Zooming In Underneath the Capital Boulevard Bridge

On the left, the new Capital Boulevard bridge under construction. Center-right is the old bridge. April 2018.

On the left, the new Capital Boulevard bridge under construction. Center-right is the old bridge. April 2018.

Here are some observations from a walk along Peace Street, specifically underneath the new Capital Boulevard bridge. The photo above shows the old bridge, on the right, and the new bridge, on the left. You can see with the upgraded design that a lot of space is reclaimed when you compare the old “rock mound foundation” versus the “concrete wall foundation” of the new. (like my technical terms?)

It’s almost a vehicle lane, about 12-14 feet, on each side!

This made me pull out the map and below is the one shared from the NCDOT project page. When looking at it, up is West (peace going up/down) with Capital going left-to-right and the dark red being the new bridge.

Map of Peace Street project.

Click for a larger, zoomed out view of Peace Street.

What is great to see is that while Peace is wider, it will still be a two-lane road just like today. The additional space is being given to turns lanes but also wider sidewalks and bike lanes. The bike lanes aren’t very clear on this map but if you look hard, they are there.

I will say that some of the added road space is going toward center turn lanes also. Either way, the road has to slim down because the CSX bridge to the east isn’t getting any wider.

Anyway, it’s cool to see this come together one small piece at a time.

The Second Clearing of Smokey Hollow

Email readers: This blog post has a virtual reality image. Read the post on the blog to see it.
Standing on Capital Boulevard looking west, December 2017.

Click for larger

One day, I was riding south into downtown on Capital Boulevard and caught a glimpse to the west towards Glenwood South. The clearing of so many buildings just struck me and I had to come back to take some photos. This would have really been nice to have a drone for this post but either way the photo above attempts to show how much has been cleared.

Between Johnson and Peace, Capital and West Streets almost all buildings have been demolished this year. With the help of iMaps, I estimate about 6.5 acres have been cleared in just this area.

History repeats itself?

Well, probably not. A residential neighborhood, the late Smoky Hollow, isn’t being cleared again but the state is still flexing its eminent domain muscle for highway improvements. Let’s hope this time it sticks.

Map of area between Peace and Johnson, West and Capital Boulevard.

Click for larger. Note the new Johnson Street connection already planned for. Next, the Harrington connection to Peace.

The photo is from the west side of Capital Boulevard with the new bridge over Peace Street directly to my right. I will probably not be able to get an exact after-shot once that project is complete but I’ll certainly try. (safely)

First to watch is the 12-story residential tower called Peace, formerly Smokey Hollow, at the corner of West and Peace Street. It was announced that a Publix grocery store would anchor the ground-floor space of this project. I bet that’s a huge selling point for more development in this area.

That’s all that’s confirmed at this time but I’m sure there will be more coming and with it all currently zoned for a maximum of 12-stories, an entirely new neighborhood (dare I say Smoky Hollow?) could be created with that kind of density. (by Raleigh standards anyway)

For more views, here’s a VR shot I took while up there. If you can’t see the embedded VR view, try seeing it directly on the blog.

[UPDATE: 12-19-17, a RalCon reader has submitted a different view of the area from the 510 Glenwood building.]
View of the area looking east, December 2017.

Click for larger

A Walk Up Peace Street

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017

Warning! (or treat!) This will be an image-heavy post.

I had the pleasure of taking a walk up Peace Street recently, during rush hour, to witness all the demolition and work taking place around the Capital Boulevard bridge. We’ve all been following the work in this area for awhile but when you walk it, it’s truly at another level.

I’ll write a little and then let the photos do the talking.

The Capital Boulevard work is really in full swing here as clearing for the new bridge over Peace Street takes place. Buildings have been demolished and old foundations chipped away to make way for the Square Loop.

At this time, construction fencing is up around the Smokey Hollow site. Even more demolition should be taking place in the coming weeks for the 12-story mixed-use project.

In the pipeline also is the West Peace Street Streetscape project, adding more chaos to the street in the future.

It’s a swarm of development in such a short amount of time. The end of 2019 should see all the street work wrap up for us to enjoy it.

I’m starting to think that the state’s Capital Boulevard project would be this decade’s most impactful public-funded project taking place in downtown Raleigh. (Fayetteville Street being the clear winner in the 2000s) I wanted it to be Union Station but so much is going on here that I think this edges it out.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. The former Fairway Advertising.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. The former Finch’s restaurant.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017.

Peace Street, September 2017

Peace Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

West Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

West Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow.

Peace Street, September 2017

Johnson and Harrington Street, September 2017. Construction fencing around Smokey Hollow and future Johnson Street connector.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017

Capital Boulevard area, September 2017. Clearing of buildings for the square loop.

Weekend Video: Capital Boulevard Makeover

From the meeting this week hosted by NCDOT, the video above was being played on a loop at the Borden Building in Fred Fletcher Park Thursday evening. If you can’t see the embedded video, go here.

The video is a great watch for those following this project and construction starts on Wade Avenue first this Fall.

You can find more on the NCDOT’s project website.

Upcoming: Smokey Hollow, Peace Street, and Seaboard Station

This is what it is like to take a walk downtown with @dtraleigh

A photo posted by Jennifer Suarez (@jenniferraleigh) on

Readers of the blog should not be surprised that there is a lot of momentum coming soon to Peace Street. The Smoky Hollow project near Peace and West, Devereux Meadow park, the new Capital Boulevard bridge, and new developments in Seaboard Station, including a Harris Teeter, are all going to dramatically change the look of Peace Street.

I went out there to take photos and I’m putting some lengthier stuff together, which I hope to finish soon.

Speaking of the bridge over Peace, put August 18 on your calendar as a public meeting about the Capital Boulevard bridge replacement project is planned.

Stay tuned.

Municipography, Capital Boulevard Bridges

Capital Boulevard going over Peace Street

Capital Boulevard going over Peace Street

Municipography is a summary of current issues going through the Raleigh City Council and other municipal departments in the city. The point is to try to deliver any video, photos, and text associated with the discussions happening at City Hall or elsewhere. Since this is a downtown Raleigh blog, the focus is on the center of the city.

I recommend email readers click through to the website to see the embedded video.

During last week’s city council meeting, there was a presentation with the latest updates on the bridge replacement projects that are going to take place on Capital Boulevard. This is a topic that’s been covered here on the blog for almost five years and we’re now under a year until construction starts.

If you need to play catch up, I recommend reading about the planned ‘square loop’ design here:

In addition to the Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street being replaced, Wade Avenue at Capital is also being replaced.


If the video does not show for you, click here.

Eric Lamb, Transportation Planning Manager for the city, gave a brief overview of the latest updates of the project. Here are some notes I took:

  • The project will remove the Jersey barriers and glare screens going down the middle of Capital and a landscaped median will be put in.
  • Seeing as how this is an NCDOT/City of Raleigh collaboration project, NCDOT will cover base costs with Raleigh covering enhancements like aesthetics, lights, etc.
  • The city’s share for the project is now estimated to be between $12 and $13 million.
  • During construction, one northbound lane on Capital will be closed for about two years.
  • At some times, Capital will be closed entirely but crews will focus on nights and weekend closings.
  • The official detour will be to use Blount Street and Person Street/Wake Forest Road.
  • The new bridges will have an art deco design maintaining a theme with nearby railraod bridges.

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street without columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street without columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street with columns

Rendering of the bridge going over Peace Street with columns. Click for larger.

The major enhancements of each bridge primarily revolve around adding either lights or decorative columns or both. As you can see in the rendering, the columns could have public art on top of them of some sort. Only a concept is shown in the rendering not the final art piece.

Of course, the more you add, the higher the cost becomes. City staff broke it down into four available options.

  • Option 1: Full enhancements to both bridges: +$2.4 million
  • Option 2: No treatments at Wade, full enhancements at Peace: +$1.16 million
  • Option 3: Enhance both bridges, including lights but no columns: +$1.61 million
  • Option 4: Enhance both bridges without columns or lights: +$1.21 million

Full breakdown of costs for Peace Street.

  • With columns and lights: +$1.25 million
  • With lights: +$860,000
  • Without lights: +$660,000

Full breakdown of costs for Wade Avenue.

  • With columns and lights: +$1.16 million
  • With lights: +$748,000
  • Without lights: +$548,000

Those figures make it seem like lights are a $200,000 cost per bridge. The columns come in around $400,000 per bridge.

Option 3 seemed to be, according to the light conversation, the one councilors preferred but no decisions were made at this time. There is still more work to be done to prepare an agreement with NCDOT and when those details are more solid, there will be a followup presentation. That will probably take place in a few months.

Construction will first start at Wade in July 2016 with Peace Street seeing work in July 2017. Everything should wrap up during the Summer of 2019.

On a slightly related note, I haven’t covered the Wade Avenue bridge much but I did notice this one little jewel in the renderings. Take a look at the Wade Avenue bridge design below. The right-most portion shows a greenway trail going underneath.

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns. Click for larger.

We know that the city wants to get a greenway to go along Capital and the Pigeon House Branch Creek which is mostly buried. In the future, the creek may be opened up and we all can walk or bike along it starting from a park that sits just north of Peace Street between Capital and West Street.

Rendering of the Wade Avenue bridge with columns

The rendering suggests that there are plans to keep a connection open here at the bridge for such a future project. Good stuff!

Square Loop is Approved at Capital Boulevard and Peace Street

Peace Street at Capital Boulevard

Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street

Just a quick one today. At yesterday’s Raleigh City Council meeting, approval was given for the NCDOT recommended P5 alternative, also known as “the square loop.” We’ve gone over this plan for that area before so I’ll recommend you jump to a November 2013 post.

I feel the P5 alternative slows traffic down and starts to transition the area towards one with better urban form. I’m a huge fan of a grid-like street network and this alternative creates that in the new connection at Johnson Street and the Harrington Street extension. If we can add in on-street parking along these areas, interest in new development could increase. It can’t get any lower as the area only consists of sprawl-like, one-story buildings with surface parking.

*New Capital Boulevard Designs Out, Status Quo versus New Connections

Up next is the environmental study which is planned to be complete by this Fall. Construction is planned to start in the Summer of 2015.

You can dive into the official project page at the NCDOT: Peace St./Wade Ave. Bridge Replacements on Capital Blvd. page.

Decision Time Nears, Final Public Meeting on Capital Boulevard Bridge Design April 22

Peace Street interchange with Capital Boulevard

Peace Street interchange with Capital Boulevard.

On April 22, NCDOT is hosting a public meeting to show off the final designs for the new Capital Boulevard bridge at Peace Street. According to their timeline, after the public comment deadline of May 23, the decision on which alternative to go forward with will be made.

We’ve discussed the details up to this point but if you need a refresher, jump to this November 2013 post:

*New Capital Boulevard Designs Out, Status Quo versus New Connections

In combination with plans for a new Wade Avenue interchange bridge, not being discussed on this blog, the public hearing on April 22 should show off the most up-to-date plans for the two Peace Street alternatives, those being:

  • The base alternative
  • The P5, or enhanced, alternative.

The base alternative is a one-to-one replacement of what we have today. A new bridge will be built and the same on/off ramps will exist, just like today. It’s possible that this alternative may get a two-lane on-ramp with northbound Capital Boulevard from Peace Street, the right lane being a right-turn lane for the Cotton Mill parking lot, but that is essentially the biggest change here.

The favored alternative, by the city, the state, and informally from readers of this blog, to the best of my knowledge, is the P5 alternative, also known as “The Square Loop.” This plan brings back the grid and creates an area that’s more attractive to development, more pedestrian friendly, and transitions Peace Street to better urban form.

Alternative P5, or Square Loop, for the new Capital Boulevard bridge over Peace Street. Click for larger.

The problem here is that The Square Loop plan is costlier due to the need for more property acquisition and street reconfiguration. The $11 million dollar difference between the two plans does not make the favored plan guaranteed. This is where the city has to step up and make this happen as it will most likely be more expensive to implement in the future if not done alongside this bridge replacement project.

More to come after the public meeting.

Capital Boulevard Bridge Replacement Projects Public Hearing

Date/Time: Tues. April 22, 2014 4-7pm (open house format, drop in any time)
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Memorial Lobby
2 East South Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
919-707-6010