Turnpike widening the topic of upcoming hearings

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority will be conducting a series of public hearings on the proposed widening of the turnpike from Exits 6 through 9, including an additional truck lane at Exit 8A.

The widening project took the place of the controversial Route 92 proposal, which was heavily opposed by South Brunswick and other local municipalities due to concerns over increased sprawl and damage to wetlands. In December 2005, the potential toll road was dealt a crippling blow when

175 million in funding was taken out of its budget and given to the turnpike project. Severely wounded but not quite dead in 2006, Route 92 made one last attempt at survival in the form of an Army Corps of Engineers study that advocated for its construction.

South Brunswick and other municipalities acted swiftly to mobilize against the road before the project had a chance to re- gain its momentum. Faced with overwhelming opposition, the Turnpike Authority officially killed the project, stating that it would devote all its efforts toward expanding the turnpike to relieve traffic.

The first meeting will be held Sept. 18 at 5 p.m. at the Bordentown Senior Center. The second will be held Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Hamilton. The third will be held Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Monroe, and the last one will be held Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn of East Windsor.

The hearings will open with an official presentation followed by opportunities for public comment, either written or verbal. The record will remain open until Oct. 12, and additional hearings must then be submitted to Richard Raczynski, the chief engineer of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

– Chris Gaetano