The first 8-mile stretch of the Neuse River Greenway in Raleigh is on target to open this September, Raleigh senior greenway planner Vic Lebsock said Thursday.
“Yes, I am,” he replied when asked if he was confident of the late summer opening.
The 8-mile stretch, from Falls of Neuse Road just below the Falls Lake dam south to the WRAL Soccer Complex, is part of the Neuse River Greenway, which will run 28 miles, from Falls Lake dam south to the Johnston County Line. The entire $30 million project is scheduled to be complete in early 2013.
- Northern trailhead. Graders were busy clearing a new entrance to the northern trailhead, which has long been home to a city of Raleigh canoe launch. The old entrance was dangerous when Falls of the Neuse Road was a sleepy two-lane; it’s considerably worse today, though the road is being widened and reconfigured. When that project is done, the greenway will extend another 75 yards upstream to a Corps of Engineers parking lot with restrooms and water.
- Near Capital Boulevard. A path has been cut and construction equipment was parked along the Neuse just east of Capital Boulevard. A suspicious construction worker kept me from making a more thorough examination.
- At the WRAL Soccer Complex. Dump trucks were hauling out degree from the southern trailhead. Again, construction workers and signs noting “Construction: Do Not Enter” precluded more thorough investigation.
- Bedford at Falls River neighborhood. The best news was found about a half mile downstream from the northern trailhead: a 1.83-mile stretch of the greenway is paved, though as Lebsock was quick to point out, “not technically open. We still have some shoulder maintenance to do.” Technically open or not, several folks were already enjoying the trail.
Paved 1.8-mile stretch
View Raleigh Greenway: Neuse River in a larger map
The paved-but-technically-not-open stretch is likely typical of what much of the Neuse River Greenway will be like: Flowy trail meandering through a mature riparian forest with occasional glimpses of the Neuse. The dense forest offers a surprisingly effective buffer — and escape — from the development beyond. Twenty-eight uninterrupted miles of this will rank the Neuse River Greenway as one of the East Coast’s premier destination greenways.
Check out this slideshow of where the initial eight miles of the Neuse Greenway currently stands.