The North Carolina Department of Transportation has its eye on upgrading the Peace Street bridge in upcoming years, an overhaul that will put several well established local businesses in danger. With a sufficiency rating of 42.9 out of 100, the bridge, which was built in 1948, is sorely in need of massive renovations, according to the NCDOT. Additional construction is also being considered for the Wade Avenue bridge, which has a sufficiency rating of 34.1. While both bridges are clearly still usable, they are described as “structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.”
The current structures are not in line with modern roadway designs. The Capital Boulevard and Peace Street areas are main thoroughfares to downtown, currently hosting 54,000 vehicles per day, a number that is expected to increase by nearly 50% over the next few decades. Redesign options on the table include a diamond, square-loop, or bowtie interchange.
Impacts from the construction are not fully known yet, but the NCDOT says there may be an environmental effect on Pigeon House Branch Creek. Several businesses would certainly be affected, including Finch’s Restaurant, Grass Roots Press, Watkins Shoe Store, and Anderson Supply. Finch’s, however, is being researched to see if it qualifies for the historic register.
Funding for the redesign has not been obtained yet, though engineers are in the early stages of developing environmental impact research, which is required for federal funding. The overhaul will run somewhere in the area of $14-$15 million, a cost which will be covered by a combination of local, state, and federal funds. A public hearing will be scheduled for fall of 2012, and if plans go forward, construction will begin in 2016. More information on the proposed project can be found at the NCDOT website.
Photo courtesy of Dean Jeffrey