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UPDATE on Clayton's Pedestrian Tunnel & Greenway Extension into Downtown!


Clayton is Building a Tunnel & Greenway Extension into Downtown Clayton!
Construction brings temporary shutdowns of Legend Park, O’Neil Street & Sam’s Branch Trailhead

Construction has started on a $3.5 million greenway extension that calls for tunneling under O’Neil Street to extend the Sam’s Branch Greenway to Legend Park. This extension will give walkers, runners and bicyclists a safe and scenic trail into Downtown Clayton! The popular trail will be part of the East Coast Greenway and will connect to the Clayton River Walk on the Neuse section of the statewide Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Currently, the greenway dead ends at O’Neil Street.  

The Town of Clayton Economic Development Office helped to secure millions in Federal Highway Administration funds from the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for the Phase II of Sam’s Branch Greenway. This successful lobbying brings incredible savings to town taxpayers with $3,570,338 in federal funds going toward the project and Town being responsible for only $714,067 of that cost. 

The project work includes construction of 1.41 total miles of trail, consisting of 1.34 miles of new 10-foot-wide asphalt pathways, 270 feet of new 10-foot-wide wooden boardwalks, 60 feet of new steel bridge construction, a pedestrian tunnel under O’Neil Street and all of the associated roadwork, clearing, drainage, erosion control, and signage on the greenway.


The Fred Smith Company successfully bid the project and their crews are currently working. The original plan was to begin with the construction of the tunnel under O'Neil Street, however, the project has been flip-flopped, with work now underway at the opposite end of the trail extension: Legend Park off City Rd. The park, with its ball field and mountain bike trails, has been closed completely. We continue to see the public attempting to use the park despite signage, fencing and working construction equipment. For your safety during these dangerous clearing operations, the public should NOT be using this park. The length of the Legend Park closure is undetermined at this time. 

As an alternate, greenway users should access our trail system using the parking lot and trailhead at the Clayton River Walk on the Neuse Greenway (our section of the Mountains to Sea trail) and the Sam's Branch greenway, but heading to that popular access at 2686 Covered Bridge Road. Click to see a map of both trails.


The most difficult part of this project is construction of a pedestrian tunnel under busy O’Neil Street at the Sam’s Branch Greenway trailhead. Under the new project schedule, work at the Sam’s Branch Greenway Trailhead, 1358 N. O'Neil Street, will now likely start sometime in the spring of 2020.  When that  time comes, this construction WILL REQUIRE THE CLOSURE OF O'NEIL STREET TO ALL VEHICLE TRAFFIC PERHAPS FOR A MONTH OR MORE. More details will come as we near this future closure in 2020.  The Fred Smith Company and the Town of Clayton are working closing with NCDOT, town and county public safety officials and Johnston County Public School leaders to expedite the tunnel work and shorten the closure when it occurs. Again, a date has not yet been determined for this road closure but it will not happen in 2019. Residents of the Ashcroft subdivision will still be able to access their neighborhood entrance during the closure, however, they will not be able to turn south to head into Downtown Clayton. All traffic will need to detour using Covered Bridge Road to City Rd. to Stallings Street and to Robertson to access Main Street or US70. See detour map below and click to enlarge

Portions of O'Neil Street leading up to the full closure/construction area will be closed to LOCAL TRAFFIC ONLY. This will include the area from Oakdale Avenue and Atwood Drive near the entrance of the Ashcroft neighborhood. We’ll be sure to share updates when crews get to the point in construction where they need to close O’Neil Street to vehicle traffic and begin these detours and restrictions on travel. 

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