Portions of the American Tobacco Trail may provide more adventure than you want | Summer Guide | Indy Week
Pin It
All was fine for the first seven miles, a beautiful, flat, tree-lined route, passing creeks and swamps. Then I hit the Chatham County line.

Portions of the American Tobacco Trail may provide more adventure than you want 

Not AT(T) all


It sounded like a good idea. Twenty or so miles through the woods on a hard-packed dirt trail on a balmy, late spring day from Wake County to downtown Durham. What could be better?

The much-ballyhooed American Tobacco Trail (ATT) has been a public relations boon for Durham, Chatham and Wake county governments. The excitement over the reuse of old tobacco trails and train tracks fo recreation is understandable, But little has been said about how the trails are when you are walking/ riding/ running along the 22 miles that stretches from Apex to downtown Durham.

All was fine for the first seven miles, a beautiful, flat, tree-lined route, passing creeks and swamps. Then I hit the Chatham County line, where I was rebuffed by large signs declaring the trails closed for construction. Figuring it was minor grading, and having no other way to get back to Durham, I went around the sign and down the perfectly fine trail for another mile or so. Then I got to the bridge, or what will be the first of two bridges that will replace the old train trestles spanning the creek. But there was neither a trestle to tip toe across nor a bridge to walk on. There was no note of this problem on my map, and the projected completion date, according to a 2007 News & Observer story, was late 2008. The only option to reconnect with the ATT was a 6.5 mile-jaunt along N.C. 751 to The Streets at Southpoint, through its parking lot, and over Interstate 40 on Fayetteville Road.

I knew about the lack of a bridge near Southpoint, but the Chatham County hiccups were unexpected and unfortunate. Riding on 751 isn't rare, many road riders do it regularly, but it isn't fun, with only a small shoulder (if that), and cars flying by at 55 mph for much of the ride. Alone it wasn't so bad, just disappointing, but if one was out with family, it would be a perilous way to end a nice Saturday afternoon ride.

We make concessions for the time needed to complete great civic projects, but perhaps it's also our duty to ask occasionally if the projects are completed and worthwhile. The American Tobacco Trail is a great idea, and when completed it will be an asset to our area, but until then, stay on the Wake and Durham ends of the trail and leave the plans for a tri-county adventure for another year.

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Summer Guide

More by Jeremy M. Lange

Latest videos from the INDY

Twitter Activity

Comments

To get my ELF to cover 20-30 miles on a charge I run it at about 15 MPH instead of …

by Jiminy StAck on Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet? (Summer Guide)

Jiminy StAck--Great to hear about your Elf. However, can you please elaborate on how with the Elf's 14 mile range …

by Al Mayberry on Will the ELF, from Durham-based Organic Transit, save the planet? (Summer Guide)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2015 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation