This is the 1.2-mile extension of the Long Branch Trail in Winston-Salem that the federal grant will pay to build. (U.S. DOT)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) – Officials across the spectrum of government are touting a federal grant that will help to extend the Long Branch Trail more than a mile deeper into Winston-Salem.

First it was U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) who on Wednesday released news that a $6 million grant from the federal infrastructure bill had been designated for the trail, which falls in her 6th Congressional District.

Then news came Thursday from the U.S. Department of Transportation to announce six such transportation projects across North Carolina that will receive $60.2 million.

That was followed by U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who revealed those allocations and his support of them as part of the Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) Discretionary Grant Program from the bipartisan infrastructure act he had supported.

First, let’s talk about the Long Branch Trail. It’s a roughly 1.7-mile paved portion of the city’s Greenway System that extends south from Martin Luther King Drive, through the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, under Business 40/U.S. 420 to the Salem Creek Greenway.

This is the existing trail in Winston-Salem. (CITY OF WINSTON-SALEM)

It was created through a public-private arrangement, and Innovation Quarter, a nonprofit driver of diverse development in the area, oversees its security, janitorial services, landscaping and lighting, James Hinton Patterson of the quarter said.

The $6 million will pay for a 1.2-mile extension north from MLK to 25th Street, he said. A release from Manning’s office said the trail will repurpose the former railroad corridor for pedestrians and cyclists and connect with educational and health facilities.

“We’re incredibly excited about the new Long Branch Trail extension which, through enhanced connectivity, will serve to strengthen our communities,” Lindsey Schwab, Innovation Quarter’s director of community relations, said.

You can attribute this to me as the city’s marketing & communication director:

“The city is grateful to Representative Manning for her efforts to secure this federal grant to extend the Long Branch Trail,” Frank Elliott, the city’s marketing and communications director, told WGHP. “Using connections to other greenways, the extension will give our citizens a separate bike and pedestrian route that can get them from 25th Street as far south as Waughtown Street, as far east as Salem Lake and as far west as Peters Creek Parkway.”

They weren’t the only ones happy about all the projects flowing into North Carolina.

Everyone is pleased

Here’s what Manning had to say: “I’m thrilled that we secured this funding for Winston-Salem to extend the Long Branch Trail and connect even more communities to Winston-Salem’s bustling downtown. The extension of the Trail will create enhanced, sustainable transportation options for my constituents and ensure their safety as they commute and enjoy the outdoor spaces that the Sixth Congressional District has to offer. Thank you to the Department of Transportation for their efforts, and I look forward to visiting soon to celebrate this achievement.”

Thom Tillis and Kathy Manning
Thom Tillis and Kathy Manning

Here’s what Tillis had to say: “As a member of the bipartisan infrastructure group, I worked hard to ensure the package included investments to improve North Carolina’s roads, highways, and bridges that were in desperate need of repair. These grants are a big win for North Carolina, as the transportation projects will enhance the safety and connectivity of transportation systems in communities across the state.”

Here’s what Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had to say: “We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable. Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we are supporting more projects than ever before.” 

A release from Manning’s office said the infrastructure bill passed last year added $7.5 billion to this grant program during a 5-year period, with $2.2 billion available this year.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The other grants

Tillis and Buttigieg in their releases announced these projects as part of the grant funding:

  • $20 million grant to transform the Charlotte Road-to-Main-Street corridor into a Complete Street from Maple Street in Rutherfordton to Oakland Road in Spindale.
  • $18 million grant to construct a new Intermodal Facility at the Port of Wilmington.
  • $10.7 million for the NCDOT to reconstruct 28 bridges across six rural Western North Carolina counties.
  • $2 million grant to Elizabeth City to engineer and design a 3.6-mile multiuse path on Weeksville Road to improve accessibility & connectivity.
  • $3.4 million grant to fund the North Carolina Regional S-Line Mobility Hub Plan in the town of Wake Forest.

Tillis and Buttigieg in their releases announced these projects as part of the grant funding: