ANOTHER EAST-WEST LINK THROUGH NORTH JERSEY: Even as I-80 still was a few years away from completion through northern New Jersey, highway planners foresaw the need for another east-west highway link. In 1969, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) developed plans for a 25-mile-long freeway connecting NJ 23 and I-287 near Butler with a proposed Hudson River crossing between Alpine, New Jersey and Yonkers, New York. The NJ 14 Freeway was intended to relieve congestion not only on the George Washington Bridge (which was nearing capacity only seven years after completion of its lower deck), but also along the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Beginning at the intersection of NJ 23 (which was slated for freeway conversion) and Kiel Avenue in Butler, NJ 14 was to join I-287 about two and one-half miles to the east. The NJ 14 Freeway may have utilized the current alignment of I-287 from milepost 54 in Bloomingdale north to EXIT 59 (NJ 208 Freeway) in Franklin Lakes, and the northernmost two miles of the current alignment of NJ 208 in Franklin Lakes. Continuing east from NJ 208, the proposed NJ 14 Freeway likely would have been routed through Wyckoff, Ridgewood, Oradell, New Milford, Cresskill, and Alpine. The freeway would have continued east across the Hudson River, most likely as a bridge because of approach requirements on both sides of the river. East of the new Hudson River crossing, the route would have continued as an upgraded Cross County Parkway, which would have been opened to commercial traffic. Two new miles of freeway would have been built on the Westchester side of the span.
This was not the first time an east-west freeway was proposed through northern Bergen County. In 1966, the Tri-State Transportation Commission recommended construction of an extended NJ 19 Freeway continuing north and east from Paterson to Alpine, as well as of a new bridge between Alpine and Yonkers.
EXTENDING WEST TO THE DELAWARE WATER GAP: Although a westerly extension of the NJ 14 Freeway was not on official planning map, some speculated that the route may have been extended some 35 miles west via Sparta and Newton to a proposed NJ 94 Freeway
A POTENTIAL INTERSTATE HIGHWAY: In 1970, the states of New Jersey and New York sent a joint proposal for 19 miles of the proposed freeway between Franklin Lakes and Yonkers to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The proposed Hudson River crossing not included in the Federal funding proposal likely would have been a toll bridge built and maintained under the auspices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which had jurisdiction over all New York-New Jersey crossings within 25 miles of Manhattan. The designation of the proposed New York-New Jersey Interstate highway is not known.
Ultimately, intense opposition by Bergen County and Westchester County residents to a new expressway, combined with the daunting engineering and aesthetic challenges of constructing a bridge at the highest point along the New Jersey Palisades, helped kill this project.