The Town of Cary reports that the long-awaited construction of the American Tobacco Trail in Chatham County will begin Monday, Hanna permitting. The 4.68-mile stretch includes a pair of key bridges, one over Panther Creek, one over Northeast Creek. The Chatham trail is expected to open in May.
One of the two bridges that will be decked as part of the ATT construction that begins Monday.
The Chatham section of the American Tobacco Trail is currently passable, except for the two bridge crossings. The bridges — renovations of old, wood railroad bridges, one 157 feet long, the other 170 feet — will make it possible to travel undeterred from the southern terminus in Wake County north to just south of Durham's Streets at Southpoint mall, a distance of nearly 15 miles. Completion of the Chatham section will mean that the lone remaining missing link of the 22-mile American Tobacco Trail will be the stretch in Durham over Interstate 40. (Once over I-40 the trail picks back up and runs 7.4 miles to downtown Durham.)
The trail will be done in two parts. Part one will run from the Wake-Chatham line and run to New Hope Church Road; this section will be a 12-foot-wide swath of granite screenings, similar to the 6.5-mile stretch of the ATT in Wake County, the southern trailhead for which is off New Hill-Olive Chapel Road. From New Hope Church Road north to the Durham County line, the trail will include a 10-foot-wide paved asphalt path paralleled by a six-foot-wide trail of gravel screenings.
Why is Cary, which is in Wake County, handling construction of a project in Chatham County? Basically, because they can and Chatham can't.