Temporary closures coming to south Charlotte greenways

Residents will soon see closures along the upper and lower McAlpine Creek and McMullen Creek greenways as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department and North Carolina Department of Transportation work on two different projects along the trails.

CMUD is working to install a relief sewer line under the Upper McAlpine Greenway. The project is needed in order to prepare for increased sewer capacity needs in the case of future growth in south Charlotte. Current sewer and natural gas pipeline corridors already exist along the greenway and another line is needed to ensure the protection of water quality in McAlpine Creek, officials say.

Pre-construction for the relief sewer has already started, as sewer contractors have been working along the greenway to complete rock profiling. Construction of the sewer line has already begun, but Gwen Cook, director of greenways for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, said sections of the greenway won’t be closed until construction hits Sardis Road.

“We don’t know CMUD’s accurate schedule because the weather is really impacting them,” Cook said. “We have to work with CMUD on projects like this. They are charged with providing water and sewer for our community.”

The sewer relief project is expected to take around 18 months to compete, Cook said, with Upper McAlpine Creek Greenway from Sardis to Independence Boulevard expected to be closed the majority of that time since the project will directly affect public facilities such as Boyce and McAlpine Creek parks. CMUD has promised to cover the sections with gravel, but in order to keep gravel out of the creek park officials plan  to repave that portion to provide better access for all greenway users.

Cook also said 5K trail events scheduled in McAlpine Creek Park from August to December will remain uninterrupted.

“We have worked with our focus group, which is comprised of people passionate about the greenway (and) we have agreed that we would request paving,” Cook said. “We are going to request that they allow us to return the 5K area to the way that it was before. And during 5K season, CMUD is not allowed to be active with construction at that time.”

Construction work on Interstate 485 also will close sections of Lower McAlpine Creek and McMullen Creek greenways. Work will soon begin on two bridges on I-485 that pass over the two greenways, causing sections of the trails to be closed until bridge widening is complete to ensure the safety of greenway users.

The section of McMullen Creek Greenway underneath the I-485 bridge closed Monday, May 13, and will remain closed for the remainder of the year. Construction of the bridge is scheduled to start in early June.

“McMullen closes first,” Cook said. “NCDOT is supposed to provide detour signage.”

The section of lower McAlpine Creek Greenway under the I-485 bridge will close later this month and will remain closed through summer 2014.

Detours will go along low-volume roads and should be marked by various signs along the trail.

“By using low-volume roads like Carmel, people can continue on the greenway so we’re not having to say ‘You can’t use the greenway for a year,’” Cook said.

The construction shouldn’t have an effect on the greenway underneath, Cook said, and greenways should be back to normal once the bridges are complete.

Crews are widening I-485 between Interstate 77 and Rea Road to four lanes in each direction. A concrete barrier is up on the inner loop of I-485 and construction will start soon on the highway. Crews hope to finish the entire widening project by December 2014, though bridge work should be done prior to that.

Cook said residents should remember to be careful and watch and follow any greenway instructions while construction is ongoing. Cook said residents should frequently check Park and Rec’s page on www.charmeck.org to stay up to date on information regarding the greenways.

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