Building it

Choices and Consequences

Citizens Fight Back
Newspaper Coverage of Expansion Through East Brunswick, 1971-1972


Follow the story of East Brunswick's resistance to a Turnpike widening project through these transcribed newspaper articles from 1971 and 1972. It becomes readily apparent that twenty years after the Turnpike opened, attitudes about road construction had changed. In East Brunswick, residents responded to the Authority's widening plan with concerns over noise and air pollution, traffic congestion, and perpetual expansion. Some banded together to form the CCEB (Concerned Citizens of East Brunswick). After a series of legal battles, the CCEB agreed to drop the lawsuits it had brought against the Authority if the Authority agreed to monitor pollution levels along the seven-mile area as well as erect an earthen barrier to muffle traffic sounds. These concessions became the rule in later widening projects.


The Star-Ledger, January 29, 1972

By James Ladeda
     The Concerned Citizens of East Brunswick and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority yesterday reached an agreement in their year-old dispute over the proposed widening of the turnpike in East Brunswick.
     A spokesman for Concerned Citizens, a group of several hundred homeowners, called the pact a "whole new ball of wax" for the authority in its dealings with homeowners over the expansion plans. The group has been opposed to the widening for environmental reasons.
     Under the Agreement, reached after a 24-hour bargaining session in Lexington, Mass., the citizens will drop their federal suit to halt the widening.
     The meeting was held at the Massachusetts offices of environmental experts representing the Turnpike Authority.
     The citizens also agreed to drop their Superior Court suit in Middlesex County. A trial on that suit was to have begun March 13 before Judge David Furman, who yesterday signed the pact between the two sides.
     In return for dropping the suit, according to the citizens' spokesman Jerry O'Sullivan, the authority has agreed to allow inspection for noise and air pollution violations by an environmental expert representing the citizens' group.
     The authority also agreed, O'Sullivan said, to conform to a set of air and noise pollution standards to be set up by experts from both sides. The standards are to be devised within the next four months and implemented by six months after the widening from Edison to East Brunswick is completed.
     The authority also agreed to build an earthen "collar" about 50 feet high around the two-mile loop that will form the new Interchange 9 in East Brunswick, to cut down noise and air pollution.
    These agreements were added to separate agreements reached with individual homeowners, O'Sullivan said.
     The authority reportedly refused to make environmental concessions on stretches of the road not involved in the widening.
     However, it agreed to set up two experimental noise and air pollution testing stations along the non-widened section of Turnpike in the township, to be manned by the citizen group's environmental expert, Michael Hogan.
     According to O'Sullivan, the terms of the agreement insure that "there will be less noise and air pollution with l2 lanes than we have with the current six in the area."
     The agreement was read at a meeting last night in East Brunswick attended by 50 members of the citizens group.

© 1971. The Star-Ledger. All rights reserved. Posted with permission of The Star-Ledger.

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