A final cooperative agreement covering crucial design and construction steps was reached between the Town of Chapel Hill and GoTriangle over the Durham-Orange Light Rail project just before the end of 2018.
Town Manager Maurice Jones finalized the agreement a couple of days before the end of the calendar year after preliminary Town Council approval earlier in December.
The final document outlines construction, planning and maintenance requirements for the project, from design and constructions steps through the rail line’s operation after opening. The agreement sets out several goals, including pursuing improvements to bicycle and pedestrian connections to stations and minimizing the rail line’s impact on town property.
Feedback received from town officials and the public at earlier council meetings is addressed, specifically noise concerns and what will happen if the Federal Transportation Authority declines to provide funding for the project.
In an email to the mayor and town council containing the finalized agreement, Jones said his staff added language clarifying the situation in the event the FTA does decline funding in the Fall, with the agreement expiring three months after that date.
Jones also highlighted the commitment made by GoTriangle to follow the noise ordinance in place for the rail’s construction and operations. To that end, GoTriangle’s Board of Director agreed to adopt a noise mitigation policy. Additionally, noise levels will be monitored, and a noise compliance officer will be identified as a point of contact for the public for noise issues related to the light rail.
The finalized agreement will be made available to the public on the town’s website, Jones said in his email.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger was on The Aaron Keck Show last week and discussed the cooperative agreement, which she said codified the concerns of both town officials and the public.
“And we want to make sure our stormwater rules are followed for both the track and the parking areas and platforms,” She said. “Noise came up, that was something that citizens had concerns about. And that was never really well defined before in the contract.”
The agreement also contains commitments from GoTriangle to involve the public in different steps of the rail line’s construction, including public workshops and a plan for communicating updates with the town and its residents.