Odd end of Cary greenway leaves some in lurch

Staff WriterSeptember 6, 2008 

— It was a little more than a year ago when the greenway went in near N.C. 55 in western Cary.

Questions abounded: Who built it? Why did it go in? And, why didn't they finish it?

After the scenic greenway goes through a tunnel underneath N.C. 55, it abruptly ends -- the smooth pavement giving way to a stretch of uneven dirt.

"It's almost like they just left it," said Manon Angelo, who lives in the Fieldstone development near the trail. And with no lights in the tunnel, "it's creepy."

A child could take a spill while on a bike or a jogger could twist an ankle, residents of Fieldstone fear. Many of them didn't know whether the town government or developers were behind the greenway construction.

Answering some of the questions is Doug McRainey, the town's parks planning manager. Cary's parks and recreation department put in the trail and tunnel as part of the Batchelor Branch Greenway. It's part of a larger effort to link the town's jogging and cycling paths, McRainey said.

He knows the unpaved section is troubling to residents. He added that plans are to pave the remaining three-tenths of a mile of the greenway in January and link it with another tunnel that goes underneath busy N.C. 55 a mile south of the troubling tunnel.

Part of the problem is the need to put in some type of retaining wall next to the unpaved section, which faces a steep slope. That raised the price of the project from $280,000 to $405,000.

"Unfortunately, it just takes much longer," McRainey explained.

Once bids go out, work should begin in January and finish by May.

There are no plans to put lights up, because the greenway is technically open only from dawn to dusk, he said.

McRainey said the wait for pavement will be worth it.

"It'll be a wonderful network once it's completed," he said.

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