GREENSBORO — The last portion of the long-anticipated Urban Loop — three miles between North Elm Street and U.S. 29 — will open to the public on Monday.
The thoroughfare — the idea of which first appeared in city planning documents in 1948 — will allow motorists to take a 49-mile whirl around the city.
The N.C. Department of Transportation plans to hold a ceremony marking the opening on Monday. Speaking at the event will be state Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette, N.C. Board of Transportation Chairman and Division 7 Representative Mike Fox, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin “Skip” Alston and North Carolina Sens. Gladys Robinson and Phil Berger. The event is open to the media but not the public.
The highway will open to commuters after the 11 a.m. ceremony.
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Even after it opens, lane closures occasionally may occur because contractors have six more months to complete finishing touches, such as planting vegetation alongside the highway.
Construction on the last section of the loop — from Lawndale Drive to U.S. 29 — began in April 2018 and cost $137.3 million. The part between Lawndale Drive and North Elm Street opened in December 2020.
Initially, local officials envisioned the project as a parkway similar to Wendover Avenue. But as that vision grew, so did the cost. The state took over the $504 million project in 1989 when the General Assembly created the Highway Trust Fund to build thoroughfares statewide.