New trail opening soon

October 19, 2009 11:02:37 AM PDT
Come this November, cyclists will be able to pedal from south of Highway 64 in the Apex area all the way to Durham County on the American Tobacco Trail. Work is nearing completion on two new bridges over Panther Creek and Northeast Creek. Before the construction, the old railroad trestles used to mark the end of the road for anyone who wanted to run, walk, or ride the trail from southern Durham County through Chatham to Wake.

Click here for pictures

Project manager Joe Godfrey with the Town of Cary said the work on the new sections is expected to be complete in early to mid November. The public will be allowed to use them then, and an official ribbon cutting will happen sometime in spring 2010. Until then, the parts of the trail under construction are closed to the public and large orange signs warn folks to keep out.

Trail offers variety

With the completion of the new sections, the trail offers a lot of variety for runners, walkers, horses and cyclists.

Headed north, the trail starts south of Highway 64 near Apex and Jordan Lake and continues through Wake County with a packed surface of gravel screenings. A converted railroad bed, the wide trail features gentle hills and a woodsy route that often offers views of wildlife and natural scenery.

Click here for maps and more info at triangletrails.org

The Wake County section also features three parking areas off Olive Chapel Road, White Oak Church Road, and Wimberly Road. The first two also offer bathrooms.

Chatham County

Once the trail passes into Chatham County, the new sections under construction offer gravel screenings on one side, and a generous 10-foot paved strip for road cyclists and walkers.

Parking is available at three points (see map).

Durham County

Passing into Durham County, the trail changes to mixed gravel and dirt before it ends just south of Interstate 40. There's a parking area and access point off Fayetteville Road just south of the Streets at Southpoint mall.

The plan is to bridge the interstate - possibly as soon as next year - and link up with the paved trail that begins at the Southpoint Crossing shopping center on Fayetteville Road and runs all the way to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park downtown.

Read more about the proposed I-40 bridge at bullcityrising.com

When the whole project is finished, there will 23 miles of uninterrupted trail, and cyclists could potentially commute all the way from Apex to downtown Durham without ever having to ride on the street.

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