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Smith Creek Greenway nears final design

Path will connect Wake Forest to Raleigh

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WAKE FOREST — Plans are nearly finished for the final segments of a 2.5 pedestrian pathway that will connect Wake Forest to the Raleigh greenway system.

The design for the Smith Creek Greenway, which will extend from Heritage High School to the Neuse River Greenway, includes boardwalks over the natural landscape, 10-foot-wide asphalt paths and various wayfinding signage at intersections.

The Wake Forest Board of Commissioners got its first look at the design of the final segment of the path on Tuesday.

Commissioner Liz Simpers said boardwalks, while used to reduce environmental impact, “for some reason makes it so much cooler. I don’t know why, but it’s just so neat.”

Only one of three phases of the greenway has been built; a segment that ends at Burlington Mills Road was constructed in 2003. Plans for the remaining two phases should be finalized this year, engineering firm Stewart Inc. told commissioners.

The final phase will include access points to Margot’s Pond and Smith Creek subdivisions; however, the Margot’s Pond access will be too steep to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Signs there will point pedestrians to other entrances if they can’t manage the 14 percent grade.

“It’s a steeper grade than we expected,” project manager Doug Taylor told commissioners.

Phase 3 will cost an estimated $1.5 million to build and construction could take as many as 12 months, Taylor said. Final designs will likely be submitted in March.

Phase 2 will cross the Neuse River and end at Ligon Mill Road, where Phase 3 will pick up until it ends at Heritage High. Parking access will be built at Ligon Mill Road.

Once completed, the greenway will connect to the Sanford Creek Greenway in Wake Forest. It will also extend into Raleigh, where it will link with the Capital Area Greenway System.

“It’s part of a bigger project to close the gap of Smith Creek Greenway so that people can have access from Wake Forest all they way to Clayton,” said Suzette Morales, the town’s transportation division manager.

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