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American Tobacco Trail Paves the Way for Pedestrians, Bicyclists in Wake, Durham and Chatham Counties

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DURHAM — Growth in the Triangle has created crowded roads and monster-size gridlock, but bikers and walkers are also feeling the squeeze. After a decade of planning, relief is on the way in Durham as the first part of the American Tobacco Trail takes shape.

The trail follows the path of old rail beds that brought tobacco to the American Tobacco warehouse in Durham, and it will provide an important link for the Triangle.

The trail, which will ultimately be over 30 miles, will pave the way for thousands of cyclists and pedestrians in Durham, Wake and Chatham counties.

Right now, there are 3.9 miles worth of trails in Durham; the first section of the American Tobacco Trail will nearly double that.

Mindy Cervi enjoys using the existing trails with her dog Watson. She agrees that there is a need for more.

"There's like two main bike trails and people are often trying to do both, and it's not working very well," Cervi says.

The new trail will wind through woods and provide both bikers and walkers a safe way to get over busy streets, while enjoying nature and some fresh air.

The first section of the American Tobacco trail will open June 3. It will include a bridge that crosses I-40 near the newStreets at Southpoint mall, due to open in 2001.