A trio of internationally known designers came to Winston-Salem Monday to pitch their ideas on a new look for the city's aged downtown bridges.

The suggestions come as the state Department of Transportation prepares to begin renovations on Business 40 next year.

The Creative Corridors Coalition wants the plans to include artistic elements for the roadwork to help give the highway a gateway appeal.

Donald MacDonald is a bridge designer who has worked on the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina. He says he likes the idea of using the bridges to unify the community instead of dividing it.

“Most of these freeways they jammed through in the 50s and 60s divided cities, as it did in the Bay Area where I live," he says. "So to see it happening here would be a great prototype for other cities to look at.”

In all, the coalition has proposed six priorities including updates to three existing bridges. Two of the plans draw inspiration from the city's Moravian culture. That includes the Peters Creek Parkway Bridge that would have lighted points reminiscent of a Moravian Star. The idea came from designer Larry Kirkland, who says each bridge will have its own unique expression.

"What we really want Business 40 to do in this re-creation is to say ‘Winston-Salem is a great place. Stop and visit,'” he says.

Walter Hood is a landscape architect and a Charlotte native who is designing a strollway that would cross over Business 40. The bridge would be lined on both sides with plants to make it feel like walking through nature. 

Hood says the idea of the bridges is to make them vivid and memorable.

The city council is expected to vote next month on whether they back the Creative Corridors' plans.

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