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Barnegat Branch Trail
Barnegat Branch Trail
In 2008, The Plan was awarded a Merit Award for Land Planning and Analysis by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Historic Rail Trail Signage
C&H website

Project Overview

On October 15, 2007, Freeholder James F. Lacey announced the official opening of the Barnegat Branch Trail (BBT), Ocean County’s premier regional, multi-use rail-to-trail park.


Program Overview:
  • The BBT is a 15.6-mile linear "rail-to-trail" project that will extend from Barnegat Township to Toms River Township. The public trail, which lies primarily along the abandoned Barnegat Branch Division of the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ), and including 2.0 miles of existing trail and proposed road and sidewalk connections, will be developed and constructed in several phases.
  • Guiding the design and management of the trail is the Conceptual Plan for the Barnegat Branch Trail, which was released in August 2007 by Freeholder James F. Lacey. The Conceptual Plan was coordinated by the Planning Department and authored by prime consultants Strauss & Associates/Planners with support from subconsultants Melillo & Bauer Associates/Landscape Architects.
  • To date, Phases I, II, III and IV of the trail, totaling 6.6 miles (4.6 contiguous) in Barnegat, Ocean and Berkeley Townships, are complete and receiving high ridership. Included along these phases are several designated parking areas, improved road crossings, landscaping, benches, signage, mile markers and linkages to other trails and parks.
  • In May 2013 the County opened the Country Lane Trailhead Facility in Waretown. The trailhead features bathrooms and a display area that highlights the history of the railroad and surrounding area. This trailhead facility is the first of several planned comfort stations for the trail.
  • Construction of Phase V, 2.4 miles spanning from the Oyster Creek to Lacey Road in Lacey Township, began in Spring 2013. This phase is more complicated and expensive due to the multiple crossings that are required as well as the location near the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. This segment of the trail will mark 7 contiguous miles from Burr Street in Barnegat Township to just south of Lacey Road in Lacey Township.It is currently in its final stages of construction.
  • The project was awarded $290,000 from NJDOT under the 2012 Local Bikeway Program for construction of Phase VI. Phase VI, contiguous of Phase III and spanning from Maryland Avenue to Hickory Lane in Berkeley Township. Construction of Phase VI has begun in Spring 2014.
Construction Update
The BBT team has recently directed efforts to develop a Cedar Creek Greenway Comprehensive Plan. This involves coordination between Lacey and Berkeley Township officials and the County to create a multi-use recreational area at the trail’s crossing with Cedar Creek.

Construction Update Summary

  • Phases I, II & V – 4.6 miles:
    West Bay Ave (Barnegat Twp.) to Bay Parkway and Rt. 9 (Ocean Twp.) OPEN 
    *Parking at Burr Street and Country Lane
  • Phase III – 2 miles: 
    Cedar Creek to Maryland Ave (Berkeley Twp.) - OPEN
    *Parking at Dudley Park, Serpentine Dr. and Maryland Ave.
  • Phase V - 2.4 miles:
    Oyster Creek to Lacey Road (Lacey Twp.) – COMPLETED
  • Phase V(a) – 2.2 miles. – TBD
  • Phase VI - .77 miles:
    Maryland Avenue to Hickory Lane (Berkeley Twp.) – NEAR COMPLETION
  • Phase VII - .26 miles:
    Hebrew Park (Lacey Twp.) to the Cedar Creek (Connecting to Berkeley Twp.), includes trestle bridge. – Under Design, Fall 2015
  • Country Lane Trailhead – Comfort Station at Country Lane (Ocean Twp.) – OPEN

The project team has also developed and designed a trailhead facility at the southern trail node in Barnegat. The site would have designated parking, outdoor seating areas, water fountains, and benches, as well as restrooms and a public meeting space/community room. Construction of this facility is pending the project budget and a use agreement for the site with Barnegat Township.

It is the County’s vision that the BBT will be more than a recreational park; rather, when complete, it will be a vital transportation corridor, as well as a valuable environmental and historical resource and an enormous asset to Ocean County residents and visitors alike.
A Note on the BBT Logo:
The Barnegat Branch Trail logo was intently designed with history in mind: Lady Liberty’s silhouette is reminiscent of the Central Railroad of NJ (CNJ) logo, adopted by the railroad in 1944 to reflect the close proximity of the CNJ terminal in Jersey City to the Statue of Liberty. The BBT logo also includes a ghost locomotive, as well as Ocean County’s most recognizable environmental features.


For more information:

Mark Villinger, Principal Planner

Ocean County Department of Planning
129 Hooper Ave.
PO Box 2191
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
(732) 929-2054
(732) 244-8396 FAX


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Ocean County Department of Planning, 129 Hooper Avenue, P.O. Box 2191, Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
The preceding information has been provided as a service of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
©2015 Ocean County Department of Planning. All rights reserved.

May 11, 2015

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