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Deal should clear Big Creek Greenway delay

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County and a contracting firm have settled an issue that appears to have played a role in the delayed extension of the Big Creek Greenway and could clear the way for it to open this summer.

The county commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve a settlement agreement with CRS Building Corp., which the county hired to complete the fourth phase of the popular recreational path.

In a follow-up phone call after the work session, Commissioner Todd Levent explained that the reason for the settlement was that parts of the walkway had crossed onto private property.

“What I understand is that they missed marks on their survey and went over slightly in a couple of locations onto private land,” Levent said. “A couple of their curves they may have cut a little bit too sharp, and it wasn’t a tremendous amount.

“So basically the county just said, ‘Look, you need to figure out, either you move it where it’s supposed to be or you get with those landowners and work out something with that little piece of land.”

Levent was not sure exactly where the encroachments occurred, but said the issue contributed to the project’s delay.

The greenway starts near McFarland Parkway and currently spans 6.8 miles to Bethelview Road. Its 2.8-mile fourth phase, from Bethelview Road up to Kelly Mill near Johnson Road, remains under construction.

CRS was chosen to handle the work in 2013. No opening date has been announced. Officials have previously attributed delays to the weather and redesign work.

The fourth phase will extend the total length of the greenway to about 9.6 miles.

The greenway construction is being funded by the parks, recreation and green space bond program voters approved nearly eight years ago.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said Thursday that it was “very reasonable” that the fourth phase could open within 90 days.

Per a copy of the settlement, CRS will have five business days to deliver the county a letter covering reasons for delays and ensuring “that Phase 4 of the greenway will be opened for public use within 90 days of the remediation plan being approved.”

The company will also need to satisfy eight “punch list” items from a previous agreement, but will not owe liquidated damages, which would have cost $500 per  “each calendar day of delay not excused” by the original contract.

Last month, the commission approved altered plans for fifth phase of the greenway, including a task order change for one stretch and a redesign to avoid homes.

The route change was necessary to avoid denser residential areas on either Mountain Valley Circle and Valley Lane or Conley Drive, which had been part of previous plans.

Under the new version, the route will avoid both neighborhoods and travel farther down Canton Highway before reaching Spot Road Connector.

From there, it will travel to Spot Road before ending at the mountain. It originally would have reached the mountain directly from Spot. The fifth phase will add an additional 5.5 miles.