92 EIS nearly ready

By: Joseph Harvie, Staff Writer   
South Brunswick Post, 07/21/2005

Army Corps eyes summer release.

The final Environmental Impact Statement on Route 92 is expected to be unveiled sometime this summer, according to Army Corps of Engineers officials.

Richard Tomer, chief of the Regulatory Branch of the Army Corps of Engineers, said Tuesday the agency is expected to issue the final EIS by the end of the summer, at which time the public will have an opportunity to speak on the document.

Summer ends Sept. 20.

Route 92 is a 6.7-mile limited access toll road that is proposed to run from New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A to Route 1 at Ridge Road.

The Army Corps is reviewing the road because state and federal environmental agencies could not agree on whether permits should be issued. The state Department of Environmental Protection issued permits, but the federal Environmental Protection Agency rejected them, saying other, less intrusive alternatives exist.

The Army Corps released a draft version of the EIS in April 2004 and in May of that year held a public hearing on the document. At that time 87 percent, 62 of 71, of those who spoke opposed the highway, according to a transcript of the May 2004 hearing.

Mr. Tomer said the Army Corps is waiting for comments from other environmental agencies that have been looking at a preliminary version of the final EIS.

"We are at the end of that process and getting comment in from those agencies," Mr. Tomer said. "We will evaluate those comments and determine whether we want to make any changes to the preliminary version or not and that will lead to a final version of the EIS."

At the May 2004 public hearing, many of those who opposed the highway said they were upset that certain issues were not included in the draft EIS. Kingston residents said they were upset that traffic in the village was not included in the study. Others were concerned that Route 522 was not included in the study.

Mr. Tomer said all of the public's concerns will be answered in the final draft of the EIS.

"All of the concerns raised, whether they were raised by letters or at the hearing, will be addressed in the EIS," Mr. Tomer said.