Project Description and Scope
The Swift Creek Greenway project area is a nearly 2.5-mile stretch located between Apex Community Park entrance on Lake Pine Drive to Koka Booth Amphitheatre, crossing US Highway 1 and US Highway 64 in the process. As envisioned in the Imagine Cary Community Plan’s MOVE chapter, this project encourages a healthy, active community by making biking and walking a safe, easy, and comfortable choice. It connects major destinations and provides opportunities to connect employment centers, neighborhoods, and commercial development via greenways and trails.
This Swift Creek Greenway Project fills a gap in our greenway network. The proposed trail will link south to Koka Booth Amphitheatre which connects to Harold D. Ritter Park and Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve. To the north, it will connect to Apex Community Park which provides a link to Cary’s greenway hub at Fred G. Bond Park. From the hub, users can easily access Lake Crabtree County Park, Umstead State Park, and with the completion of a couple of key segments of the White Oak Creek Greenway, the American Tobacco Trail.
The Project includes a grade-separated pedestrian crossing of the US-64 and US-1 corridors. There is currently an existing NCDOT project for improvements to US-64 through Cary and it currently appears that both the highway and greenway project’s construction could be coordinated. Located at a primary gateway into the Town, the greenway project also offers the opportunity for gateway features on one or both bridges. Providing a welcoming gateway into Cary, a non-standard bridge design could incorporate alternative designs such as pedestrian bridge artwork. In addition, a trailhead site has also been identified on Cary property. A final design needs to be completed to determine which options would best suit the project.
In 2010, the Town of Cary was awarded $195,000 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the “Lower Williams Creek Stream Restoration and Greenway Project.” Funds for this project provided for the evaluation, planning and design of a greenway along Lower Williams Creek, an upstream tributary of Swift Creek. In 2012 the Town’s consultant completed a plan for a greenway extending from Lake Pine Drive to US-1; however, no construction funding was allocated at the time.
To secure construction funds the Swift Creek Greenway (formerly referred to as the Lower Williams Creek project in the USDA grant), Town worked with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) to submit for funds to be considered through the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) in 2015. Two years later, the Town was notified that funding for design, right of way acquisition, and construction was awarded for the greenway project and phased over five years in the 2018-2027 STIP.
Project Cost, Schedule and Summer 2019 Update
In February 2018, the Town of Cary received the NCDOT agreement documents, subject to the availability of federal funds, for $12,240,000 to fund the construction of the Swift Creek Greenway. The Town of Cary is responsible for local matching funds in the amount of $3,060,000 (20 percent). The “AGREEMENT TIP NO: EB-5893” provides funding to construct approximately 2.5 miles of greenway, beginning at Lake Pine Drive, with existing greenway systems at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Total estimated cost of the project is $15,300,000.
Preliminary design will begin when NC DOT secures federal funding. In spring 2019, Cary was informed that federal funds would not be forthcoming. This project will not be moving forward at this time.
Brian Drake, P.E.