The first stretch of the Essex-Hudson Greenway — a 9-mile pedestrian and biking trail through eight New Jersey communities — will likely be open before Gov. Phil Murphy finishes out his second term, the governor said.

He made the prediction about the new state park — often compared to New York City’s High Line — Tuesday evening on WNYC’s "Ask Governor Murphy" call-in show.

“It's on the way cool list of stuff that we're doing right now,” Murphy said. “Well, and if you look at the neighborhood in Manhattan — which, you know, Manhattan didn't really need that much help — but if you look at the neighborhood around the High Line, it has exploded since then. And so, expect the same here.”

The entire linear park project, which will run from Montclair to Jersey City, will take about eight to 10 years to complete. But Murphy told WNYC’s Nancy Solomon, who hosts the show: “You'll be out on your bicycle, God willing, while I’m still governor.” Murphy’s term ends in January 2026.

And the first stretch, he said, will be “meaningfully longer” than the 1.5-mile High Line.

“It’s going to be a game-changer for neighborhoods,” Murphy said. “You know how many kids aren’t blessed with the wherewithal in their households to go rent a house on the shore — where they're really cut off from recreational opportunities. This will transform their lives.”

The Greenway will run along the abandoned Boonton rail line. It was first proposed decades ago as the Ice & Iron Greenway, and organizations backing the project feared last year that if New Jersey didn’t step in with a funding mechanism before their exclusive rights to purchase the rail line property expired, it might be sold off to developers.

In November 2021, the Murphy administration announced it would purchase the 135 acres for $65 million, and it formally acquired the land earlier this month.

The park is expected to run through portions of Jersey City, Secaucus, Kearny, Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and Montclair.

"Ask Governor Murphy" is a production of WBGO in Newark in partnership with WNYC and WHYY. It’s hosted by Solomon, a senior reporter for WNYC and Gothamist.