A $1 million New Jersey Transportation Alternative Program grant awarded through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will fund 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 will connect the existing trail off Pennington Rocky Hill Road across Carter Road to Cleveland Road in Lawrence Township near the Educational Testing Service campus.

“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. For the people in our community who enjoy biking and walking on the LHT, this is a huge step forward,” said Hopewell Township Committeewoman Vanessa Sandom, who serves on the LHT board. “I want to recognize Township Administrator Paul Pogorzelski for leading the effort to secure DVRPC’s funding.”

Said Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes: “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 county will install a mid-block crossing to take bike riders and walkers safely across Carter Road before the end of the year. 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. “The LHT started as an idea for a community project in 2002 when Bristol-Myers Squibb invited representatives of Lawrence and Hopewell townships and county and state agencies to join an effort to create a biking and walking trail through the two towns,” said Becky Taylor, LHT co-president. “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.

“This addition enables riders and walkers to continue from a terrific LHT section that runs by the Whiskey House on Pennington-Rocky Hill Road over to Carter Road and through the Mount Rose Preserve. For area residents, this is an important addition to our community trail system,” said Hopewell Township Mayor Kevin Kuchinski.

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