Update on I-40 Bridge Background and Status

Bruce Siceloff, who writes the Road Worrior column for the News & Observer, has put together a nice summary of the various problems and delays encountered in constructing the ATT's I-40 bicycle and pedestrian bridge http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/12/23/3482682/road-worrier-durhams-i-40... . The replacement components for the bridge are expected to be received soon. Durham still has not set a firm date for completion of the bridge beyond the late January date referred to by Marvin Williams in an early December letter to the Durham News.

End of Year Message from TRTC

TRTC Board members installing wheel stops at the Pittard Sears parking lot in April 2013

Dear Friends of the American Tobacco Trail,

Season’s greetings and happy holidays from Triangle Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (TRTC)! It’s almost the end of the year and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your help in the past, keep you up to date on what we have been doing this year, and ask you for your continuing support. Any amount you can spare will be welcome as we continue to maintain, promote and improve the American Tobacco Trail and local rail-trails. Here is some of what we have been doing in 2013 with your donations and support:

Special projects: We finished work on and opened the Pittard Sears parking lot just before Christmas last year. The 21 vehicle site, which gets regular use, provides a safe (and legal) alternative to parking on O’Kelly Church Road. Donations to TRTC and funds from the Tobacco Road Marathon were key to allowing this long term ATT facility to happen.
Using a nearby Cary water line and grant funds from REI and the town of Cary, we were able to purchase and install a drinking fountain at this parking lot. The Pittard Sears fountain is the last water stop for southbound users of the ATT. Your donations and grants helped put this in place (and help to pay the water bill). Water is available in all except the winter months.
In 2014 we will continue to work with Durham City and County to develop a new parking facility just east of the trail crossing on Scott King Road. ATT user parking along the road has seen a steady increase for several years and additional capacity is clearly needed. Projected funding from these governments for this lot appears to be quite limited and we will also look for support from other groups such as the NC Horse Council.

Trail safety: We have purchased and installed several Pass with Care signs along the Durham section of the ATT to encourage safe passing by cyclists. Several more will be installed after all sections of the trail near the bridge are completed. We have also been encouraging NCDOT to lower the speed limit to 35 mph on Scott King Road and to install the large warning signs in both directions to alert them to this busy trail crossing. We expect to see signs up early next year.

Trail maintenance: We held several targeted workdays this year. These included cleanup in the area north of Hillside High to Fayetteville Road with Duke MBA students, as well as renewing the gravel surface of the Fayetteville Road parking lot (south of Southpoint Mall), installing a water bar on the access trail, trimming grass at the trailhead, and cleaning up trash items from the lot and connector path. We also held several workdays on the 2.2-mile Eagle Spur rail-trail south of Stagecoach Road, to remove downed trees and carry out trash. Eagle Spur is an unimproved rural wooded trail corridor leading to Jordan Lake on land now managed by the NC Fish and Wildlife Commission; it is popular with fishermen, hunters and hikers.

Trail events: We handed out maps and information at several events this year, including Durham’s Trail Kick-off in April, the Eno River Festival in July and the ATT bridge-over-I-40 Opening Event in October (the bridge, we know you want to know, is now scheduled open to open in early 2014 and we are hopeful that this will be the case). We also volunteered at the Tarwheels Bike Fest in August and the ATT 10 miler running race.

Maps: We are preparing a revision of our ATT map that will be issued by late-Spring 2014. A key part of this effort will be a project by TRTC to measure and mark the entire ATT at quarter mile intervals soon after the I-40 bridge is open for public use. TRTC has taken the lead in getting the governments in Durham, Chatham and Wake Counties to agree to use these measurements as the basis for new, uniform mileage markers on the trail using a unitary north to south system (Mile 0.0 at the DBAP and Mile 22.5 south of US 64).

Other Essential Trail Support: We continue to pay for regular service to the porta-jon that we brought back into service this past July at the Fayetteville Road parking lot south of Southpoint Mall.
In sum, we continue to work as volunteers to make the American Tobacco Trail (and its little sibling the Eagle Spur Trail, originally part of the same rail line) great places to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Your donations help us to build connector trails, do maintenance, create and print trail maps, fund important special projects and provide water – and that porta-jon – for trail users. All of us at TRTC thank you for your continued support. Please consider us in your holiday giving, by purchasing or renewing a membership and making a tax-deductible donation to TRTC.

You can donate online by going to www.triangletrails.org/membership and paying via PayPal, or you can send us a check payable to Triangle Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Inc. (TRTC)
P.O Box 61091
Durham, NC 27715-1091

If you have any questions about joining or making a tax-deductible contribution to TRTC, or if you have any questions about your existing or past membership, please contact TRTC Treasurer at: michaelforte@hotmail.com
With thanks for your support,
Curt Devereux
President
Triangle Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

I-40 Bridge Probably Not Ready for Santa This Year But He Can Use ATT Along Massey-Chapel Road

A recent letter to the Durham News http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2013/11/22/3390528/your-letters-nov-24.html from Marvin Williams, the Director of the City's Public Works Department, has pushed completion of the I-40 bridge to January 2014. These delays have pushed back TRTC's planned effort to measure the entire ATT from the Durham Bulls Ball Park to the ATT's terminus south of U.S. 64. We originally planned for the project to be done in August 2013 but have had to re-schedule it to late October, then to December and now to at least late January. These measurements will allow for a unitary north to south mileage scheme and for the future installation of uniform mileage signs by all three counties. Currently the mileage markers run from south to north in Wake and Chatham and from north to south in Durham. With the new scheme the Durham Ballpark will be mile 0.0 and marks will be made at quarter mile intervals.
The trail segment along Massey-Chapel Road has progressed nicely over the last month with asphalt paving on October 31st and safety fencing installed over the past two weeks.

Extension of Porta-Jon Service, New ATT Construction Images

Good news for trail users in south Durham, TRTC's Board approved a longer term extension of porta-jon service at the Fayetteville Road Trailhead. With the growing number of people using this section of the ATT this unit has received lots of use since we re-started service there in late July. Since the restrooms at Solite Park and Herndon Park will be closing soon for the Winter months, the porta-jon at Fayetteville Road will be the only facility close to the trail on the Durham section over the next few months. We have posted images showing progress on the new ATT section being completed along Massey-Chapel Road in our ATT Construction section: http://www.triangletrails.org/gallery/att . Asphalt paving was put down on October 31st and is seeing lots of use even while work is continuing on the shoulder.

Durham Sees Two Month Delay in I-40 Bridge Completion

On October 2nd Durham announced that recent inspections of the bridge had discovered problems with the safety fencing which must be addressed before the bridge can be opened for public use. According to Marvin Williams, director of the City’s Public Works Department: An issue with the pedestrian safety fencing was discovered during a recent inspection of the posts that are a part of the fencing. The fabricated angle of the fence posts, constructed by an out-of-state contractor, as well as the condition of the factory-installed paint was unsatisfactory. The repairs could cost anywhere from $200,000 to $300,000, but will not be incurred by the City. “This is an important safety issue, and we can’t open this bridge until corrections are made by the contractor. At this point, we anticipate opening the bridge in December 2013,” Williams said. “We realize that limiting access to the bridge at this time is unfortunate and will be an inconvenience to all users. However, the ability to protect pedestrians as well as properly maintain this bridge for all current and future users is also important, and we ask for patience and understanding as we make sure this gets done correctly.” The new estimate for completion of the bridge is mid-December. An article by Jim Wise of the Durham News provides commentary on Durham's efforts on developing the ATT http://www.thedurhamnews.com/2013/10/08/3262475/histories-the-durham-way...
The October 12th Opening Event will still be held from 9-11 am at the SouthPoint parking lot just north of Renaissance Parkway (see Map at http://www.triangletrails.org/pdfs/SetUpMap.pdf ) but there will not be any access to the bridge by the public.

Bridge Construction on the Home Stretch

A recent article in Durham's Herald-Sun http://www.heraldsun.com/news/localnews/x1576247474/Tobacco-Trail-bridge... discusses some interesting features of the bridge's construction. The cement decking for the bridge was poured on August 27th and as of early September, the contractor estimates completion for later this month. Durham has confirmed October 12th as the date for the grand opening event.

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