Bermuda Run proceeds with steady stream of projects: Town looking into opening Bahnson pedestrian bridge over I-40 as continuation of Blue Heron Trail

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2023

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Between exploring more details involving projects such as the Blue Heron Trail and wrapping up final revisions on the Comprehensive Plan while sifting through questions from the town hall special-called meeting last month, these are busy times in Bermuda Run.

“There’s an awful lot going on in the town,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mike Ernst, who ran last Tuesday night’s Bermuda Run Town Council meeting that included several updates from Town Manager Andrew Meadwell.

In his report, Meadwell mentioned that one of the items on the growing list included the “interconnection” of the Blue Heron Trail — this coming only a couple of months after the ribbon cutting and official opening of Phase I of that project.

When asked later what exactly that word meant, Meadwell clarified: “This is an effort to open the Bahnson pedestrian bridge that crosses I-40. This segment is a continuation of the Blue Heron Trail.”

Meadwell added he knows that’s one of the things that has been a priority for Mayor Rick Cross, who was out of town for the council meeting. Cross has gone on record as saying the first phase of the Blue Heron Trail is a key part of a long-term goal of having a fully connected community.

“We had our engineer, John Grey, to go out and map,” Meadwell said. “There’s a lot of different property owners in that area through there, lots of easements and things like that. So we’re getting a better understanding of that.”

Meadwell also talked about the town receiving an Asset Inventory Assessment (AIA) grant of $400,000 from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality with a meeting scheduled with HOA presidents this week (Sept. 19). Hazen & Sawyer is the consulting engineer preforming the work.

“This assessment is for the town’s sewer infrastructure, which is within the Bermuda Run East area,” he said. “There are 20 HOA presidents representing the neighborhoods of the town.”

There also was the request to provide opportunities for pedestrians to navigate the streets in Bermuda Run East.

“It’s been talked about for some years,” Meadwell said. “The streets within Bermuda Run East were not designed to accommodate pedestrian ways, resulting in residents only having the option to either walk, run or bike in the street travel ways, which is a safety concern. The town is studying options and designs to incorporate a pedestrian element within the existing street structure and systems.”

Then there was the Aug. 22 town hall meeting at WinMock, where more than 300 residents attended to ask questions and voice their opinions on key issues in the town.

Council member Mike Brannon said that more than 100 questions were submitted at the meeting and online, and staff and the council took those and distilled them into 35 frequently asked questions. They were then divided between Brannon, Cross and Meadwell to craft answers before passing those along to Brian Williams, the town attorney, for review.

The goal, Brannon said, is to turn the responses into “less town documents and more reader-friendly. The mayor is committed to turning this around as quickly as we can and then get them back to council for a final look-through.”

The planning board will also meet this month to review the Comprehensive Plan amendments from the Aug. 22 meeting.

“We want to get that to the planning board to look at and approve those revisions and then to council for approval,” Brannon said. “We want to get it fixed and everything to be correct.”

Brannon added that much thought has been given to addressing future land use, including an example brought up in that meeting.

“We’ve been working through what the town would look like if it was a blank slate and what we have today as far as what has been developed,” he said, “and how we think about what we want to do if we could bring those two constructs together — what we would like the town to look like if we had no limitations, what are we constrained by today, and what are the levers and opportunities to look at our future land use and zoning to potentially impact changes to those things to influence the trajectory going forward.”
Brannon said that “a more robust update” will be provided in the agenda meeting on Sept. 26 on the information that has been gathered.

Also, in last Tuesday’s meeting, the council:
• Heard a presentation from Robert McMath, who is the Davie County NCDOT maintenance engineer and gave an overview of the functions, services and responsibilities of his division. McMath added that the dedicated right-turn lane from N.C. 801 onto U.S. 158 should be completed this month.
• Heard from Meadwell that the Juniper Pump Station is nearing completion.
• Heard from Kinderton Village resident Cathie Ring on her continuing safety concerns regarding on-street parking. She noted a couple of inoperative vehicles that have been parked on town roads with expired license tags dating back four and five years, respectively, which are in violation of N.C. laws. “I was told by the HOA that they can only ask but can’t enforce,” she said, “so I’m looking to the town to find a resolution.”