Route 92 connector scrapped

Home News Tribune Online 12/2/06

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Plans to build Route 92 connecting the New Jersey Turnpike with Route 1 were officially scrapped yesterday as the Turnpike Authority decided to focus its efforts on widening the Turnpike between Interchanges 6 and 9.

Turnpike Authority Executive Director Michael Lapolla wrote a letter to Lisa Jackson, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, asking to withdraw the authority's permits along the proposed 6.7-mile limited access toll road because they "decided to cancel the Route 92 project."

"Our main focus right now is expanding the Turnpike between Exits 6 and 9," Lapolla said. "This project has been on the back burner for several years, and we think we can get more bang for our buck by using the money to widen the Turnpike."

The proposal called for a limited-access toll road to connect the Turnpike at Interchange 8A with Route 1. The plan was created during the early 1990s but has existed in different versions for more than 60 years.

The cost of the project was projected at $350 million in 2000, but Mayor Frank Gambatese said the cost has likely risen to between $600 million and $700 million if construction was started now.

Proponents of the plan said the road would decrease traffic and bring additional business to Route 1, while others argued the road was unnecessary and did not directly benefit the residents of the township.

"This is wonderful news," Gambatese said. "This is an issue that has been plaguing the town for more than a decade, and now we can move forward in our planning without worry that this road will be built."

Cathy Dowgin, a township resident who has been fighting the proposed plan, said the road was of little benefit.

"Almost the entire road was to be in South Brunswick, but if you live in the township there would be no way to access it because you could only get on either on Route 1 or at the Turnpike," she said. "If you are local, you would use Friendship or Ridge roads, so why would we want this in our town?"

Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu, however, disagreed, saying the road would be an economic boom to the community, along with alleviating traffic.

"This is a decision that I think people are going to live to regret," Cantu said. "This was a critically important project that would bring needed business back to the Route 1 corridor, and I believe make that area a major part of local economics once again.

"So yes, I'm very disappointed that this project was canceled, he said."

David Stegon: (732) 565-7251;