Re-bid for ATT Bridge and Trail to Start in November

Durham staff have announced that the second bidding documents will be released to potential bidders on November 15th and a bidders Q&A session is set for November 30th. Bid opening by the City has been set for December 15th. Assuming at least one proposal comes in within the increased funds now available, this could allow an Award to be made in the February-March period. To keep up with the status of these efforts please check in on the City's web site.

ATT 10 Miler Set for Saturday October 22

Only about four weeks until the 2011 ATT 10 miler! The North Carolina Road Runners Club created the American Tobacco Trail 10 Miler in 2007 to raise awareness and support for the growing trail system throughout the Triangle. Proceeds from these races will help American Tobacco Trail development and maintenance through the Triangle Rails to Trails Conservancy. Packet pick-up for race participants will be held at the White Oak Church Road parking area from 7:30 to 8:30am and parking there will be very limited during the morning hours. The trail will still be open to the general public on race morning for hiking, biking, recreational running and for equestrian use but we are urging all users to be mindful of trail etiquette. For more information on the race including volunteer opportunities, please go to the NC Roadrunners site. If you want to join TRTC's volunteers on race day, please go to the Volunteer Form for this race

Officials Reach Agreement on Supplemental Funding for ATT Phase E Projects

In a September 14th meeting, the Durham-Orange Transportation Advisory Committee considered several options for additional funding and have opted to use ~3.5 million$ from a reserve fund which had been set aside to cover cost overruns, small and county transportation projects, and initiatives for Triangle Transit. An earlier proposal to reallocate funds that had been set aside for future sidewalks in Durham was turned down after serious concerns expressed by Durham representatives. Officials from the two counties agreed it made sense to use the reserve given that the tobacco trail’s completion has been threatened by a budget shortfall. “It’s a regional project that affects the central part of the State, and we need to move forward,” Durham City Councilman Mike Woodard said, after Mayor Bill Bell and Councilwoman Diane Catotti had also signaled support for using the money. The decision must now be approved by the Durham/Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization. Some changes to the specifications for the bridge are being considered such as allowing the contractor to have 18 rather than 9 months to assemble components for the bridge. No date has been set for start of the second bidding but if MPO approval can be settled in 30-60 days this could happen by the first of the year. It now appears construction will not start until sometime in the Spring. For more detail on the meeting please see the September 15th Herald-Sun article.

First Annual Ales for Rail-Trails 5K

North Carolina Rail-Trails, perhaps our closest sister organization, will be holding their first annual 5K race in downtown Durham on October 9th. The race starts at the Fullsteam Brewery at 4pm and will include a short section on the American Tobacco Trail. Race proceeds will benefit the advocacy and rail-trail development efforts of North Carolina Rail-Trails. Registration can be through Active.com or by check. For the links and updated information, please see the race announcement on the North Carolina Rail-Trails site.

10/11: Race results are now posted on the NCRT site and pictures will be posted soon.
10/19: Initial pictures now posted on NCRT's Facebook Page.

Bull City Open Streets Event --October 9th

Bull City Open Streets (BCOS) will hold their fourth and final 2011 event on Sunday afternoon October 9th. The roads along Central Park and around Durham Athletic Park will be closed to car traffic, making active transportation easy and safe. Event highlights include: dance classes, bicycle powered smoothies, scavenger hunt, food trucks, skate demo, cake-off and much more. For background info, please see the BCOS Site, Event Flyer and the Open Streets Facebook page.

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. For more background on this long running project please see Jim Wise's article in the News & Observer http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/08/04/1390164/tobacco-trail-bridge-dela...

And there's more in a Durham Herald-Sun article http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/14968462/article-Plans-for-trai... on August 6th.

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. Please see the http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/15248996/article-Advisers-quest... August 28th Herald-Sun article for more on this issue. 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.

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