Three and a half miles of the Neuse River Trail is expected to open in August, another 8.7 miles in October and 7.0 more miles in November; coupled with the 6.5 miles opened last fall, the 28-mile greenway running along its namesake river from Falls Lake south to the Wake County line will be more than 90 percent done, at 26 miles. The entire trail, according to Raleigh greenway planner Vic Lebsock, should be done by mid-July 2013.
“We’re under construction, everything appears on target,” Lebsock said last week. “We don’t expect there will be delays of more than 30 days on any of [the sections].”
The Neuse River Trail is part of $35 million in Raleigh greenway construction currently underway that will add about 42 miles of pavement within two years.
The first 6.5-mile stretch of the Neuse River Trail, from the Falls Lake dam south to the WRAL Soccer Complex, opened last fall. When completed, it will link with 5 miles of greenway in Johnston County extending into Clayton. The resulting 33-mile greenway will be the longest in the state.
In August, 3.5 miles of Neuse River greenway will open between Anderson Point Park and Skycrest Drive to the north. (This stretch has existed since the 1990s as a gravel path.) In November, Lebsock says the 7.0-mile stretch from Skycrest north to U.S. 401 will open. Unfortunately, there’s a 1.2-mile gap between the north end of this trail and the first 6.5 miles of trail that opened in the fall, and that is the last stretch expected to open, next July.
Also expected to open in October is the 5.7-mile stretch from Auburn Knightdale Road south to the Wake County Line. That stretch will connected with the Johnston County greenway, creating a nearly 11-mile run into Clayton. North from Auburn Knightdale Road, the connection to Anderson Point will be made in two phases: a 3.0-mile run up to Poole Road that will open in October and the remaining 1.2 miles north from Poole Road, expected to open in February 2013. At that point, there will be 25.5 miles of continuous greenway uninterrupted by street crossings, from U.S. 401 south to Clayton.
What makes the eventual 33-mile run from Falls dam to Clayton all the more alluring is the fact there will be no street crossings to contend with. A series of bridges over the Neuse and smaller tributaries and passages under roads crossing the river will make for the longest unimpeded multi-use paved trail in the state.
The Neuse River Trail becomes even more significant as connections are made at Crabtree Creek and Walnut Creek.
- Walnut Creek: A stretch of connecting trail between existing greenway at Worthdale Park and New Hope Road to the east is expected to be begin construction within a month, the stretch from New Hope to the Neuse by mid-summer. The entire stretch should be done within a year, creating a 14-mile run along Walnut Creek from Lake Johnson to the Neuse River (pending completion, too, of connecting greenway through N.C. State’s Centennial Campus).
- Crabtree Creek: Currently, the Crabtree Creek Trail follows its namesake creek from just shy of Ebenezer Church Road downstream to Milburnie Road, a distance of 11 miles. The remaining 4.6 miles from Milburnie to the Neuse River Trail should go out to bid this fall, with completion targeted for late 2013 or early 2014. That connection, plus the nearing completion of the House Creek Greenway, would make it possible to take greenway from the Neuse Trail on the east side of Raleigh through Umstead State Park, into Cary and nearly to the American Tobacco Trail. Construction on the last remaining link of the ATT — a pedestrian bridge over I-40 and a little more than a mile of connecting greenway — is set to begin this summer after prolonged delays. When completed, the 22-mile ATT will link western Wake County with downtown Durham.
Unrelated to the Neuse River Trail and its east/west connectors, the 5.67-mile Honeycutt Trail is scheduled to go to bid in May, begin construction mid-summer. That trail will link existing greenway heading north from the Crabtree Creek Trail and around Shelley Lake north to the Mountains-to-Sea trail along the south shore of Falls Lake.
The Growing Greenway
View Raleigh Greenways in a larger map
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A week’s worth of Triangle greenways
Thursday, April 12: House Creek Greenway to Open June 25 (read: Memorial Day).
Monday, April 16: 90 Second Escape: The Triangle’s Growing Greenway System.
Today: Neuse River Trail: Another 3.5 miles by August, 16.1 miles by November.
Tomorrow: Within two years, Raleigh will have more than 110 miles of mostly interconnected greenway. What happens from there? A conversation about the future with the man who’s been overseeing the growth, Raleigh greenway planner Vic Lebsock.
Friday: The Triangle’s greenway system in two years, and beyond.
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