Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Interstate 40 Business (North Carolina)

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Existed:  1992 ā€“ present
Constructed  1992
Length  29.8 km
Interstate 40 Business (North Carolina)

West end:  Iā€‘40 / US 421 in Winston-Salem
East end:  Iā€‘40 / US 421 near Colfax
Highway system  US Interstate highway system
Major cities  Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Kernersville
Counties  Forsyth County, North Carolina, Guilford County, North Carolina

In the U.S. state of North Carolina, Interstate 40 Business (commonly known as Business 40) is an 18.5-mile-long (29.8 km) business loop of Interstate 40; which serves the cities of Winston-Salem and Kernersville.


Map of I-40BUS, North Carolina, USA

Route description

Business 40 begins at exit 188 of Interstate 40 and exit 238 of US 421 in Winston-Salem. Traveling east, the route goes through the downtown of Winston-Salem, which has several quick on/off exits. It then continues south of Kernersville, before meeting back with Interstate 40 (exit 206) near Colfax. The entire route is 4-lane at freeway grade, it is also completely overlapped with US 421.


Originally known as the Downtown Expressway, it was one of the state's first urban freeways, predating the Interstate Highway System. The first section of the expressway was opened on January 6th, 1958, and ran from Cloverdale Avenue to Main Street signed as US 158. In 1959, Interstate 40 signs were added. In 1960, it was extended east to Reidsville Road. By 1962, the freeway extended west to the current junction with US 421 and east into Guilford County; it was also at that time when US 421 was rerouted from Reynolda Road to its current routing.

Over the years, little has changed; which was a problem because the freeway was showing its age and was no longer considered interstate grade. In 1992, the state rerouted Interstate 40 onto a new bypass south of Winston-Salem. The old route was then renumbered as Interstate 40 Business. The freeway has made some repairs since then: In the late 1990s, the locally famous "Hawthorne Curve" near the North Carolina Baptist Hospital was rebuilt, softening the curve's angle. Other repairs were made on several exit ramps, roadbed grading, and bridges.

In Kernersville, the roadway improvements and extension of Macy Grove Road included the construction of a new interchange with I-40 Business/US 421. Property acquisition began in 2012. The interchange was opened to traffic sometime in 2015.


In February 2008, Interstate 40 was rerouted onto new freeway south of Greensboro, becoming part of the Greensboro Urban Loop. The old route through Greensboro was then renumbered as Business 40, treated as an extension from Colfax (hidden on main I-40, this is similar to how Business 85 is set up today in Greensboro). This extended the route 20 miles (32 km), ending at a new terminus at I-85/I-40, near McLeansville.

However, NCDOT officials received a lot of complaints by local residents and motorists on the confusion between the new Interstate 40 and Business 40. Another issue was that funding for construction and repairs on the old route was slashed since it was no longer designated as an interstate (Business Interstates are not officially part of the Interstate Highway System). On September 12, 2008, with permission from FHWA, Interstate 40 was moved back to its old route through Greensboro, decommissioning Business 40 through Greensboro (basically existing for only seven months). By mid-2009, a majority of signs have been corrected, though there are still a few signs mislabeled.


In Winston-Salem, shared with US 421, a 1-mile (1.6 km) section from west of Fourth Street to east of Church Street has begun project development studies to completely upgrade and streamline. The project includes removing the existing pavement and replacing it with new concrete pavement, upgrade and modernize entrance and exit ramps, and replace most of the bridges on and over the freeway. It was announced on September 14, 2016 that work by Flatiron Constructors and Blythe Development Co. would last from 2018 to 2020, with the road being entirely closed from November 2018 until July 2020. The Peters Creek Parkway interchange will be rebuilt, and the interchange at Cherry and Marshall Streets will remain, while Main Street will still have a partial interchange. Three other interchanges, including Broad Street, will be dropped. The Green Street bridge will become a pedestrian bridge with arches.

Due to confusion for newcomers, the Business 40 name is being dropped in Winston-Salem, and once construction is finished, the road will be designated US 421, as it has been for emergency personnel. On October 21, 2016 at BB&T Ballpark, Gov. Pat McCrory announced the new name Salem Parkway for Business 40 in Winston-Salem, which was chosen by a vote of area residents selecting from four choices. Signs with this name should be in place by 2020.

Alternate names

Though the highway is simply known as Business 40 throughout the state, the highway does have other known names it uses locally in areas.

  • Downtown Expressway - Road name of first urban freeway in Winston-Salem, from Stratford Road to Main Street.
  • East-West Expressway - Alternate Road name of Business 40 in Winston-Salem.
  • Salem Parkway - New Business I-40 name
  • References

    Interstate 40 Business (North Carolina) Wikipedia