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Over 60,000 drivers travel along Route 70 every day. This major 6.5-mile thoroughfare stretches through Cherry Hill from end to end. Although Route 70 is a state highway maintained by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, my administration continues our work to ensure this pathway through our community reflects the beauty of our neighborhoods.
In 2011, the Township began its Wildflower program, to beautify Route 70 and transform our medians into more than just weeds and grass. Our Wildflower efforts were modeled after those on the Atlantic City Expressway, where each year in the late spring and summer, thousands of beautiful, lush, pastel Wildflowers dot the roadway’s landscape.
I am excited to announce that we are once again partnering with the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the Office of Senator Jim Beach, and the Camden County Freeholders to bring back this well received program. I want to thank these community leaders who have made this program possible.
Not only do the Wildflowers improve the landscape for motorists along Route 70, but they also reduce the need for regular maintenance and mowing. The Wildflowers Project provides a sustainable and visually attractive alternative to traditional routine lawn maintenance. This directly reduces the amount of fossil fuels burned off into the atmosphere through mowing, reducing our community’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer dollars in the process.
This year, we have increased the number of areas where Wildflowers will be planted, to cover over three acres of median space in Cherry Hill and stretching onto a little under an acre in Pennsauken. The South Jersey Transportation Authority recently began split-seeding seventeen designated areas in Cherry Hill and two areas in Pennsauken. This year, we responded to concerns about overgrowth and will be using a dwarf species mix of Wildflower, which should grow to twenty-four inches high.
The Cherry Hill Department of Public Works coordinated the seeding effort with the Cherry Hill and Pennsauken Police Departments, as they helped to direct traffic along the roadway during the planting, seeding and tilling of the Wildflowers. Germination for the Wildflowers is expected to take between four and six weeks. In addition to the Wildflowers, Cherry Hill will also continue to plant and maintain perennials along Route 70.
We are thankful to once again have the support of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. In an era of uncertainty when it comes to funding for transportation projects, the Wildflowers program provides a cost savings for the state through a reduction in maintenance and a cost effective opportunity for the Township to improve the appearance of this roadway. I would also like to thank our sponsors for helping to support this Program and offset the cost to the taxpayers of procuring, planting and maintaining the wildflowers.
I look forward to seeing this Program as it grows in the coming weeks and improves the view for motorists as they travel along Route 70 through Cherry Hill.