A new two-mile pathway has opened in Montgomery that connects township schools, providing linkages and safe crossings between neighborhoods and parks.
The new pathway follows Skillman Road from Route 601 east to Burnt Hill Road, where it turns south toward the Main Boulevard entrance to Skillman Park. The pathway provides pedestrian access between the high school, two elementary and two middle schools, while also connecting to existing sidewalks and the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.
“This project is very much in the spirit of ‘complete streets’ that serve not just automobiles but also pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Montgomery Open Space Coordinator Lauren Wasilauski. “It’s even more special because it connects our schools and provides beautiful views of farms, parks, and the Sourland Mountain in the distance.”
Project features include a pedestrian push-button at the Route 601 intersection; a pedestrian bridge over a wetland area; crosswalks and curb ramp upgrades at the intersections of Skillman Road with Wessex, Highfield, and Titus streets; a crosswalk at Burnt Hill Road for a future connection to the schools; and the milling and re-paving of Skillman Road, where the speed limit has been lowered from 40 to 35 miles per hour and new safety signage has been created.
The pervious concrete surface of the new pathway was created as part of a pilot project in partnership with the Rutgers University Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration. Rutgers experts designed a mix of concrete with varying amounts of cement, water, and little to no sand that allows water to pass through, reducing puddling on the surface and allowing stormwater to recharge into the aquifer below. Rutgers experts will monitor and test the pervious concrete over time for permeability, durability, and maintenance needs.
Property easements for the project were secured from the State of New Jersey way back in 2004 before the state auctioned off adjacent preserved farmland. A significant part of the project was paid for with a $360,000 grant from the 2020 New Jersey Department of Transportation municipal aid program. Another $440,000 came from Montgomery’s dedicated open space tax.
“This remarkable project is a result of having forward-thinking citizens involved in our government and planning for many years,” said Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan. “The idea has origins with the open space committee, who worked with planners to create a pathways plan over 30 years ago, that includes these newest linkages. Today, we are able to use grant funds to realize this key connection of this long-standing plan.”