New trail provides safe walk for students in Hopewell Township

Courtesy photo
Hopewell Valley Central High School (Courtesy photo)

Hopewell Township has built a new trail in town that gives students a safe option to walk to school.

The new section of trail is aiding students attending Timberlane Middle School and Hopewell Valley Central High School.

The trail cuts through the Back Timberlane-area, which is 62 acres of land behind the middle school containing recreational fields.

“The trail is mostly constructed. I think they are doing a little clean up on the landscaping, but the trail itself is complete,”  Hopewell Township Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski reported. “The project began in late August just before the start of the 2019-20 school year.”

The trail provides a walking route from the corner of Scotch Road and Burd Road across the Back Timberlane Fields to Timberlane Middle School connecting sidewalks that take students and residents to the Hopewell Valley Central High School.

“About a year ago, we were actually getting ready to submit for this route an actual grant application for the Safe Routes to School state program. We met with the school district and said they would prefer to do a Safe Routes to School for Bear Tavern Elementary School,” Kuchinski said. “We said why doesn’t the township construct this safe route to school and not give up the opportunity for one with Bear Tavern.”

According to officials, New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School is a statewide initiative aimed at implementing projects and programs to encourage walking and biking to and from school.

Kuchinski explained that township officials have a longer term vision of connecting all the trail networks in town.

“This will just be another leg in the township’s trail map. There will be future connections that will help make our town a more walkable community,” Kuchinski said.

Hopewell Township was aided by Trap Rock Industries when constructing the trail. The company donated $35,390 worth of materials to build the trail.

“The significant donations of materials from Trap Rock Industries was a key and enabling factor in this project. There generosity provided all the key materials to help us construct the trail itself,” he said.

The township’s public works department did the excavation, laying of the foundation and laid the asphalt for the trail.

“Already I have been up there several times to the trail. I have seen students, parents and the school’s cross country teams using the trail,” Kuchinski said. “It is great that we were able to get it done early in the school year and is another step forward in making our community more walkable and bikeable.”