Chatham Township Engineer: Lafayette Sidewalks Coming "Next Year"

John Ruschke, Chatham Township engineer, said he doesn't see Lafayette sidewalks being installed until the summer of 2018 Credits: TAP Chatham
Mike Kelly, Karen Swartz and Kevin Sullivan at the Chatham Township Committee meeting on Thursday night Credits: TAP Chatham

CHATHAM, NJ - John Ruschke, Chatham Township engineer, was asked to give an update on the various sidewalks projects in town and the answer on the Safe Routes to School Lafayette sidewalks was, wait til "next year."

Because of the tedious nature of working through a federal program, the Lafayette sidewalks are likely to be constructed in the summer of 2018, according to Ruschke (see video below) at the regular meeting of the Chatham Township Committee held Thursday night.

Chatham Township received a $578,000 grant in 2014 to construct a sidewalk on the east side of Lafayette Avenue from Fairview Avenue to Shunpike Road, and also on a portion of Spring Street. Chatham Township is now awaiting word from the state on the paperwork needed to hire an engineer through the state's pilot program, which pays for the design of the project.

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"It's going extremely slow," Ruschke said." I would hope we would be discussing retaining the engineer in May. I hope. Once that happens I'm sure it's going to take him a couple months to design. We do want that work scheduled during the summer. Realistically, it's not going to happen this year. I just don't see it. There are just too many moving parts for it to come together this year. It's likely going to be next year."

Chatham Township recently received another Safe Routes to School grant for $374,000 for the installation of a sidewalk on the south side of Shunpike Road, from Pine Street to Falmouth Road. That would make a continuous sidewalk on that side of the road from Noe Avenue to Lafayette Avenue.

"Same thing for Shunpike, same program, Safe Routes to School," Ruschke said. "They are going to announce shortly if they are going provide funding for design services. So we want to wait until that happens. It's a slow process working with the federal program, but the benefit is that it's covering 100 percent of the construction costs and 100 percent of the soft costs for engineering design."

John Ruschke, township engineer, updates the committee on various sidewalk projects

In other business, committee member Mike Kelly announced that the environmental commission and the open space committee are joining forces Saturday, April 22, to place wood chipping and mulching  on the Hillside Avenue Trail from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Kelly also noted that the Chatham Community Garden will be holding its cleanup from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.

The committee voted, 3-0, to adopt an ordinance that vacates a paper road on a portion of Chatham Street in the township. Kelly, Deputy Mayor Karen Swartz and Kevin Sullivan voted for the measure. Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter and committee member John Maurer were absent.


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