Hillsborough to Start Construction on Riverwalk Phase II

Press Date: 

The Town of Hillsborough has started construction on the second phase of the Riverwalk greenway, a trail along the Eno River corridor.

Construction is expected to last eight to ten months, depending on weather. The trail could be open as early as fall 2014 for public use. Citizens are advised to stay out of construction areas for their safety and to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity.

Riverwalk Phase II Details

Riverwalk Phase II is a 1-mile greenway to be built by D.H. Griffin Construction Co., with construction management services provided by Summit Design and Engineering Services. This section of the trail will provide additional public access to Hillsborough’s Gold Park and will connect the park to a trail in River Park in downtown Hillsborough. Riverwalk’s first portion opened in 2009, with nearly 1 mile of paved loop trails in Gold Park, located on Dimmocks Mill Road in West Hillsborough.

This second phase, which also will include loop trails, will consist of 8-foot-wide paved multi-use paths as well as 5-foot-wide paved secondary trails. This east-west connection for the town will link Gold Park to the downtown commercial district and nearby neighborhoods. Its route was selected to provide only gentle grades that will be easily accessible to citizens who use wheelchairs as well as bicycles, strollers and other non-motorized wheeled vehicles.

In addition to providing a comprehensive pedestrian network for recreation and commuting in town, Riverwalk Phase II will be the primary route for the N.C. Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the first section of the statewide trail system to be constructed in Orange County. It also will be one of the few sections of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail located in an urban environment, giving users easy access to restrooms, restaurants and shopping.

As part of this second phase of construction, two bridges crossing the Eno River will be built — one south of Calvin Street, which will connect with the existing covered boardwalk at Gold Park, and one north of the Eno River Parking Deck and Gateway Center on Nash and Kollock Street in the downtown. A low boardwalk section is planned at Riverwalk’s primary entrance in the downtown and will lead from the bridge at the parking deck to existing trails in River Park, spanning an area wet from multiple stormwater drainage sources. Invasive plant species will be removed, and native plants will be added to either side of the boardwalk, improving the site’s aesthetic and water quality. A viewing platform on the south side of the river will be built south of South Wake Street.

The estimated cost for the Phase II construction is $1.86 million, partially funded by a $425,000 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. The town has committed more than $3 million to the project since the beginning, which has been leveraged by more than $1 million in grants.

Riverwalk Phase III, Related Projects

A contract for the design and engineering of Riverwalk’s third phase has been awarded to Summit Design and Engineering Services. Phase III will connect the existing River Park trail to lands owned by Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. The preservation trust will pursue a separate schedule of construction for trail portions on its property, including two bridges connecting Riverwalk with the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail and Ayr Mount Historic Site and its Poet’s Walk. The trust will partner with the town for consistent bridge design.

A related project will build sidewalk segments connecting neighborhoods to Riverwalk along Allison, Calvin, Nash and Occoneechee streets as well as improving safety and access at the commercial end of South Nash Street. These connector sidewalks will be built on a similar construction schedule as Riverwalk Phase II but will be funded separately through funds from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

The Calvin Street Greenway along the Eno River south of Calvin Street will provide a connection from Calvin Street to Riverwalk and Gold Park. The 300-foot paved path will include a 100-foot elevated walkway. Its construction has been awarded to McQueen Construction.

More Information

Riverwalk was conceived in the late 1990s by citizens who wanted to see the Eno River corridor utilized for walking and hiking trails. A feasibility study was conducted in 2001, providing information about the corridor’s environment and proposing a route for the trail. More than a decade of planning has occurred, and Riverwalk is a key component in the Hillsborough Community Connectivity Plan, adopted in 2009. The greenway will connect the town’s various trail systems with the first linear trails in town.