Rutgers Landscape Architecture juniors are focused on re-envisioning two causeways – Griggstown & Blackwells Mills. Each of the causeways is approximately two-tenths of a mile in length. They connect River Road on the west side of the Millstone River and with Canal Road east of the D&R Canal.
These two causeways are part of the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway, located between the Raritan River and the historic Delaware and Raritan Canal (D and R). The area consists of two mostly parallel waterbodies, and the floodplains between them, sandwiched between two roadways that connect historic villages and nature preserves. When you drive along this Scenic Byway, you feel as if you are in a landscape painting.
Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy threw a curveball: now, utility companies are tasked with keeping utility lines that cross the floodplain at the causeways free of overhanging trees. New protocols for areas adjacent to utilities need to safeguard and enhance the beauty of the byway and keep the electrical wires clear. The Causeway Project was launched in 2015. This a partnership with PSE&G, Franklin & Montgomery Townships, the D&R State Park, the NJDOT, the Millstone Valley Preservation Coalition and Rutgers University. The project is now in the landscape design phase.
Landscape proposals enhance the experience of driving across the causeways (frame views, augment tree understory, layer plantings) and provide spectacular new walking trails through proposed native plantings from parking areas to the canal walk and historic buildings and to the Raritan trails and water access areas. Some projects design raingardens to cleanse and gather roadway runoff in light rains. Deer-resistant and pollinator-friendly plantings provide wildlife nourishment and habitat and rebuild the local ecosystem while augmenting the visitor experience.
Landscape plans will be on display in the Mule Tenders Barracks, Griggstown Causeway, on Sunday, May 7. Drawings will be exhibited after that at the Johnson Education Center at the D+R State Headquarters in Princeton.