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, July 7, 1971

By John Pribish
     Newark attorney Leonard Weinglass said yesterday he has not decided in which court he will attack the proposed expansion of the N.J. Turnpike between New Brunswick and Edison.
     "We intend to stop the Turnpike expansion," said Weinglass, who has been retained by the Concerned Citizens Committee of East Brunswick
     Filing of the suit in either state or federal courts "could come soon," said Weinglass, without pinpointing a timetable.
     The attorney, who acted as associate counsel for the Chicago Seven, said his desk is piled with papers he must research and added "We'll be in court as soon as possible."
     There is also a possibility that Weinglass will be at the N.J. Turnpike Authority's offices in East Brunswick today when demolition bids are to be accepted.


* * *

     Mrs. Emily Alman, chairman of the citizens' group, who said Weinglass was retained over the weekend, announced that as many as 100 persons are expected to participate today in a demonstration against the Turnpike expansion.
     "We want to put them on notice that we are going into litigation," said Mrs. Alman, who admits the committee has exhausted its political pressure efforts to halt the widening project.
     The committee had met twice with Gov. William T. Cahill and his aides, but the governor has approved the recommendation of Transportation Commissioner John Kohl to proceed.
     The authority plans to widen the Turnpike for five miles between Interchanges 9 and 10. About 84 parcels of property are involved, including nearly 20 homes and two industries.

* * *


     Under a Superior Court temporary restraining order, Mrs. Alman and 10 of her neighbors on Ainsworth Avenue are prohibited from interferring with surveying and test borings on their properties.
     The order was obtained by the authority late Friday and a show cause hearing was set for 9:30 a.m. Friday by Judge Jonn C. Demos. It will be determined then if the order should be made permanent.
     Mrs. Alman said the street is not included in the Turnpike widening, but the suit contends the information is needed in the project's planning.
     Howard S. Heydon, the Turnpike's chief engineer, said surveying personnel and boring contractors were denied access to the properties.

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

1 of 6