WEST FORSYTH — Forsyth County is working to make recently approved changes to the final phase of the Big Creek Greenway a reality.
Commissioners voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve a new task order contract with Pond and Company, which has handled all design work on the project, for $37,815 to redesign a section of the popular pedestrian and biking path’s fifth phase.
Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt said during the work session that the contract is only for the third section of the fifth phase. Based on county documents, that stretch appears to extend from an area behind lots on Poplar Ridge Place to Canton Highway (Hwy. 20)
Responding to issues that one commissioner had with materials and plans for previous sections of the greenway, Merritt said it would be an improvement.
“This design is much improved … over what it has been in the past,” he said. “We have carried these changes, these deficiencies, back to Pond and said, ‘When you design again, make these changes, make these improvements in our design for our trail.’”
The new section is expected to have a primarily concrete surface, though Merritt said that could possibly change.
“That is the intent, but as we look to minimize the impact to other properties, we may need to put boardwalk in so we can stay close to a property boundary,” Merritt said. “That’s part of what they’ve got to look at.”
The commission approved new plans for the greenway on Feb. 4. 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.
Merritt said the section along Canton Highway has special factors.
“This is one of the last sections that Pond and Company will be designing for us,” he said. “The only section that will not be designed will be the section that runs along [Hwy.] 20, Canton Highway, that we hope we will be working with [state Department of Transportation] to do that last section.”
The DOT is developing plans to widen the corridor in the future.
The greenway starts near McFarland Parkway and currently spans 6.8 miles to Bethelview Road. Its 3.6-mile fourth phase, from Bethelview Road up to Kelly Mill near Johnson Road, remains under construction.
Work began in November 2013. No completion 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.
Also at the meeting Tuesday, commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the purchase of about 1.6 acres on Canton Highway, across from Spot Road Connector for $850,000.
The property appears to be the former site of North Atlanta Motors, and is planned to serve as a trailhead. It will be paid for using green space funding.
Both the task order and land purchase were approved on a time-sensitive basis.
The commission also voted 5-0 to move forward with a county-initiated rezoning for 3,804 square feet of land along Johnson Road, which was affected by the route redesign. That item was not time sensitive.