Completion of Underpass Connecting Brookshire to Boone Greenway Set for October

Published Friday, June 26, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Brookshirefour

By Josiah Clark

Watauga County is currently undertaking an ambitious project that will advance the South Fork Greenway initiative.

Scheduled to be completed by Oct. 15, Phase I of the South Fork New River Greenway project will connect the Boone Greenway to Brookshire Park with the creation of a 1.5 mile section of greenway that extends north from the Boone Greenway on New River Hill Road and passes underneath Highway 421. It will continue to the end of the Brookshire Park property.

This connector piece will be part of a much bigger project to create a larger trail system.

As reported by High Country Pathways, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) office in Raleigh is reviewing the permitting and engineering process of the Highway 421 pedestrian underpass, which will eventually connect Brookshire Park and the Boone Greenway.

The project is being funded through a $45,000 grant from the NCDOT.

The NCDOT has also awarded a $90,000 grant, to be used to construct a paved, 10-foot wide, 3,000-foot long greenway that will extend north from the Brookshire Park walking loop, and eventually be connected to the pedestrian underpass.

Eric Woolridge, who used to work for the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and is the founder and principal of Destination by Design, wrote grant letters to the NCDOT as far back as 2010 to secure funding for the project.

According to Woolridge, the primary mission behind the South Fork New River Greenway project is to provide a safe connector underneath Highway 421 that will lead directly into the Boone Greenway and Brookshire Park walking loop, and continue along a paved, 3000-foot greenway path.

“I would say this project represents another major accomplishment that was outlined in the Watauga County TDA’s 2010 Boone Area Outdoor Recreation Plan,” said Woolridge.

High Country Pathways has listed the near-term objectives for Phase I of the South Fork New River Greenway expansion project:

  1. Develop a 10-foot-wide paved trail segment that extends from the Brookshire Park walking trail, north until the end of the county’s property.
  2. Continue efforts with NCDOT to secure a pedestrian underpass under Highway 421.
  3. Begin easement exploration and landowner outreach between Brookshire Park and Todd.
  4. Secure grant funds to exercise the county’s options on a 1.5-mile conservation easement on property north of Brookshire Park.
  5. Continue to nurture relationships with the Town of Boone, the Green Valley Park Committee, the Todd Community Preservation Organization and the National Committee for the New River.

The county is currently seeking construction funds for Phase II of the South Fork New River Greenway Project, which will be to acquire property north of Brookshire Park, although new property acquisitions are dependent on further grant funding from the state.

“Our goal is to continue to work with landowners along that entire corridor and ultimately make it to Todd and Blowing Rock,” said Woolridge.

Here is a map, which details Phase I of the South Fork New River Greenway expansion project.

Here is a conceptual rendering of the Highway 421 pedestrian underpass, which will connect the Boone Greenway to Brookshire Park.

For more information about the South Fork New River Greenway project and its phases, contact: wataugapathways@gmail.com or visit the High Country Pathways website.

See some pictures below of the construction currently underway at Brookshire Park and the Boone Greenway:

 

Brookshiretwo

Brookshirethree

BrookshireParkone

BooneGreenwaytwo

BooneGreenwaythree

BooneGreenwayone

Comments

comments

Privacy Policy | Rights & Permissions | Discussion Guidelines

Website Management by Outer Banks Media