MONTVILLE, NJ – After years of various kinds of delays, construction began on May 8 of a quarter-mile stretch of sidewalk on Changebridge Road between Lazar Middle School and Church Lane. The construction project will also include drainage and curbing, and is expected to be completed in the beginning of June.

Delays included determining on which side of the street to place the sidewalk. Some officials thought the sidewalk should be on the same side as the park, while others felt the same side as the school would be better. Still others felt sidewalks on both sides was the best option.

After that was decided, easement agreements had to be negotiated with the impacted residents, gas lines had to be relocated, and the placement of the sidewalk near 107 Changebridge Road had to be figured out, because that’s a historic home. One property contained wetlands, so a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection permit had to be obtained.

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The total cost for the project will be $184,000, according to Assistant Township Administrator June Hercek. Funding was sought through a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant in the Safe Routes to School Program, although this was not successful.

Drainage basins will be installed, and Belgian block curbing will be utilized from Lazar to 107 Changebridge, then dyed concrete curbing will be used for the rest of the length. The sidewalk will be regular concrete from Lazar to 107 Changebridge, then brick pavers to Church Lane, Hercek said.

“Construction of this sidewalk has been a long-standing goal of the Township Committee,” said Committee Member Deb Nielson. “The project has been in the planning stages since 2006, and although only 1,300 feet long, it is complicated. Various NJDEP approvals and sign-offs from affected properties delayed implementation for 11 years. We are hugely appreciative of the efforts of the township’s engineering department and our attorney Fred Semrau and his office who worked through all of the obstacles to make this project happen.

“Completion of the sidewalk is the last link in a pedestrian system that extends from Vreeland Avenue along River Road and Church Lane to Lazar School. It will provide a safe route for the students and also for residents walking along Changebridge Road to Community Park,” she said.