by Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond

Closure of 5th Street ramp streamlines traffic through Winston-Salem

The transformation of the east side of Winston-Salem took an additional step on Monday with the permanent closure of the entrance ramp from East 5th Street to US Highway 52. The NC Department of Transportation has already closed the remaining exit and entrance ramps at 3rd , 4th and 5th streets, which together link downtown to the east side.

Historically, the streets connected the predominantly African-American east side to the RJ Reynolds tobacco factories.

Today, with Piedmont Triad Research Park under construction near the historic footprint of the old Reynolds campus, 3rd , 4th and 5th streets could potentially provide the grid for new housing and businesses catering to future tech workers.

The closure is part of an effort by the department to streamline the flow of traffic on US Highway 52, reduce congestion and improve motorist safety. The elimination of ramps will allow for an additional acceleration lane. The Martin Luther King Jr. interchange will remain open, providing access to the north end of downtown. The project, which costs $13.1 million, is schedule to conclude in early summer.