Capital Boulevard is a major thoroughfare connecting downtown Raleigh to its northeast suburbs.
Capital Boulevard begins at the north side of Downtown Raleigh, southbound traffic emptying onto Dawson Street and northbound traffic being siphoned from McDowell Street. Capital Boulevard is designed as a four-lane expressway, with limited driveways and grade separations at several locations as it travels through an industrial area. At the I-440 interchange, Capital Boulevard transitions into to an eight-lane urban boulevard, featuring numerous signalized at-grade intersections through a largely commercial area, driveways becoming more frequent. The commercialized development ends at Triangle Town Center, near the I-540 interchange. North of I-540, Capital Boulevard continues as a four-lane arterial road, crossing into the town of Wake Forest after crossing the Neuse River. Commercial development occasionally appears as the roadway bypasses Raleigh's large Wakefield Plantation development to the east and Wake Forest to the west. The Capital Boulevard designation ends at the Wake/Franklin County border, US 1 continuing north to I-85 in Henderson.
All of Capital Boulevard is signed as an NC or US route, including:
- US 70/US 401/NC 50 from Downtown to Wade Avenue
- US 401 from Wade Avenue to I-440
- US 1/US 401 from I-440 to Louisburg Road
- US 1 north of Louisburg Road
As part of a plan to revitalize and modernize a segment of Capital Boulevard between its southern terminus in Downtown Raleigh to its interchange with I-440, the North Carolina Department of Transportation began work replacing two aging bridges along the corridor. The work began in 2016 with the reconstruction of the bridge carrying Wade Avenue over Capital Boulevard, with the replacement of the Capital Boulevard bridge across Peace Street commencing the following year. Both bridges, built in 1954 and 1948 respectively, were stated to be nearing the end of their design lives and featured substandard geometry at their respective interchanges. The project also redesigns the current trumpet interchange at Wade Avenue and replaces the ramps connecting southbound Capital Boulevard and Peace Street with a "square loop" interchange using Johnson and Harrington Streets. Construction is expected to be completed in 2019.
Other improvements include eliminating the Fairview Road interchange by extending West Street to end at Wake Forest Road, extending Six Forks Road its current terminus at Atlantic Avenue to Capital Boulevard, restoring the Pigeon House Branch floodplain as well as constructing parks and a greenway trail connecting Peace Street to Crabtree Creek Trail, narrowing the median between the Atlantic Avenue/Wake Forest Road interchange and Crabtree Boulevard, and adding landscaped medians and sidewalks where missing.
Due to rapid growth in northern Wake County, NCDOT is proposing upgrading US 1 to a multi-lane freeway from I-540 in Raleigh to Purnell Road in Wake Forest near the Wake/Franklin County border. The freeway would require restricting access to local businesses and neighborhoods to existing and future frontage roads, as well as the replacement of the bridge carrying Capital Boulevard across the Neuse River. Slated to begin construction in 2023, the freeway proposes interchanges at:
- Durant/Perry Creek Roads in Raleigh
- Burlington Mills Road in Wake Forest
- Falls of Neuse Road/South Main Street near Raleigh and Wake Forest
- Harris/Purnell Roads in Wake Forest
- Glenwood Avenue, another major thoroughfare carrying a US highway for much of its route
- Louisburg Road, another major thoroughfare carrying a US highway for much of its route
- Falls of Neuse Road, a heavily-traveled alternative to Capital Boulevard
- Six Forks Road, a major route through North Raleigh
- New Bern Avenue, a former alignment of US 64
- Wake Forest Road, a former alignment of US 1