Bolin Creek Trail Update – Coal Ash Removal

Bolin Creek Trail between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Bolinwood Drive will be temporarily closed while soil and vegetation that contain coal ash deposits are removed.

In January 2020, construction resumed for completing the missing 500-foot section of the Bolin Creek trail connector east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The trail construction has advanced to one of the final elements to be completed. This step includes the removal of soil and low-lying vegetation which contains coal ash deposits. The Town and environmental engineer Hart & Hickman anticipated this as part of this project.

In order to maintain safety for trail users, the Town is temporarily closing a portion of the Bolin Creek trail, located between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Bolinwood Drive (see image below). We will ask trail users to take an alternate route to safely detour the work site, using Bolinwood Drive and Hillsborough Street to walk around the closure.

In an effort to protect trees and their roots, we asked our contractor to use a piece of equipment called a vacuum excavator to carefully remove the soil with coal ash deposits. Our goal was to try and save as many large trees as possible. Upon removing the soil, we have discovered a significant amount of coal ash that is deeply embedded within the shallow roots of a number of trees. In order to take away the coal ash deposits from these areas, we will be removing 12 trees and replacing them in the fall when planting conditions are better.

We ask for the community’s help in staying out of the construction area until the remediation is complete. Assuming good weather and no unforeseen delays, we anticipate reopening this segment of the trail in May.

Town of Chapel Hill                                  April 9, 2020