Construction at the Bolin Creek Trail is progressing to complete a trail link underneath Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. With good weather, the contractor is estimating completion in three to four months.
Construction of the missing 500-foot trail section east of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard has been delayed due to several unusually wet years and the discovery of coal ash on the nearby Police Department property. Trail construction was able to resume once environmental remediation began last summer.
The Town’s environmental engineer Hart & Hickman is providing oversight throughout the construction/remediation process. The contractor is using special techniques when working in the area below the coal ash deposit. Excavated soils are removed to a permitted landfill and replaced with clean fill materials.
Remediation includes removal of soils with erosional coal combustion products, the installation of super silt fencing to control for erosion, and hydroseeding for bank stabilization. In an effort to save as many large trees as possible and minimize root disturbance, the Town is using a technique called vacuum excavation. The process removes contaminated soils around the base of large trees.
Background about coal ash disposal site remediation project
The Town acquired the property in the early 1980s for construction of the Chapel Hill Police Department. Since learning of the extent of the coal ash contamination in 2013, the Town has taken seriously its responsibility of environmental stewardship, working closely with the NC Department of Environmental Quality and environmental engineers to investigate and share information. The 10-acre property is located immediately north of Bolin Creek.
The Council approved $246,000 for coal ash interim remediation in June 2019 and directed several measures be undertaken. The remediation is underway now.