Winston-Salem may get more than $875,000 in new money to spend toward building a biking and walking path beside Business 40, thanks to the state’s offer to acquire right-of-way in the vicinity of the BB&T Ballpark for the Business 40 improvement project.
The city’s Finance Committee endorsed the deal on Monday, sending the matter to next Monday’s meeting of the full council.
Winston-Salem officials said Monday that the state needs to buy permanent and temporary easements on the fringes of the ballpark as part of the project to renovate both the Peters Creek Parkway interchange and a mile-long segment of Business 40 downtown.
The state would pay about $1.05 million for the easements in and around the ballpark. About $175,000 of the amount will be needed to replace fencing and landscaping around the ballpark that will be torn out during construction.
The amount left over, slightly more than $875,000, will be earmarked for the biking and walking path that will eventually link Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and downtown as far as the Strollway near Liberty Street.
The pathway, called a multi-use path, has gotten strong support from the city’s bike riders. The path would criss-cross Business 40 a couple times and at one point pass through a tunnel that will be built under Peters Creek Parkway near the new interchange.
With the state’s right-of-way purchase, the city would be $1.4 million short of the total amount needed to construct the multi-use path, according to figures supplied by city officials.
The multi-use path got a boost in April when Winston-Salem officials learned that by paying $400,000 in city money they could get $1.6 million in state money for the path.
Another chunk of spending for the multi-use path is included in the Business 40 project itself.
Assistant City Manager Greg Turner said Monday that the money the city gets from the right-of-way purchases will be spent on parts of the pathway to the east of Peters Creek Parkway, where some remaining parts of the path were unfunded.
Work on the Business 40 improvement project gets underway this month on the part of the project involving the replacement of the Peters Creek Parkway interchange, where the existing four-lane bridge will be widened to seven lanes, with improved access ramps that have longer merging lanes for travelers getting onto Business 40.
Contractors will be doing the interchange replacement in stages over the next year, keeping both Peters Creek Parkway and Business 40 open during the work.
When the new interchange is finished by late 2018, the state will shut down Business 40 in between Peters Creek Parkway and U.S. 52 for a complete renovation of the freeway, with the entire road reopened in the summer of 2020.
Turner said the city will coordinate work on the multi-use path with the work on the freeway.
City officials said the state is paying the higher of two appraisals on the right-of-way being acquired. One appraisal came in around $745,000, but the state is paying the city the higher amount of more than $1 million.
It wasn’t clear Monday night why the state was willing to pay the higher amount.
“It is a gift horse, and I am not going to look in its mouth,” Turner said.