A pair of bridge replacements on Capital Boulevard is expected to cost between $12-$13 million dollars, and will close down one of the thoroughfare’s northbound lanes for two years.
Eric Lamb, the city’s Transportation Planning Manger, gave an update to City Council Tuesday on the project. Bridges will be replaced at the Peace Street and Wade Avenue intersections. Enhanced design was considered at the Peace Street intersection.
“Currently the estimates range from $12 to $13 million,” Lamb said.
Construction impacts were discussed. The North Carolina Department of Transportation will be closing the northbound lane on Capital Boulevard from Peace Street to Wade Avenue for two years. Median work will be included, as will demolition. Complete closures will be limited to nights and weekends. A detour will be provided.
“We often consider these projects like breaking eggs to make omelets,” Lamb said. “This is a very big omelet.”
Deco art design considered for bridges at Peace Street and Wade Avenue
The NCDOT has reviewed options with the city’s public art design board for an art deco-based design for the bridges. There will be possible enhancements to the retaining walls and railing sides and a possible oak emblem on the bridge. Columns may be added but at an additional cost to allow for public art. The full betterments would cost over $1 million for each bridge. Lamb presented four options to council.
Councilor Kay Crowder asked if the additional costs in the project would take money from other projects. Lamb talked about the impact this would make on the I-440 Beltline construction project.
“This does not take money from that project,” Lamb said. “However, whatever money we use up on this project will not be available to use on betterments we anticipate on the 440 Beltline project.”
“Every dollar we spend on this project will not be available for the Beltline project or any other DOT projects as well,” he added.
“These are gateways to our city,” councilor Bonner Gaylord said. “We need them to look like people are coming through our front door. But I think the columns—I don’t know if they add that much. So I look at option three, which includes enhancing both bridges and includes the lights.”
Councilor Russ Stephenson talked about priority. He said he liked the screens first and the lights second. He said he agreed with Gaylord that the columns would be a bit much. Mayor Nancy McFarlane agreed with Gaylord that these were gateways to the city.
Staggered construction to start at Wade Avenue in the summer of 2016
Lamb talked about next steps in the process. He said the city would be negotiating the municipal agreement with NCDOT. He said it would be back before council in two months. Construction would start at Wade Avenue in the summer of 2016. NCDOT was looking at a staggered start to the project. Construction at the Peace Street intersection would start in the summer of 2017.
Lamb thanked NCDOT for their role in the process.
Crowder asked for clarification about the funding for this project and how it related to other construction projects that would be occurring at the same time.
She highlighted a grant from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Lamb said that if $8 million were spent on the Capital Boulevard project, there would be $2 million left for the Beltline project.
“In terms of characterization, in terms of the enhancements; being deco to me, they look like the classical bridge treatments you see coming in and out of DC,” Stephenson said. “The screen is a nice touch. The lighting is more grandiose. Maybe there’s some way to scale the enhancement back to make the appearance more deco.”
“I like it,” Crowder said.