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Energy & Environment

Construction Begins On Vital Cross Charlotte Trail Segment

The City of Charlotte has started construction on a new section of greenway. It’s part of a larger plan for a network of greenways called the Cross Charlotte Trail that will go from the South Carolina border to Cabarrus County. The project had a significant funding shortfall earlier this year, but it’s now back on track.

Walk along Brandywine Road near the Park Road Shopping Center, and you’ll see white and orange flags tied to stakes in the ground. They mark a 1.5-mile route south, along Little Sugar Creek, to Tyvola Road. It’s the next segment of the Cross Charlotte Trail, a partnership between the city and Mecklenburg County. When it’s completed, the project will feature more than 31 continuous miles of greenways in the Charlotte region.

And this segment is an important one. Joe Frey is leading the project for the city.

"People would be able to get on the trail in south Charlotte, even down in Pineville, and get all the way into uptown on a completed, paved pathway," Frey said. "This is that gap that everyone’s waiting to happen."

Frey expects to complete this segment in late 2021. He says the topography of Little Sugar Creek means building the segment comes with significant challenges.

"We’re having to carve into those creek banks, and put in retaining walls," he said. "We’re also having to cross it, and bridge over it, and we’re building some elevated boardwalk, where you see the trail up in the air, on legs. And that’s a little bit harder to put in, too."

The City of Charlotte posted a flyover animation to help residents visualize what the Brandywine-Tyvola segment of the Cross Charlotte Trail might look like when it's completed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-VjJgpSF98&feature=youtu.be

Planning for the Trail started in 2015 with $38 million in bond money. It came as a surprise earlier this year when the city learned the Trail had a significant funding shortfall. City Council later approved another $54 million to finish the project using general city funds and cost savings from other projects. The current Cross Charlotte Trail doesn't have a completion date right now.

The City of Charlotte's map for all segments of the Cross Charlotte Trail. (Key: Green: built greenways; Yellow: Planned Trail for City to build; Red: Planned for County to build)
Credit City of Charlotte
The City of Charlotte's map for all segments of the Cross Charlotte Trail. (Key: Green: built greenways; Yellow: planned for City to build; Red: planned for County to build)

When the Brandywine-Tyvola segment is finished, the Cross Charlotte Trail will have at least 16 continuous miles of greenway in South Charlotte. Cyclist Christine Weber commutes to uptown by bike near the segment’s route. She considers herself a patient person, but she’s tired of waiting for it to be finished.

"It’s excruciatingly slow," Weber said. "I get it, I know these projects take time, but it is painful to wait this long."

Weber said this section will make her hour-long bike commute safer, and cut it down by 10 minutes. She appreciates that Charlotte is giving citizens other options for getting around the city. But, she feels the growing city needs those options now, not in a couple of years.