Cary News

Cary saves millions on greenway projects using federal, county money

As residents seek more alternate modes of transportation, Cary is taking advantage of grants from federal and local governments to extend the town’s vast network of greenways and bicycle trails.

In January, the Cary Town Council approved entering into four agreements – two with the N.C. Department of Transportation and two with Wake County – to receive about $3.2 million for three town greenway projects.

“We leverage federal and state money whenever we can, and greenways are a great way to do that,” councilwoman Lori Bush said. “It’s a way for us to create community.”

The town has 82 miles of greenways and trails.

One current project – the Crabtree Creek Greenway – will receive more than 80 percent of its funding from federal and county grants. The project, which will be completed in late 2018, will cost $5.3 million.

The federal funding comes from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, which provides funding for transportation projects to help meet requirements of the Clean Air Act. A Wake County Open Space grant will provide an additional $500,000.

The town will add 1.7 miles of trail along the southern edge of Lake Crabtree to increase access to parks, schools and where people work.

The Panther Creek Greenway project involves the construction of about 1.5 miles that will extend from Cameron Pond Planned Development District to Cary Park Lake. It is part of a proposed 4.9-mile greenway to extend from N.C. 55 to the American Tobacco Trail that would link three parks, two schools and seven other greenways.

The 1.5-mile segment is expected to be completed in 2017 and will cost $1.4 million. The town will receive about $1 million of CMAQ funds for project construction.

For the White Oak Greenway project, Cary received about $565,000 of Wake County Open Spacing funding to complete a 2-mile segment that will extend from Green Level Church Road to the American Tobacco Trail. Only one other segment of White Oak Creek Greenway would need to be constructed to complete the 7.3-mile trail, which will run from Bond Park to the American Tobacco Trail.

The final segment is about 0.5 miles, connecting MacArthur Drive to Davis Drive. While it is short, it will be expensive because it will require a bridge or tunnel crossing of a CSX rail line and Davis Drive.

The town has already received about $2.7 million in federal funding for both segments and has applied for additional funds for the 0.5-mile segment. The two segments are expected to cost $9 million.

The American Tobacco Trail connection will be complete by winter 2018. There is no estimated completion date for the MacArthur Drive-Davis Drive segment because the town’s staff is seeking grants to fund its construction.

“Now there’s access to greenways in Morrisville and Raleigh and the American Tobacco Trail,” Bush said. “Pretty soon, if you want, and you can do this today, you can go from Cary to Durham on a greenway, and it’s a fun ride.”

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon