No matter how they slice and dice it, the coming renovation of the 440 beltline between Walnut Creek and Lake Boone Trail will mean hell for West Raleigh.

Eric Lamb, Raleigh’s transportation planning director, said Tuesday that plans call for pairing the three-year road-widening project for 440 with additional projects including routing Blue Ridge Road under Hillsborough Street and the railroad crossing near the State Fairgrounds.

“There is a significant amount of work that would all take place all at one time,” Lamb said. “Ripping off the Band-Aid, so to speak.”
The highest-profile pieces of the project are the chunks of the N.C. State University Club and Meredith College that would be lost to road widening under current plans. Another public hearing will be scheduled on the plan, the large footprint of which has taken many residents aback, Mayor Nancy McFarlane said.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Lamb guided members through a series of changes coming to beltline


at Jones Franklin Road, Melbourne Road, Western Boulevard, Hillsborough Street, and Wade Avenue. The bridge crossing at Athens Drive will also get a replacement, the timing of which concerned council member Kay Crowder. She doesn’t want that bridge closed at the same time as the Melbourne Road exit.

“This impacts my entire district,” Crowder said, asking that planners mitigate as much destruction and property loss as possible.

Members voted to replace a historic tunnel that runs under the Beltline from Method with a bridge over the highway that will take drivers between the historically black community to Blue Ridge Road.

If all goes as planned, the beltline project will begin construction in 2018 and cost between S450 million and $475 million.
In other action, council members agreed to a $10.3 million bid from American South Contractors to carry out the renovation of historic Moore Square in downtown. Three companies, including American South, initially turned in bids that exceeded the $12.3 million the city had set aside for the design and construction.

Bringing the project in at its budgeted cost meant making adjustments to materials, reducing a planned three-thousand-square-foot trellis to seventeen hundred square feet, changing a fountain design, and eliminating one of the park’s groves of trees.

The planned opening date for the renovated park is early 2019.