Research Parkway, the new four-lane road through Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, opened for business today. The road connects Rams Drive (Stadium Drive) with Third Street downtown.
“It creates a major new entrance into Innovation Quarter,’’ said Eric Tomlinson, president of Innovation Quarter, a growing hub for biomedical science, material science and information technology.
The winding road, just shy of a mile long, was built for $8 million, with the state putting up $4 million and the city of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County the remainder.
“This road [doesn’t] divide our community. It unites our community,’’ said James Taylor, Jr., city council member for the Southeast Ward. He was referring to the construction of U.S. 52 in the 1960s, which helped create an east-west geographic and racial split in Winston-Salem.
The next phase of Research Parkway, the Salem Creek Connector, will link to U.S. 52 and over to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near Winston-Salem State University. Work is expected to begin later this year.
The opening of the road comes just one day after Forsyth Technical Community College announced it plans for a $7 million Center for Emerging Technologies at Innovation Quarter that will draw more than 1,200 students a year.
The center, to open in October 2014, will include lab facilities for the college’s nanotechnology program, a small business center, a corporate training center and offices for BioNetwork, the statewide biotechnology work force initiative run by the N.C. Community College system.