A federal grant being administered through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will fund $1 million for the construction of a one-mile segment of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail through the Mount Rose Preserve along Carter Road in Hopewell Township.
This new segment of the bike trail will connect the existing trail off Pennington Rocky Hill Road across Carter Road to Cleveland Road in Lawrence Township.
“We have long been supporters of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, a great example of a biking and walking trail created by the community, for the community,” said Chris Linn, manager of DVRPC’s environmental planning. “The Lawrence Hopewell Trail group’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. 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.”
Once the new trail segment is built, the trail will be 93 percent complete. When the entire trail is finished, it will create a 22-mile loop through public and private lands in Hopewell and Lawrence townships.
“For the people in our community who enjoy biking and walking on the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, this is a huge step forward,” said Hopewell Township Committeewoman Vanessa Sandom, who serves of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail board.
The county is slated to install a crossing before the end of the year so cyclists and pedestrians can walk safely across Carter Road. The trail segment will be built 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. The grant is being provided through a federal program for community based “non-traditional” surface transformation projects designed to “strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the nation’s intermodal system.” Mercer County officials helped secure the funding.
“The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is a quality-of-life enhancement for Mercer County residents,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said. “Many people have told me how much they appreciate having this terrific recreational resource at their disposal, and I’m thrilled to see the overall project moving one step closer to completion.”
The trail started as 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.
“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,” said Becky Taylor, Lawrence Hopewell Trail group co-president.
Trail group o-president Eleanor Horne said 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,” she said.