Construction work will begin soon on safe bicycle/pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Pennington-Rocky Hill Road and Bailey Drive in Hopewell Township to accommodate further expansion of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT).

The entire cost of the planned safety improvements is covered by a $275,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).

Awarded by the State last year, the grant is earmarked for LHT bicycle-pedestrian road crossings as well as some trail development on the Hillman Preserve in Hopewell Township, which is owned by the D&R Greenway Land Trust.

“We are so grateful to NJDOT and the Township of Hopewell,” said LHT Co-President Becky Taylor, a Hopewell Township resident. “NJDOT, through the Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs coordinated by Sheree Davis, has provided us with invaluable guidance since the very inception of the LHT.”

Specific projects to be accomplished include a safe crosswalk over Pennington-Rocky Hill Road and another at Bailey Drive. Significant signage and pedestrian-activated lighting to warn oncoming motorists when the crosswalk is in use are also being installed.

“Piece by piece, the LHT is falling into place,” said LHT Co-President Eleanor V. Horne. “The cooperation we have received from Hopewell Township Mayor Mike Markulec and the other members of the Town Committee has been outstanding. They, and Township Administrator/Engineer Paul Pogorzelski, are largely responsible for our success in pursuing this grant and getting this construction underway.”

Taylor and Horne noted work at Pennington-Rocky Hill and Bailey Drive is slated to start the week of May 24. They said the new crosswalks and features should take about six weeks to complete.

“The contractor is telling us that roads will remain open,” Taylor said. “They will be slowing the traffic and opening only one lane during certain stages of construction. Traffic will be directed around the work at times so we are asking motorists to be especially cautious so the crews can remain safe and finish their jobs as quickly as possible.”

The LHT will be a 20+ mile loop through Lawrence and Hopewell Townships when it is completed in 2012. Nearly 60% of the LHT is now accessible and users can travel from the D&R Canal Towpath in Lawrence Township to Hopewell Township using existing trail.

“Other safe crossings in Hopewell Township are scheduled to be worked on this summer too,” said Horne. “Another crossing over Pennington-Rocky Hill near Old Mill Road and one at Titus Mill and Wargo Roads will be constructed as soon as designs are finalized.”