Durham Plans to Push Forward on Bridge for American Tobacco Trail

Durham has received and reviewed the bids for completing the ATT in Durham County. The lowest bid totaled some $7.7 million, ~2million more than costs estimated and funding available for the project. The City Manager and top staff are examining options to allow the bridge over I-40 and trail sections connecting the bridge to be contracted for soon with the balance to be done in a later phase starting in 2012. Additional funding from Durham may be obtained from dollars currently budgeted for sidewalks and greenways. Other funding from non-highway projects requested by the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO will also be explored. Coordination of such arrangements with NC DOT will be needed as well as approval by the City Council. An award date for the contract has not been estimated but could occur by October.
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Since August 6th, NC DOT has decided that Durham must rebid the project. We understand that the construction drawings will have to be broken out into two documents (for each phase), and each will have to be approved by NCDOT again before bidding can start. Tentatively one phase/project will be the bridge itself as well as the trail from NC54 to Renaissance (the approaches), and the other phase/project would be the rest of the trail. This breakout is tentative and may change as the construction drawings are revised. For more on these more recent events please see this August 10th Herald-Sun article http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/15002546/article-DOT-to-city--T... and a short piece from the the N & O's Bullseye Blog http://blogs.newsobserver.com/bullseye/tobacco-trail-bridge-delayed-again-0. Further status info can be found on the City's page on the American Tobacco Trail Project http://www.durhamnc.gov/departments/works/project_am_tob_trail.cfm
In late August, Durham City staff announced pending efforts to shift ~$3.8 Million from four Durham sidewalk projects to the Phase E project for the ATT. This shift must be approved by the Durham-Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization as well as by Durham's City Council. Further detail on this proposal can be found in a http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story_news_durham/15206013/article-Ci... August 22 article in the Herald-Sun. On August 28th a member of a key advisory board says Durham officials need to look harder at why the bids for an extension of the American Tobacco Trail came in about 38 percent higher than expected. The $2.1 million overrun ..."indicates the possibility of a serious error in judgment" by the engineers who designed the project and the city staffers who worked with them, said Toby Berla, a member of the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission.

Herndon Connector Trail Nearing Completion

Several years ago TRTC identified that users of the South Durham section of the ATT were often unaware that restrooms were available only a short distance from the trail at Herndon Park. As many users had asked us about facilities there and elsewhere on the trail we took action to try raise resources for construction of an all- weather path from the ATT to the Herndon building. Last year we were successful in getting a State Adopt-A-Trail grant and generous donations from the Carolina Tarwheels and the Tobacco Road Marathon. Construction of this 8' foot wide concrete walkway was completed in early June and is being used already. It is located ~600' north of Scott-King Rd. on the west side of the ATT. There is still some work remaining on the drainage basins and 1 small culvert but these should be done by late July. We're working to get signs to let trail users know of this new short cut to the restrooms. Take a look at some recent pictures of this fine new amenity.

 

Recent Status of Permitting and Approvals for Phase E of ATT

(ATT south of NC 54 and bridge spanning I-40)

Durham's Public Works Department web site has reinstated their posting of summaries of the project's status. The final permits have now been obtained and the Request for Proposals were released in early June. Opening of the formal, sealed bids is now scheduled for July 13th and a contract should be signed by early Fall. Construction is expected to require 1 year.

Parking Restrictions in Effect Near O'Kelly Trail Crossing

In early February the State DOT installed numerous NO PARKING signs on both sides of O'Kelly Chapel Road adjacent to the ATT crossing as well as at the other two crossings. Chatham County has informed us that the State Highway Patrol is now enforcing these restrictions as of ~ February 22, 2011. With these restrictions now in place, users wanting to access this area of the ATT may want to consider parking at Herndon Park (at Scott-King Road) or west of the crossing on Pittard-Sears road. The short utility access driveway just east of the crossing on New Hope Church Road is no longer available for trail parking since the town of Cary has recently posted No Parking signs there. We understand that Chatham County is looking into the sign postings on Pittard-Sears and New Hope Church Rd.

Tobacco Road Marathon Needs Volunteers

The second Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon will be held on the ATT on Sunday March 20th. Again this year, TRTC will be a benificiary of race proceeds. This is a large event and volunteers are needed on race day and on the 18th and 19th. Several of us from TRTC will be helping out on race day. There are volunteer opportunities for individuals and for groups. If you are interested in volunteering, please click on the Volunteer tab for details.

ATT Featured on UNC-TV

The American Tobacco Trail and rail-trails across NC are featured in Rick Sullivan's story on "North Carolina Weekend". TRTC's Dave Connelly and Board members from NC Rail-Trails were interviewed for this show on the trail. The show debuted on UNC-TV Thursday, Nov. 4th at 9pm. NC Weekend was repeated over the next few days on both UNC-TV and UNC-EX. For those who missed these on air showings, please go to a VIDEO of the Rail-Trails segment.

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