October 2011

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. 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. Periodic updates on this process can be found at the City's web site. December 8th Schedule Change: A wage dispute between the NCDOT and the U.S. Department of Labor has delayed the bid opening for this project. The dispute involves estimates the Labor Department uses to set wage rates for projects that use federal money, such as the long-awaited pedestrian/cyclist bridge near Southpoint Mall. City Manager Tom Bonfield notified City Council members Thursday that the dispute won't be settled until after Jan. 1. Therefore, the bid opening scheduled for Dec. 15 has been pushed off until Jan. 25. To read more please see article in the News & Observer.com

Good News in late December: N.C. Department of Transportation officials have given Durham the all-clear to take new bids on Jan. 25 from contractors interested in building the bridge over I-40 and construction of ~4miles of trail (Phase E of the ATT). DOT had tried to delay the use of new Federal wage guidelines on new projects until later in 2012 but has now decided to let Durham proceed with this procurement. For more on this story please see the recent Herald-Sun article.


Friends of Ecusta Providing Key Funding to Complete Impact Study

Ecusta Trail President Mike Oliphant presented a check to Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk to complete the funding for the Economic Impact Study for the Ecusta Trail project. In a tight budget year, enough funds were not going to be available through the City to pay for both the impact study and a planning study. The Friends of the Ecusta Trail raised enough funds through donations to allow the City to complete both studies. Gifts ranged from $10 to $5000, including one individual's challenge grant. City Manager Beau Ferguson remarked on how this is the first time in his career in municipal government where he has seen such willingness of citizens to partner with local government to help fund such an initiative. Funds for the study came primarily from residents of Henderson and Transylvania counties, however, some gifts were received from as far away as California and Illinois. Both the planning study and economic impact study are underway and should be completed in early 2012.

Friends of the Ecusta Trail is organized as a nonprofit organization to bring together people to build the Ecusta Trail, an 18 mile rail-to-trail project connecting Hendersonville and Brevard, and to promote the development of a network of multi-use trails in Henderson and Transylvania Counties to connect these communities for recreation, active transportation and economic development. For more information on the Ecusta Trail project, please visit the EcustaTrail site and an April '11 News article.



Small Church Group Reflects on Ales Race

We came across this blog posting describing one local runner's reflections about participating in our initial Ales for Rail-Trails Race. The runner is a member of the Tobacco Trail Church, a small group of outdoor enthusiasts focusing on the people and land near the American Tobacco Trail in Durham, North Carolina and the surrounding areas. They often gather at the Fayetteville Road trailhead of the American Tobacco Trail at 5:30pm on Sundays for their outings on the ATT. Several from the Church participated in our race and noted that they see helping groups such as NCRT raise money as part of their vision.

Meeting of West Pender Rail-Trail Alliance Supporters

The Alliance will be holding a general membership meeting on Sunday October 23rd in Patriot's Hall at Moores Creek National Battlefield Park in Currie, NC from 2 to 4pm. There will be chili and a brief presentation. This will be a great opportunity to touch base with everyone, give updates on our progress, hear everyone's ideas about development of the trail and organize a work day. It will also be a beautiful day to look around the Park. Here is a link showing  directions to the Park:

West Pender Rail-Trail Project Receives Initial Construction Grant

Pender County has been awarded $72,404 from the State of North Carolina Recreational Trails Program to develop the first segment of the West Pender Rail-Trail. The grant was prepared through the County’s Department of Planning and Community Development with input from the West Pender Rail-Trail Alliance, and will fund the development of 1.11 miles of a crushed stone surfaced trail from Vitamin Drive to the northern boundary of the Pender Commerce Park on US Highway 421, near the Pender–New Hanover County boundary. The trail will be 8' to 10’ wide, and suitable for bicycling, walking and jogging. This portion of the trail will be the first segment of a larger bicycle and pedestrian network planned to link the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial in Wilmington to the Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie. This project will utilize the former Seaboard Coastline Railroad corridor where possible, and may potentially span all the way to Fayetteville, connecting communities and providing a destination for tourism and outdoor recreation in the region. Trail development will utilize volunteer work where possible with help from the West Pender Rail-Trail Alliance, a non-profit group formed to advocate bicycle and pedestrian trail development in western Pender County. For information on volunteering with the Alliance please contact Susan Bullers at (910) 283-1788.