A $1 million N.J. Transportation Alternative Program grant will fund construction of a one-mile segment of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail through the Mount Rose Preserve along Carter Road in Hopewell.
This new segment will connect the existing trail off Pennington Rocky Hill Road across Carter Road to Cleveland Road in Lawrence.
“Once this segment is constructed, we will be 93 percent of the way toward completion of the planned 22-mile Lawrence Hopewell Trail through public and private lands in Hopewell and Lawrence Townships,” Hopewell Township Committeewoman Vanessa Sandom said. “I want to recognize the leadership and hard work of township administrator Paul Pogorzelski in leading the effort to secure Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s funding.”
Chris Linn, manager of Environment Planning for the DVRPC, the organization that awarded the grant, said the DVRPC is a big supporter of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail because it was created by the community for the community.
“The LHT’s approach to trail building is certainly unique in our experience, with a volunteer-driven board of directors locating, planning and building a trail literally foot-by-foot,” Linn said. “We look for applicants with a track record of achievement and projects that are ready to build. The LHT meets our criteria in creative ways.”
The county will install a mid-block crossing to take bikers and walkers safely across Carter Road before the end of the year, according to county planner Leslie Floyd. The trail will be built from the northwest of the property, behind Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Carter Road campus, and travel northeast, behind the former AT&T property, to Cleveland Road. Construction is expected to begin next spring.
The $1 million grant is expected to cover most of the estimated construction costs of $1.2 million. This cost is in alignment with national urban trail construction. It generally follows the same process as roadway construction, as it must be designed, engineered, permitted, constructed and include related traffic signaling, crosswalks, etc. For more information on trail costs, visit lhtrail.org.
“The LHT started as an idea for a community project in 2002 when Bristol-Myers Squibb invited representatives of Lawrence and Hopewell Townships, county and state agencies to join an effort to create a biking and walking trail through the two towns,” Becky Taylor, LHT co-president, said. “This grant enables us to build an outstanding segment of the trail, made possible through the preservation of the land by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, Mercer County government and a number of other key players.”
Eleanor Horne, LHT co-president, noted that as one of the last segments remaining to be built, the Mount Rose section represents a key achievement for the trail’s completion and northern connection to Lawrence Township.
“This segment also will add another mile to the Circuit Trails, an amazing network of 750 miles of interconnected bicycle and pedestrian trails connecting people to jobs, communities and parks beginning south of Philadelphia, extending north to the LHT, connecting to the East Coast Greenway to the east and to the Appalachian Trails to the west,” Horne said.
The grant LHT will receive is provided by TAP, a competitive federal program providing funds for community based “non-traditional” surface transformation projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation’s intermodal system. N.J. TAP provides $5 million in funding projects in the DVRPC region.