Mayors seek help in fighting Route 92
By: Brian Shappell , Staff
South Brunswick Post, 05/30/2002
Town leaders ask Gov. James
McGreevey to block construction.
The mayors of several towns including
South Brunswick have banded together to ask Gov. James McGreevey to stop
construction of Route 92.
Mayors Debra Johnson of South Brunswick,
Shirley Eberle of Franklin and Louise Wilson of Montgomery all have confirmed
that they signed the letter, which was forwarded to the governor's office on May
15. Jon Edwards of Hopewell Township said he wants to add his name to the list
of mayors as well. Mayors Angelo Corradino of Manville and Brian Nolan of Rocky
Hill had previously announced their intention to sign the letter, though neither
could be reached for comment Wednesday.
The letter restates the reasons
the mayors oppose Route 92, a proposed 6.7-mile, limited-access toll road that
would link Route 1
and the N.J. Turnpike at Exit 8A. Mayor Johnson, among others, has said construction of
the road would increase traffic, especially large trucks, on local roads and
would be "environmentally horrific."
"We're not telling him
anything new we just want to reiterate our position and bring his attention to
this and what a rut it would cause," she said. "We want to make sure we keep
(the governor's office) as informed as possible and get it on the governors
agenda." The mayors say the governor should heed the advise of the federal
Environmental Protection Agency, which said the road would have a significant
negative impact. Mayor Johnson said Gov. McGreevey is the only person that can
single-handedly halt the project.
Regional EPA had taken a position against the proposed roadway in favor of the
'No Build' option that would provide improvements to the existing
roadways," the letter states.
governor's office did not return calls Wednesday about the letter or the
governor's position on the highway.
The road currently is being
reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which became involved nearly four
years ago after state and federal regulators could not agree on whether permits
should be issued that would allow the N.J. Turnpike Authority to fill some
wetlands along the highway's route. The federal EPA rejected the permits, while
the state Department of Environmental Protection approved them.
Corps of Engineers' New York District office announced in February 2000 that
because of the potential impacts of the road an
statement was required. The study, which was started in February 2000, is set to
be released in September, three months later than expected.
Local officials believe the need for such an east-west
road has been eased because of other road projects in the area, according
"South Brunswick Township, along with county, state
and federal assistance is in the process of completing Route 522, which is
four-lane highway designed to safely move vehicular traffic from State
Highway 27 to County Road Route 535," the letter states. "The roadway is capable
of moving large volumes of traffic through South Brunswick Township to and from
Exit 8A of the Turnpike."
The mayors are concerned about the increased
opportunity for large trucks to use small, local roads located near the end of
the proposed Route 92 path.
"Route 92 will bring congestion to our roads
and big, heavy tractor trailers to local streets," Mayor Eberle said in a press
put out in March in advance of the expected environmental impact
statement release. "We want to see the Turnpike Authority pursue alternatives to
the highway's construction."
"Route 92 will channel additional traffic
into our area and will destroy wetlands and contiguous forest within Montgomery
we don't take kindly to that," Mayor Wilson said in the release.
"Our community is working hard to reduce traffic congestion and protect our
natural resources, including water quality and habitat. Route 92 would deal a
heavy blow to our objectives."