As the Ocean County Board of Freeholders look to the completion of a 15.6-mile pedestrian and bicycle path that began almost a decade ago in Barnegat, there is official talk now of extending the rail trail all the way to Lakehurst.
Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who oversees the project as director of parks and recreation, said that while any action to extend the trail to Lakehurst is years away, it would be a great addition to the trail.
Bartlett said the Barnegat Branch Trail has been an enormously successful addition to the county parks system. Moreover, he has not received a single complaint about it from property owners along its paths. The freeholder board plans to spend an additional $450,000 this year to fund construction of the trail’s planned northern terminus in South Toms River.
Meanwhile, South Toms River – working with the county government – has received a Transportation Alternatives Grant from the Federal Highway Administration in order to acquire the easement over the former railroad, which runs parallel to Route 166.
To date, Ocean County has completed the first six phases of the trail.