Downtown Capital Boulevard revitalization project to begin in weeks

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A lot of changes are coming to Capital Boulevard right outside of downtown Raleigh.

A lot of changes are coming to Capital Boulevard right outside of downtown Raleigh, and it all starts next month.

The multimillion dollar project planned by the City of Raleigh and the North Carolina Department of Transportation brings two new bridges to Capital Boulevard at Wade Avenue and Peace Street.

The plan to revitalize Capital from Wade to Peace includes more greenery, sidewalks, a wider median, and new bridge facades.

Steve Abbott, communications supervisor at the NCDOT, said construction for a new ramp at Wade Avenue is set to begin next month, while construction on the Peace Street bridge will begin next spring.

Abbott said construction at Wade Avenue should have little impact on traffic if on-lookers don't slow down the flow, as the new ramp will be built alongside the outside of the existing one.

"While they're just building that part of it, the only thing people will see will be a construction vehicles, so we need them not to be distracted because you're taking that turn to the left, don't be looking 'hey look at the bulldozer' and hit something," he said.

For now, they don't expect road closures until construction crews start to connect new bridges to roadways.

The bridges intersecting Capital at Peace and Wade are both over 50 years old, and no longer hold up to DOT design standards and the wear and tear of today's traffic.

"As more people come in, traffic is going to pick up more and more," NCDOT spokesperson Steve Abbott said. "I'm sure people who lived here 20 years ago, when they cruised down Peace Street and that area, didn't have the traffic there is now."

One of the biggest changes in the plan is at Peace Street where a new square interchange will be created after warehouses are cleared out and bike lanes are added.

It's all part of making the area more walkable.

"It's sort of adds to the neighborhood there," Abbott said. "If you live in that area you'll be able to go to a grocery store, to a hardware store or something. Right now I don't think too many people want to cross over some of those roads."

The city of Raleigh is funding part of the project along with the state Department of Transportation, and part of the city funding will go toward design elements such as new bridge facades.

About $30,000 to $40,000 in the city's budget for public art will go to have a commissioned artist work with the city's design team.

There is still no final design for the new bridge facades and the city has a call out for artists.

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