NJ Turnpike Authority kills Route 92 plan
By: Joseph Harvie, The Packet Group
Princeton Packet, 12/05/2006
Officials in Princeton, West Windsor and Plainsboro decry decision
After years of debates, studies and
engineering reports, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has officially
canceled the proposed Route 92 project.
The Turnpike Authority, in a
Dec. 1 letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection, said
it has decided to shift its focus
from the proposed 6.7-mile limited-access toll road, which would have
linked the Turnpike in Monroe Township to Route 1 in South Brunswick, to a planned widening of the roadway
between interchanges 6 and 9.
"Now that we are moving forward on the
widening project — the largest expansion of the Turnpike since it was
built over 50 years ago — we have decided to cancel the Route 92
project," Turnpike Executive Director Michael Lapolla said in
The letter was sent to the DEP to officially
withdraw applications for wetlands and stream-crossing permits
needed from the agency to allow the road to be built.
The decision to withdraw permit requests and cancel the project came a
year after the Turnpike Authority shifted $175 million of the $181
million set aside for Route 92 to the widening project.
The Turnpike Authority did not
formally announce the decision to scrap the Route 92 plan, and
its decision came as a surprise to some. Reaction to the news was
Former Princeton Borough Mayor and member of the Regional Planning
Board of Princeton Marvin Reed said from Princeton's point of view, the
news is disappointing.
Recalling an authorization from the Legislature in 1937 for a bypass
from Somerville to Freehold, Mr. Reed explained that a much-needed
east-west roadway to divert traffic from downtown Princeton has been on
the state's agenda for nearly 70 years. But, he added, plans always
seems to fall by the wayside.
Although Princeton was already disappointed when Route 92 was slated to
end at Route 1, Mr. Reed said, many thought it could still relieve some
traffic in the area.
"This is doubly disappointing," Mr. Reed said. "This is one more step
in making promises and not fulfilling them."
Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand also said she was
"S-92 would have been an east-west road that would help the region,"
Mayor Marchand said.
Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu called the decision to cancel the project
"a mistake," adding, "We think it's a project that was important not
just to my community, but to the region."
The Plainsboro mayor continued, "It came as a bit of a surprise. Our
understanding from the state was that they had no plans to cancel the
project. I'm very disappointed with the process that was followed
(with) one hand telling us they did not have (the) intention to cancel
Mayor Cantu said he found the decision particularly disturbing because
the Route 1 corridor has been targeted for development, and Route 92
was a critical piece of the infrastructure that should have been put in
place to support that development.
"It is what it is and we have to move on from here," Mayor Cantu said.
"We're disappointed, and we think it's a decision that the state will
West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh called the decision "kind of
disappointing," noting that "to me (Route 92) is important for economic
growth in this region."
Of future traffic options now that the Route 92 proposal has been
shelved, Mayor Hsueh said, "I have to look at exactly what is the
reason why the state rejected it before I can put anything forward."
South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese
called the Turnpike Authority's decision good news. He said the end of
Route 92 is a victory for the township.
"This is what we've been waiting for,
for the past 14 years," Mayor Gambatese said.
Princeton Borough Mayor Mildred Trotman could not be reached for
Staff writers Courtney Gross and Molly Petrilla contributed to this
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