By Jesse Wood
April 1, 2014. On Tuesday, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners awarded a contract to J.W. Hampton Company to construct a portion of the Middle Fork Greenway that is located in between Boone and Blowing Rock for $350,616. This was $42,000 cheaper than the other bid from Greene Construction.
The commissioners also approved a contract for Vaughn and Melton for engineering and construction administration of the project that is in the amount of more than $38,000. Watauga County Planning Director Joe Furman recommended the board select Vaughn and Melton based on the firm’s experience and proximity to Boone as opposed to two other engineering firms that were in the running for the project: Blue Ridge Environmental Consultants and McGill Associates.
The part of the trail in question is 1,965 feet and is located in between Tweetsie and Mystery Hill and goes under the U.S. 221 highway and onto a piece of property that the county now owns known as the Whitener tract.
All in all the costs for this portion of the Middle Fork Greenway total nearly $389,000 with $375,000 of that total to be paid for with NCDOT funding from the Federal Highway Administration.
High Country Pathways (HCP) President John Lanman said on Tuesday that HCP agrees to provide any amount above the $375,000 in order to complete the project, and the commissioners directed County Attorney Four Eggers to draft an agreement between the county and HCP to protect the county from having to pay any costs that exceed $375,000.
For more on this specific project, click here.
Fore more about the Middle Fork Greenway project, which is a 6.5 mile multi-use greenway trail that will connect Boone and Blowing Rock, click here.
This trail will be a part of the New River Headwaters Trail, a network of three trails – Middle Fork Greenway, Boone Greenway and South Fork Greenway – connecting Boone, Blowing Rock and Todd, which is a project of High Country Pathways, an incorporated nonprofit specializing in trails, greenways and blueways throughout Watauga County.