Durham Belt Line: Updates and Rumors

To me, one of the most exciting projects in Durham isn't a private development at all. It's the Durham Belt Line that I previously wrote about here.

The Belt Line will create shared green space for Durham, connect downtown neighborhoods for non-car modes of transportation, and give the downtown an even stronger sense of identity. It will also be a great amenity, promoting new development along the park, including plans for affordable housing developments, so Durham can further its mission of shared prosperity.

Recently, rumors have been floating around that the project has been stalled and was even on the brink of collapse. I decided to reach out to the City of Durham to see if these rumors had any validity and thankfully, it looks as though the project is on course.

Below is my Q&A exchange with the Construction Project Manager for the city:

What stage of the process is the development of the Durham Belt Line in currently?

Planning; specifically reviewing qualifications of engineering firms to provide design services for the “base trail” as described in the Belt Line Master Plan. Firm selection , negotiating a contract and obtaining required approvals for the design contract will probably run into early fall.

Have there been any delays? If so, what was the cause?

There has been a slight lag in review times at NCDOT but nothing untoward

Are there any additional roadblocks that you see posing a threat to the project in the future?

None at this time

How secure is the funding for the Durham Belt Line project?

The “base trail” as described in the Belt Line Master Plan is about 64% funded. The gap is anticipated to be closed with state transportation funds

What is the current expected timeline?

Design is anticipated to take 18 months once a design contract is in place. Construction is anticipated to take another 18 months. Funding and permitting approvals will be secured during the  design phase. There are a multitude of factors that will influence the exact timing of the many, many approvals needed and specific dates of ground breaking and project opening.

Thanks to the City of Durham for the updates and transparency. Share your thoughts and comments on the forum topic here!

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