Route 92 study finally goes public

Army Corps draft report available
for inspection at library
Staff Writer
South Brunswick Sentinel, April 29, 2004

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — The long-awaited U.S. Army Corps study on Route 92 is finally out.

The Draft Environmental Impact Study, commissioned in 1999, is finally a public document.

The corps took on the study after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency objected to the N.J. Turnpike Authority’s Route 92 project.

The project would build a 6.7-mile toll road, connecting interchange 8A of the turnpike to Route 1 in South Brunswick.

The EPA objected in 1998 to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s issuing a permit to fill 12 acres of wetlands to build the road.

Under section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act, New Jersey is one of two states allowed to issue these permits. The EPA, however, can object to a project based on the number of acres to be filled. It exercised that objection in September 1998, sending the application to the Army Corps for a decision.

The corps held a public hearing in 1999 to determine what should be included in the report. The day of the hearing, the DEP issued a permit to the turnpike. That permit, good for five years, expired at the end of last month.

The authority said that it will apply for another permit.

The draft report looks at several al­ternatives to the road, as well as the "preferred alignment" through South Brunswick.

The report states that 12.03 acres of land would be permanently filled for the project, and another 2.9 acres would be filled during construction of the road.

In addition to studying the road’s construction, the report also looked at intersections in the region that Route 92 is believed will benefit.

According to the report, however, only two of the 15 intersections in the study area would improve if Route 92 is built. Also, Route 27 and Route 522 would increase from a state "level of service" grade of E to a D in the morn­ing commute, and from an F to a B for the afternoon commute.

Assemblyman Bill Baroni said in a statement released Tuesday that the plan is still "the wrong road, in the wrong place, at the wrong time."

Baroni and other opponents state that building the road will place a heavy burden on Route 1, which is al­ready congested with traffic.

South Brunswick Mayor Frank Gambatese said that the information in the study actually helps the case of the township, which vehemently op­poses the project.

"There is a lot (for us) in there," Gambatese said.

South Brunswick and a coalition of several other towns are fighting the project, while southern neighbors Plainsboro and Princeton support the plan.

Princeton Forrestal Associates, the financial arm of Princeton University, has also supported the project.

South Brunswick Councilman Ed­mund Luciano said that the organiza­tion favors the plan because it amounts to a "private driveway" to Forrestal Center on Route 1, which is owned by the university.

The report, which is about 400 pages, is available at the South Brunswick Library.

A public hearing on the report is scheduled for May 20 at the Princeton Radisson Hotel at Route 1 and Ridge Road in South Brunswick.