Wednesday, January 30, 2013

D&R Canal Towpath / East Coast Greenway closed in Franklin Township

Driving past the Amwell Road trailhead of the Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath two weeks ago I saw something rather unusual.  There was a six foot tall fence blocking off the entire trailhead parking lot, including access to the trail itself.  Today as I was out riding my road bike, I purposely pedaled past the trailhead to get a closer look.  There was a sign on the fence indicating the following:
The towpath from AMWELL ROAD (RT 514) TO THE WESTON CAUSEWAY will be CLOSED FROM JANUARY 21 THROUGH JUNE 30 due to repair work on the spillway. Also note there will be NO ACCESS TO/FROM COLONIAL PARK VIA THE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE. Please plan your routes accordingly.

View D&R Towpath / East Coast Greenway Closure in a larger map

Above is a map of the trail closure and one potential detour.  Be aware that the traffic volume on Amwell Road can be rather high and there is no shoulder.  Also the crossing at Manville / Weston Causeway can be tricky and extra caution should be taken.  Millstown River road is also a possibility detour but the traffic can be high in this road as well.

Noting the above hazards, its a shame that the trail had to be closed for this entire stretch.  The spillway being reconstructed (red point) is north of the Colonial Park Bridge (green point).  It would have been nice to keep the trail open to the Colonial Park Bridge as a detour through the park (green line) would have eliminated the most hazardous Amwell Road leg.  However when I was there, the Amwell Road trailhead was being used as a staging area for the contractors and heavy equipment was being driven on the towpath.  Still, it would be nice to at least keep the part of the trail open when construction is not being done, like on weekends.

Another note of importance found on the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission website was this:
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission will be conducting a renovation and rehabilitation to the pedestrian bridge located at Bulls Island Recreation Area Day Use Area. The foot bridge will be CLOSED to the public between SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 2013 TO FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013. Please plan your routes accordingly.

View Larger Map

As many of you know, the elegant suspension footbridge over the Delaware connecting Bulls Island and Lumberville PA is an important connection for many cyclists.  The next closest bridges at Stockton and Frenchtown are miles away.  I crossed the bridge just 11 days ago and no notices were posted of the pending two month closure as of yet.

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