WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- It's hard to miss the large arches extending over U.S. 52 in Winston-Salem.

Since the inaugural lighting of the Twin Arches on January 30, WFMY News 2 has received a lot of questions from concerned viewers over the cost and purpose of the installment.

Some say the arches are beautiful, others claim they are a waste of money.

We've learned the arches were built strictly for aesthetics and do not contribute to the structure of the interchange.

The twin arches cost $1.65 million in all. Private donations paid for $950,000 of the project. The Department of Transportation covered the other $700,000 with taxpayer dollars.

The Creative Corridors Coalition, a nonprofit headed by Forsyth County residents, partnered with the city and the NC Department of Transportation for the project.

"It has a physical connotation," said Joycelyn Johnson, with the Creative Corridors Coalition. "Showing how we can bring the North, South, East and West of our community together, literally, to make our community better."

When the DOT approved the money for the arches back in 2012, it was legal use to use taxpayer dollars for aesthetic improvements and enhancements to the highway. However, since then, North Carolina passed a new law that changes the rules.

"It prohibits the use of state funds for any improvement beyond what we would typically put in a transportation project," said DOT Division Engineer, Pat Ivey. "Enhancements would be one of those."

So while the arches are here to stay, your taxpayer dollars going to the state can't be used in the future on decorative highway projects.

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