Home Page
Steele Creek News
About The Residents Association
About Steele Creek
Other Organizations and Sites
Message Board
Steele Creek Community Trail
Steele Creek Library Association
Rezoning in Steele Creek
Steele Creek in Local News Media
Maps of Steele Creek
Local Government
Contact Us


Plans for Walker Branch DIRTway Announced

Walker Branch DIRTway(July 30, 2013) At a community meeting yesterday, Christa Rogers of the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department announced plans for building a DIRTway along portions of Walker Branch in Steele Creek. TheDIRTway should be available for use by the public this fall.

DIRTways are unpaved, rugged temporary trails located on Mecklenburg County greenway property. Because it takes several years for a paved Greenway to be developed, DIRTways will give citizens an opportunity to enjoy the undeveloped greenway property in the meantime. The name DIRTway means a Developed Initial Rough Trail.

The DIRTway will have minimal maintenance and limited access. It will be mowed and have some signage. Users will cross creeks, ditches, and wetlands over flat stones, concrete pads, or small wooden platforms called bogboards. It will be appropriate for walkers and maybe bikers, but not for strollers and wheelchairs. Users should expect to get their feet muddy. There is no dedicated funding for constructing and maintaining DIRTways, so the cost will come out of general park operating funds.

DIRTways generally will follow the routes of future planned greenway trails, but the alignments could be different in some areas.

The map below shows the current Walker Branch Greenway Trail in solid green, the planned Walker Branch DIRTway in brown dashed lines, and sidewalk connectors in a black railroad symbol. Click HERE or on the map to open a larger, PDF version of the map in a new browser.

Walker Branch DIRTway

The Walker Branch DIRTway will have two sections. The first part will run from the current Walker Branch Greenway at RiverGate southeast to Smith Road. It will cross Walker Branch near the curve at the southeast portion of the greenway trail. Park staff initially will place flat stones in Walker Branch for use in crossing the creek. Later, a temporary bridge will be constructed. The bridge will not be substantial enough or high enough to withstand a major flood, but it should last until a permanent bridge is built in the next few years. Mecklenburg County owns land or has easements for the entirety of this route, so the DIRTway can be built with little delay.

This southeast portion is also the route of the future Walker Branch Greenway Trail extension. If the County Commissioners approve funding, planning should begin in fall 2015 and the trail could be open to the public in fall 2018. The greenway trail will be paved with asphalt and include a large, substantial bridge over Walker Branch that will accommodate strollers and wheelchairs and can withstand flood waters. North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to contribute to the construction cost, which will allow completion earlier than otherwise.

The second section of the DIRTway will be north of S Tryon St. The land in the portions of this route north and south of Huntington Forest subdivision are committed but not yet dedicated to the county, so the DIRTway trail initially can only follow the edge of Huntington Forest from an access point on Asheton Creek Drive to an access point on Ferguson Forest Drive. Access from Asheton Creek Drive to the existing Walker Branch Greenway Trail at RiverGate will be along sidewalks with a crossing at the light at the entrance to RiverGate.

When additional land is dedicated to the county for this trail, one section of DIRTway will be built from behind the Exxon station at Steele Creek Crossing shopping center to Huntington Forest at Asheton Creek Drive. This DIRTway will cross Walker Branch along an old highway bridge. Another section will be built north from Huntington Forest at Ferguson Forest Drive to Steele Creek Road at Sledge Road. The county should have enough land here to build a small neighborhood park in the distant future.

Mecklenburg County has 56 miles of greenway trails but only a .4 mile trail in Steele Creek. The county also has 82 miles of planned trails. Trails are slowly coming to Steele Creek, but they are expensive, costing as much as $1,000,000 per mile. The Walker Branch DIRTway will be the first in Mecklenburg County and a small advancement towards a greenway network along Walker Branch, Steele Creek, and other routes.

For more information, see Mecklenburg County DIRTways.

To comment on this story, please visit the Steele Creek Forum.

Click here: Facebook to share this story to your Facebook page, or click below to visit the Steele Creek Residents Association Facebook page.