from west of Fourth Street to east of Church Street.

The project is expected to modernize the entrance and exit ramps and replace most of the bridges on and over Business 40 with new bridges that meet current traffic demands and modern design specifications.

During the sit-down, members of the Creative Corridors Coalition (CCC) displayed designs of what the improvements will look like. The purpose of the coalition is to help transform the Business 40 Project into a visually stunning showcase of life in Winston-Salem.

The CCC has worked closely with city and county officials, as well as the NCDOT to make sure the improvements reflect the city’s devotion to arts, culture and innovation. 

According Board Of Directors Chairman Lee French, the finished project will include the replacement of street lights, landscaping, railings and specifically a pedestrian bridge that would connect the central neighborhoods of the city to downtown.

After seeing the very detailed designs, Brown said he was very impressed and is hopeful that what is good for the community is good for his church as well.

“Because we put the community first, no matter what we have to endure, we will,” he continued. “Hopefully it will improve.”

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