Winston-Salem, N.C. -- A 20-mile stretch of the historic Business 40 highway between Kernersville and Winston-Salem has a new name thanks to voters.

The highway section was renamed Highway 421/Salem Parkway. The NC Department of Transportation and Governor Pat McCrory unveiled the new name at a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday at the Green Street Bridge at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem.

More than 5,200 people voted for the highway to be named 'Salem Parkway.' Other contenders were Piedmont Corridor with just over 3,000 votes, Golden Leaf Parkway with over 900 votes, and Innovation Highway with nearly 700 votes.

Governor McCrory says the project is about more than just a new name. He says it will be safer for drivers, improve business and tourism, and it will be aesthetically pleasing.

The new highway signs will go up as the project is completed. The main impact of the project, the full closure of Business 40, is expected to start in late 2018 or early 2019. The NCDOT says the closure should not last for more than two years.

Some background info:

  • The idea of renaming the highway began with citizens back in 2006 when the Federally-sponsored Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer conference was held in Winston-Salem, according to Engineer Pat Ivey.

  • The actual naming process began in 2015 when the Winston-Salem City Council and the Kernersville Board of Alderman appointed a Business 40 Naming Committee.

  • In November 2015, NCDOT launched a name nomination period through January 2016. Nearly 1,900 names were submitted. A selection committee chose the final four from the nominations.

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