def # 112 07/25/12
FIFTH SECTION OF RAIL TRAIL TO GET UNDER WAY
TOMS RIVER - Ocean County is preparing to construct the fifth section of a linear park that when completed will run from
Barnegat to Toms River township.
"This is a two and a half mile section that begins in Ocean Township and stops several feet south of Lacey Road in Lacey
Township," said Freeholder James F. Lacey, who serves as liaison to the trail. "This will be a great addition to the trail
as it crosses four bridges including the one at Oyster Creek, the lower and middle branches of Forked River and the Upper
Branch of the Forked River.
"This portion of the trail will highlight beautiful natural areas in the heart of Ocean County," Lacey said. "We anticipate
a lot of usage of this area as it lets you experience portions of the County you may not ordinarily be able to get to."
The Board of Freeholders is expected to authorize going out to bid on this portion of the trail during its Aug. 1 meeting.
Work could start in the fall and be completed in the spring of 2013.
Lacey noted this portion of the trail which consists of a 12-foot easement from Lacey Township came with many design
For instance, he said the trestles over Oyster Creek, and the Lower and Upper branches of the Forked River will all
be modified for pedestrian and bicycle use by placing decking with wooden planks on top of the existing railroad ties.
Railings along the sides of the trestles will also be installed.
"We have also worked very closely with Excelon Corp. to ensure that the trail did not compromise any security concerns they
may have at Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant," Lacey said. "We wanted to make certain this section like all of the sections
was designed properly to meet the needs of the users and those that are in surrounding areas."
Lacey said the work also will include building a new trestle for the Middle branch of the Forked River.
Also for pedestrian safety there will be push button activated pedestrian flashers placed on major road crossings.
Meanwhile the county has just about completed the fourth section of trail which spans about 1.5 miles from Route
532 or Wells Mills Road in Ocean Township to the Lacey Township border at Oyster Creek.
"With this section completed the trail now runs contiguous for almost five miles from Burr Street in Barnegat to just south
of the Oyster Creek," Lacey said.
Lacey noted the Barnegat Branch Trail project team which consists of members of the Ocean County Planning Department,
Engineering Department, Department of Parks and Recreation, Security Department and consultants have been closely working
with the respective municipalities in order to tackle the planning and design challenges of the segments.
"For instance, the fourth section was different than the ones already constructed in that it is closer to Route 9
and existing commercial developments," Lacey said. "It also
addresses a complicated road network at Route 532 and the northern portion will end near a pedestrian crossing at Route 9
and Bay Parkway."
Earlier segments of the trail run deeper through wooded areas of the county, away from major road networks.
Lacey has emphasized the trail is being constructed in phases and may not always be contiguous until it has been
completed. An additional two miles was also completed in Berkeley Township.
The Barnegat Branch trail, which, when completed will be a 15.6 mile linear park, follows the existing right of way of the
former Barnegat Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.
"Under the countyís plan, this abandoned rail line is being improved to link Barnegat Township to Toms River Township, and
in the process will offer residents and visitors a new type of recreational trail experience," Lacey said. "As we get ready
to build the fifth section, we can now see how this linear park is coming together and will be accessible to many county
residents and visitors. Many people are already using the completed parts of the trail and really enjoying all it has to
Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said the trail offers a perfect opportunity for residents and visitors who want to see
natural parts of the county they may not have been able to access in the past.
"This trail not only offers the user the opportunity to see nature at itís best in Ocean County, it offers access to Ocean
Countyís premiere park sites, Little said. "It offers the perfect mix of activities for county residents and visitors