Cary, Apex consider greenway link

akenney@newsobserver.comJune 10, 2013 

— Planning is underway for the last major link in western Wake County’s highway for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The towns of Cary and Apex, along with Wake County, may lay out a combined $7 million to extend White Oak Creek Greenway two miles west and fill in a gap.

The division of costs and the rough plan are set for consideration by the Cary Town Council at a meeting on Thursday, and the Apex Town Council is also expected to discuss the project at some point.

Under the proposed agreement, Apex would pay comparatively little for the project, though it has jurisdiction over much of the two-mile westward extension. While that segment is projected to cost $5 million, Apex would pay $285,000 and would also cover maintenance costs.

Cary would pay about $3.2 million to finish the projects, and the two towns would ask Wake County for a further $3.5 million.

Most of the new western section of the greenway will run through unincorporated rural land.

The half-mile section within Cary town limits will thread a pathway over or under the CSX railroad near Davis Drive Park, connecting two existing greenway segments.

The westward part of the project will connect Cary to the American Tobacco Trail, providing access to New Hill and Durham.

There’s some hope that state or federal grants will defray the cost of the project, but Cary town staff say that won’t happen until the governments cement the “interlocal agreement.”

“Due to the regional significance of this missing link, this project is considered a priority by Wake County and a strong candidate to receive grant funding in order to complete it,” according to a Cary staff report.

Cary has spent about $3 million to build 5.3 miles of the White Oak Creek Greenway to date. The bond package approved by voters in 2012 included a further $3 million for the project.

Construction of the two west-end miles could begin in 2014 and end in 2015. The half-mile gap could be filled by 2016.

Kenney: 919-460-2608 or twitter.com/KenneyOnCary

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