Toll addition to Capital Boulevard floated as way to fund improvements to busy Raleigh road

Tom George Image
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Toll on Capital Boulevard suggested as way to fund improvements
The City of Raleigh is looking to improve road conditions, but could hit a roadblock when it comes to funding.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina Department of Transportation is looking to improve road conditions on Capital Boulevard, but could hit a roadblock when it comes to funding.

One idea that has been floated to get the money in place is putting a toll road on the major roadway.

On January 17, NCDOT received a formal request from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) to study the potential use of tolling on Capital Boulevard/U.S. 1 to accelerate the project of converting the road to a freeway between I-540 in Raleigh and Wake Forest, including widening the road to 6-8 lanes.

The idea of a toll road has some in the community divided.

Johnny's Pizza is right near the end of the impacted 10-mile stretch in Wake Forest. Charlie Ravenscraft says he is excited about the idea of alleviating traffic, which can sometimes impact their business, even if it means paying tolls.

"I wouldn't mind at all if it would clear up traffic and clear up the roads, I feel like that would be pretty cool," he says.

Others like Chase Kluever are a little more skeptical. Kluever attends Wake Tech and takes the road often.

"Quite frankly I don't think they should do anything with it, I don't know that it would do anything for traffic so I don't know that I would agree with a toll," he says.

Some would rather pump the brakes altogether. Mallory Leisy says she's already seen rapid growth taking its toll on Wake Forest and believes expanding the road would take away from the feel of Wake Forest.

"I'm an advocate for keeping our small town small, I can see the help that it would be because of the traffic, but I am 100 percent against a toll road for sure," she says.

NCDOT is now evaluating the next steps in the process but has not advocated for a particular path forward.

NCDOT said the NC Turnpike Authority will likely need to be involved in the process since tolling has been put forward as a possible feature.

NCDOT has not released a timeline on how long all of this will take.

This recent proposal comes as improvements are already being considered for the section of Capital Boulevard between I-540 and Wake Forest.

Transportation officials believe it will solve problems by reducing accidents and cutting down on commute times. They say this is needed to keep up with growth.

The project will cost nearly $750 million. The groundbreaking for the first phase of the project is not expected until 2025.