‘Deadliest road’ to become pedestrian, bicycle friendly

County project through four towns expected to make the oft-used intersection safer

Albert J. Countryman Jr./The Sun
Cars and trucks race through the intersection of Route 130 and Tenby Chase Drive in Delran around lunchtime recently. The area was the scene of a pedestrian death in August.

Route 130 through Burlington County is a speedway with three narrow lanes of traffic in each direction and drivers jockeying for position to beat the next red light.

The intersection is also used by pedestrians and bicyclists going to work at one of the many businesses from Cinnaminson north to Burlington City and beyond, and is especially dangerous during the dark hours of the early morning.

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To improve safety on what is called one of the state’s deadliest roads for pedestrians over the past 40 years, county commissioners have announced a major project through Delran, Riverside, Edgewater Park and Willingboro. The work will extend the Rancocas Greenway Trail and construct a safe pedestrian and bicycle crossing on Route 130 in Edgewater Park, work that will also improve the pedestrian walkway on the Route 130 Bridge over the Rancocas Creek.

“It’s still to be determined exactly what the design of the crossing will be, but one of the options that is expected to be examined is a raised pedestrian bridge over the highway,” county spokesperson David Levinsky said.

“The pedestrian danger on Route 130 has long been a challenge for communities up and down the corridor,” Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Tom Pullion noted. “It prevents residents from accessing and enjoying outdoor recreation, shopping and employment opportunities.

“Constructing a safe pedestrian and bicyclist-friendly crossing at this location will absolutely save lives and help enhance our county parks and regional trails network.”

As for the Route 130 Bridge, there is currently a pedestrian sidewalk on its northbound side, but there is no pedestrian walkway on the southbound side, Levinsky explained.

“So that will likely be looked at, along with other improvements, to make the bridge more accessible for pedestrians, bicyclists and wheelchairs,” he said

The county will also extend the Rancocas Greenway Trail from Pennington Park in Delanco across Route 130. From there, the trail will split, with one path going to Willingboro Lakes off Route 130 and Beverly-Rancocas Road and the other going across the Rancocas Creek via the Route 130 Bridge, then on through Delran to Rainbow Meadow Park on Creek Road.

Route 130 has been named New Jersey’s most dangerous road for pedestrians multiple times by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign because of the high number of pedestrian fatalities there in the last few decades.

“Rapid residential and commercial growth along (the) Route 130 corridor has unfortunately created a safety concern for pedestrians and bicyclists, so it’s gratifying to see Burlington County advance this project to provide a critical safe crossing,” State Sen. Troy Singleton said.

“I look forward to working with the county, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and our federal partners to ensure this high-priority project can advance rapidly forward from concept to reality.”

Levinsky said early cost projections for the trail and improvements are more than $19 million, money county officials expect will be funded with federal transportation grants. Earlier this fall, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) approved adding $19 million for the project to the New Jersey Transportation Improvement Program, also known as TIP.

That move is a critical step in awarding federal transportation aid to cover the safety project’s engineering and design; right-of-way property acquisition; construction; and inspection costs for the project, Levinsky pointed out, adding that the DVRPC also approved shifting $700,000 in federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Aid to the project for concept development and planning.

Commissioner Allison Eckel said extending the Rancocas Creek Greenway Trail across Route 130 would be another big enhancement for the parks system and the Greater Philadelphia region’s Circuit Trail network.

“Pennington Park, Willingboro Lakes and Rainbow Meadow are three of our county’s most attractive parks, and we’re excited about the planned improvements and the opportunity to connect them with a regional trail,” she observed.

Burlington County has already received and invested more than $19.3 million in grants for earlier trail projects, including the first 4-mile segment of the Rancocas Greenway Trail between Amico Island Park in Delran and Pennington Park, according to Levinsky.

Eventually, the county hopes to extend the trail the entire 30-mile length of the Rancocas Creek, from its confluence with Delaware River to its source in Pemberton. Pedestrians and bicyclists being able to safely cross Route 130 safely will be a big step in this process, officials said.

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