Public Input Needed on Proposed Clayton-Smithfield Connection of the Neuse River Trail
For Immediate Release: March 3, 2022
Smithfield, NC – The County's Parks and Open Space office is seeking public input from residents on the Neuse River Trail Feasibility Study. The joint study between NCDOT, the Upper Coastal Plain Rural Planning Organization (RPO), Johnston County and others will evaluate potential route scenarios for a trail along the Neuse River and roadway corridors to determine a preferred route. The study will also develop cost estimates and an implementation plan to construct the trail.
The proposed Neuse River Trail is a 15-mile corridor in Johnston County connecting existing greenways in Clayton and Smithfield. The trail is a critical missing link in the regional greenway network and is an identified corridor for gap segments of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and East Coast Greenway.
Community members can provide feedback by visiting the NCDOT project page and taking an online survey. The survey will be open for public comment has been extended through Friday, April 8th. Visit the Johnston County Parks and Open Space website to review project materials and learn more about the trail.
The project is led by the Upper Coastal Plain RPO, Johnston County and the NCDOT- Planning Division. Supporting agencies involved in the study are NC State Trails, Town of Clayton, Town of Smithfield, Town of Wilson’s Mills, Town of Selma, McAdams, Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the East Coast Greenway Alliance.
About the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
The Mountains to Sea State Trail (MST) is North Carolina’s flagship state trail. It stretches from Clingmans Dome on the Tennessee border to Jockeys Ridge State Park on the coast. The original route of the MST, which roughly follows the Neuse River from Wake County east to New Bern, is over 57% complete. The trail, from Johnston County east to Carteret County, has been envisioned as a multi-use path suitable for bicycles and pedestrians. Connecting existing segments in Clayton and Smithfield will provide a route, completely off-road, from Hillsborough to Smithfield.
About the East Coast Greenway
The East Coast Greenway is a 3,000-mile walking and biking route from Maine to Florida that connects major cities, small towns and parklands along the Eastern Seaboard. In North Carolina, the ECG route passes through the cities of Durham, Raleigh, Fayetteville and Wilmington and primarily follows the Neuse River and Cape Fear River corridors across the state. The ECG is currently 32% complete. The longest continuous stretch of completed trails is in North Carolina, which comprises the 72-mile span of greenways and trails through Durham, Wake and Johnston Counties. The proposed trail extension along the Neuse River aims to expand the connected greenway network in the region to over 90 miles, stretching from Durham to Smithfield.