After more than a year of construction, the county celebrated the ribbon cutting Thursday of the pedestrian bridge that crosses Route 202/206, linking Bridgewater and Somerville.
"It improves the quality of life by connecting neighborhoods," said Somerset County Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh. "It creates a safe environment to get from one side to the other."
The new pathway extends from Mountain Avenue in Somerville, over Route 202/206 and to Bridgewater near the Clarks Woods Park. It is an extension of the Peters Brook Greenway to link the communities and continue to create paths between regional and municipal parks, recreational facilities, five schools, neighborhoods, commercial districts and more.
Walsh said, at the ceremony, that this new bridge will encourage exercise and safe access to local parks, shopping locations and places of employment.
"Residents have said how much they are looking forward to this," she said. "We are pleased to bring this to fruition."
Somerset County Freeholder Patrick Scaglione said this project was pushed through by the Regional Center Partnership, which awarded $60,000 in grants for conceptial planning of the project.
"It is a very worthwhile project," he said. "These are valuable new conveniences to enhance quality of life."
The bridge was constructed by Flanagan's Constructing, of Hillsborough, which worked for about a year to make the project a success.
Construction was also funded by more than $2 million from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Transportation Enhancement Grant, as well as $1.6 million from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
In addition, the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority approved federal transportation investments for the project.
On the west side of the bridge, in Somerville, there is a pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Clark's Woods section of the walkway adds 4,400 linear feet of path, as well as four timber bridges over streams.
The Peters Brook Greenway, according to a release from the county, is part of the Regional Center Greenway to extend from the Raritan River in Bridgewater to the Bridgewater-Raritan High School. It will also, the release said, be part of the Raritan River Greenway, which is currently under development.
What do you think of these new walkways? Where should others be placed around the township for ease of movement?