S.B. gets approval for completion of Route 522

Permits are on the way for last section of east-west thoroughfare

South Brunswick Sentinel, November 26, 2008

The state Department of Environmental Protection recently told South Brunswick officials that they would get the permits needed to complete construction of Route 522 between Routes 130 and 535 near the New Jersey Turnpike overpass by early next year.

The township is hoping to complete construction of the county road's final twomile stretch by the end of 2009.

The decision comes after a long negotiation process. South Brunswick's Traffic Advisory Council, including member Al Kady, has been working on this effort for four years, according to township spokesman Ron Schmalz. Developers in town are paying for part of the construction effort, relieving the town of some of the roughly $6 million worth of construction expenses, Schmalz said.

In addition, the township was granted the permits necessary in order to install traffic lights and widen the intersection at Deans Rhode Hall Road and Fresh Ponds Road. In the case of both this intersection and Route 522, state land is needed.

These permits are long awaited and eagerly anticipated by officials and residents, officials said. Truck traffic is commonplace on local roads near New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A and the completion of Route 522 would relieve truck traffic in the area by offering truckers another way to get to Routes 1, 130 and 27, Councilman Joseph J. Camarota Jr. said.

"That is why it was so important," he said.

The completion of Route 522 is preferable to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's original proposal of Route 92, a toll road that would go from the Turnpike exit in town to Route 1.

Camarota said Route 92 was disliked by residents and officials due to the need for condemning homes and filling in a greater amount of wetlands. He noted that the plan for Route 92 was several decades old and it would have added at least 8,000 vehicles of traffic onto Route 1 at Ridge Road.

Roughly three acres of wetlands would be filled in adjacent to Pigeon Swamp State Park, Camarota said. In exchange, the township gave the state 50 acres for the purpose of preserving it as open space.