Route 92 impact study is ready for public view

Trenton Times
Thursday, April 22, 2004

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has scheduled a public hearing for May 20 on its draft environmental impact statement for the long-proposed Route 92.

South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese, a longtime opponent of the proposed highway, said the draft statement that was made available to the township yesterday doesn't seem to take a position on whether Route 92 should be built. He said the township asked its attorneys to study the document.

"It's lukewarm at best," Gambatese said. "It doesn't really come right out and say this road should be built. It leaves us with many questions to ask, but I feel better about this today than I did yesterday."

New Jersey Turnpike Authority spokesman Joe Orlando said, "We received the Draft EIS today and are aware that the the Army Corps has set a public hearing for May 20. It is extremely important the public process for comment on Route 92 run its course and we're looking forward to getting the public's input."

Two sessions are scheduled for the May 20 hearing at the Radisson Hotel Princeton at Route 1 and Ridge Road in South Brunswick. The first session is slated from 2 to 5 p.m., the second from 7 p.m. to midnight.

The impact statement will help decide whether federal approvals will be given for the highway that would be built and maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. Comments taken during the May 20 public hearing are to be considered in the finalized statement.

In 1998, the federal Environmental Protection Agency rejected Route 92, but the state approved the permits the next year and the project was sent to the Army Corps to help resolve the dispute.

The highway would be built through South Brunswick and connect Route 1 near Ridge Road and the New Jersey Turnpike, at Exit 8A in Monroe. A state permit was issued in 1999 to allow about 14 acres of wetlands to be filled to build the highway, but that permit expired last month.

The Turnpike Authority has said it will reapply for the permit, and state officials have said they will wait to see the impact statement's findings before deciding whether to renew the permit.

Representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers did not return calls late yesterday.