Township of Montgomery opens asphalt road along Skillman Road
With a scissor stroke, Montgomery Township Mayor Devra Keenan officially opened a two-mile-long asphalt road that runs along Skillman Road and Burnt Hill Road in a groundbreaking ceremony on July 9.
The six foot wide path begins on Skillman Road at its intersection with The Great Road / Route 601. It continues to the intersection with Burnt Hill Road, continuing on Burnt Hill Road to the main boulevard entrance in Skillman Park.
Keenan said the path has been going on for more than two decades. It was created by the Township of Montgomery Open Space Committee. Property easements for the road were obtained by the state of New Jersey in 2004, before the state auctioned adjacent properties as preserved farmland.
“This path greatly contributes to connecting our community. It encourages better and safer fitness through walking and cycling, ”said Keenan.
Funding for the road came from a grant of $ 360,000 from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s municipal aid program, plus an additional $ 440,000 from the Montgomery Township open space tax, Keenan said.
A key aspect of the new trail is an experimental section of concrete sidewalk near the driveway entrance to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Community Church on Skillman Road.
The 200-foot-long section of the path is made of permeable concrete, which allows water to flow through it and into the underground aquifer. It has a rough texture that allows runoff water to seep into the soil, compared to the smooth texture of conventional concrete.
Impermeable surfaces prevent runoff from entering the soil, which can lead to flooding. The permeable surfaces allow water to seep into the soil and do not create puddles.
Permeable concrete is made up of varying amounts of cement, water and sand. Some segments of the permeable concrete sidewalk have more sand, and others have little or no sand. Researchers will monitor the permeable sidewalk to find out which mixtures allow more water to seep underground.
Officials from the Township of Montgomery worked with the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation on the permeable concrete experiment. The New Jersey Department of Transportation approached Rutgers about permeable concrete, said Husam Najm, professor of civil engineering at Rutgers.
“We want to see how it works on the sidewalks. We want to see people’s reactions. We want to get more information, ”said Najm, who is also a project manager at the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation.
In addition to the asphalt path and experimental concrete sidewalk, the project included a pedestrian bridge over sensitive wetlands. Pedestrian crossings and ramps have been improved on Skillman Road at its intersections with Wessex, Highfield and Titus Roads.
Skillman Road has been repaved and the speed limit has been reduced from 40 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour. Sharrows, indicating that the road is to be shared with cyclists, have been painted on Skillman Road.