'Definitely, this area is growing': NCDOT asks for input in turning Capital Boulevard into a freeway

9December 2021

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — The NCDOT is hoping to make the ride smoother on Capital Boulevard and is planning to build a $750 million freeway from north Raleigh to Wake Forest.

Cars often clog the roadway during the morning and evening commutes.

NCDOT estimates that Capital Boulevard carries between 32,000 and 65,000 vehicles per day.

“It’s rough,” said Wake Forest resident Sarah Lilly. “It’s become a lot more (congested) in the last two to three years.”

The proposal comes as Wake Forest is booming.

“Even just finding parking around town, it’s more crowded,” said Wake forest resident Mary Beth Smith.

She has lived in Wake Forest for more than 15 years and works at a downtown consignment shop.

Smith said sales kept climbing month over month. More people are visiting from Raleigh and Cary or moving to the area.

“Definitely this area is growing with all the subdivisions coming in. There’s just a lot of people migrating here and settling here so it’s definitely picked up a lot,” said Smith.

NCDOT anticipates average daily traffic on Capital is going to rise about 22 percent by 2040.

The planned controlled-access highway would begin at 1-540 and go to the intersection of Purnell and Harris roads in Wake Forest.

Stoplights would be taken out and interchanges put in.

Some of the proposals would require the state to purchase and remove homes.

The work would be done in phases and the construction contract on the first segment is scheduled to be awarded in a little less than three years.

Lilly isn’t sure if it would really help her as a commuter. Her family used to live in the D.C. area. They moved to Wake Forest partially to get away from the traffic and ongoing construction.

“They put a timeframe on things and then it always ends up being longer,” said Lilly. “I feel like they tried so many things up in Northern Virginia, the commute in and out of D.C., and they’re still under construction so, you just never know.”

Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones told ABC11 that traffic has been a problem for years, and businesses have been apprehensive to invest along Capital Boulevard because they’re not sure what’s going to happen along the roadway.

NCDOT will be accepting public comment throughout all phases of project design and construction.

To have your comments included in planning activities for this phase of the project, they should be submitted by Jan. 7 to capital-boulevard-upgrade@publicinput.com

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