WINSTON-SALEM - A pair of twin arches are now in place over U.S. 52 along the Salem Creek Connector Project, in Winston-Salem.

They are the first in a series of design elements aimed at transforming the landscape of downtown with memorable gateways and entrances.

As Lynn Bitting sat and took pictures of his city's new infrastructure Saturday, he reminisced about how things used to look.

"When I look across that valley I can see my high school that I went to, up on the hill there that's where I went to college and played football, and down here in the valley there used to be a drive in movie theater," said Bitting. 

However, a lot is different.

"I have seen the change, a tremendous change, and this is like the crown jewel," said Bitting.  "To me; it's a doorway, it's a gateway, it's an opening to the greater part of downtown."

The vision was brought to life by the Creative Corridors Coalition, a non-profit that has been engaging community members for years on how to influence the look of the roadwork that the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the city will do in the next several years around downtown.

"We see ourselves as a city of arts and innovation and as such we'd like for our infrastructure to reflect that artfulness and innovation," said Creative Corridors Coalition Chairperson Kristen Haaf. 

She also said the project has a much bigger goal than just to improve appearances.

"U.S. 52 and Business 40 when they went in in the middle of the last century they served to really divide different neighborhoods from each other in Winston-Salem and so what the Salem Creek Connector does is creates a new way to move through the city which breaks down some of that barrier created by the U.S. 52 project," Haaf said.

The entire Salem Creek Connector Project should be done in May of 2017.