Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 9
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
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“Missing Link” in Bike and Pedestrian Pathway Installed as Stony Brook Gets New Bridge

Dilshanie Perera

Princeton Township engineers and key local organizations are finally seeing results on a project that has been in the works for over 15 years. The new 125-foot pedestrian bridge installed last week that now spans the Stony Brook is part of a system of trails currently under construction.

Once all of the arteries of the Stony Brook Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathway and Bridges Project are in place, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to traverse a stretch of approximately five miles from the Princeton Battlefield and Princeton Friends School to Princeton Day School and beyond into Hopewell Township.

Despite weather delays, which pushed back the implementation by one day, the installation was a success, with a crane dropping in the pre-manufactured bridge at the appointed time. A construction team worked to secure the structure while engineering staff and Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) looked on.

Deanna Stockton and Anthony Soriano of the Township Engineering Department explained that members of FOPOS, the D&R Greenway, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Jasna Polana Golf Club, and the Hun School all contributed their efforts into implementing this vision.

In a document about the project’s history, FOPOS Trustee Emeritus Helmut Schwab explained that linking Princeton’s parks and open spaces to each other and with those of the surrounding communities has been a goal since 1993, and that establishing greenway connections became a theme in their work.

The possibility of extending the greenway to the Jasna Polana property via a footbridge was documented in a 1995 FOPOS report, which led to a campaign about establishing the “Missing Link” to connect the opposite banks of the brook.

In 2002, the Township received a $500,000 Federal Transportation Enhancement grant for the construction of the bridge, and later a National Recreational Trails grant, a State Livable Communities grant, and a State Bikeway grant. The total amount of grant funding for the project is $789,000.

The Township also purchased three quarters of an acre of land above the Stony Brook with the assistance of the D&R Greenway in 2007, which enables ADA-accessibility on the pathway with ramps and landings.

Construction on the pathway and bridges project began in January and is slated for completion by the end of this year. Let It Grow, Inc. of River Edge, New Jersey, was awarded the construction contract for $958,565 in December 2009.

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