In the coming years, a new segment of the White Oak Creek Greenway between MacArthur and Davis drives could be completed with a boardwalk and a tunnel after more than 20 years of discussion about the project.
Amy Mackintosh, a landscape architect with the Town of Cary, said she hopes the .4-mile stretch – one of two remaining segments to be completed on the greenway – will be finished as soon as possible.
“We don’t have any funding for construction right now, so it’ll be when we have money,” she said. “I don’t think it will be before 2016 at the earliest, but we’re applying for grants and looking for other sources of money.”
About 60 people attended an open house at the Cary Senior Center Tuesday, Aug. 11, to ask questions and share thoughts on the project’s design.
“We had people waiting for us at the door when we got here, so there’s a lot of interest,” said Lori Cove, Cary’s director of transportation and facilities. “It’s a very important gap we would love to have filled.”
The greenway will eventually connect Cary’s Bond Park to the popular American Tobacco Trail. The other remaining gap is a 2-mile path from Green Level Church Road to the American Tobacco Trail. It’s expected to be filled in the end of 2017.
The estimated total project cost for both remaining segments is $9 million with $3 million to come from the 2012 bond referendum. The bonds will partially fund construction of the Green Level Church Road to American Tobacco Trail segment and the design of the MacArthur Drive to Davis Drive section until additional money can be acquired through grants and local funding.
For the stretch of greenway discussed Tuesday, there will be additional costs associated with constructing a tunnel to navigate under railroad tracks and a boardwalk to go over a nearby stream.
“The tunnel is primarily to get under the railroad,” Cove said. “It definitely adds expense and complication. The complicated issue is there is a stream, so we have to be sure to keep the water out of the tunnel.”
Of the two options the town was given by CSX railroad company – go under or over the railroad tracks – Mackintosh said a tunnel is more financially feasible but still poses challenges. She said the town hopes to construct another tunnel beneath Davis Drive one day as funding becomes available.
But many residents at Tuesday’s open house are eager to see the entire greenway completed soon.
Cary resident Paula King, who lives near the site, said she has been waiting for the MacArthur-to-Davis Drive segment of the greenway since she moved to the area 23 years ago. She said the greenway would improve accessibility to the American Tobacco Trail and schools along Davis Drive.
“It’s frustrating to see everyone else get their greenway completed and not us,” she said. “It has been a long time coming, and we are so excited about it.”
Dave Berger, the president of the Parkway Community Homeowners Association, said he knows of a nearby resident who is concerned about the walkability of the greenway when it rains because it often floods in the area behind his home where the greenway will run.
“It does flood during the rain but it doesn’t pool,” Berger said.
Mackintosh said about 35 to 47 people per hour used the existing greenway, as of 2012, but she expects it’s used more frequently since then.
“Probably when the whole trail is connected, it will go up even more,” she said.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @KTrogdon