Township looks to extend its health and fitness trail

Meeting discussions included adding 1.3 miles to existing trail

As its residents search for ways to safely exercise during COVID-19, Gloucester Township wants to expand such activities for nature lovers, walkers and others.

Earlier this month, the township held a public meeting at municipal hall regarding its desire to expand the health and fitness trail that runs through the municipality.

The meeting, facilitated by Township Engineer Anthony Chadwell, was required given part of the proposed project will be financed with federal funding through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program. The session also allowed residents to voice their concerns and ask questions about the plan. One resident spoke and showed support for the project, according to Chadwell.  

According to township documents, the existing trail is slightly longer than 3 miles, extending from Main Street near Grenloch Lake to Oak Avenue. Chadwell said the plan is for the upcoming extension to be the final portion of the trail, which will run through the township and connect with other trails on the northern and southern borders of the township.

“It would run all the way from the southern end of the township all the way to the border of Runnemede,” Chadwell explained. “It’s part of the overall Camden County Bicycling & Multi-Use Trails Plan … It’s a whole network of paths that would connect the entire county.

“We’d done our part over the past 20 years or so to construct it one piece by one piece,” he added, “and now we’re finally ready to connect it.”

When complete, the trail will have a single pathway through the township, connecting with Runnemede and Washington Township on opposite sides of Gloucester Township, for a total  of approximately 4.4 miles in length.

According to the township, the trail will include a 10-foot-wide pavement with side striping and signage at each street crossing. Fencing will also be installed throughout where necessary for safety precautions.

According to Chadwell, 10 percent of the CMAQ funding, slightly less than $1 million, had to be matched by the township. The township has yet to go out for bid, as some outstanding permits and approvals are still needed.

“We are currently working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and other permit agencies in order to get authorization to go out to bid,” Chadwell affirmed. “Once we nail down those permits and receive authorization, we hope (to go out for bid) maybe sometime this winter or spring, in hopes of construction this summer.”

Chadwell said the project could potentially be constructed and complete before the end of 2021, depending on the approved contractor’s workload and the future impact COVID-19.