BETWEEN THE ROUTE 18 AND ROUTE 74 FREEWAYS: In the late 1950's, the New Jersey State Highway Department legislated the construction of a north-south freeway to parallel existing NJ 35 from Long Branch to Seaside Heights. For years, the existing two-to-three-lane Route 35 had been beset by congestion and high accident rates, and little right-of-way existed for expansion of the existing roadway.
In 1962, the Tri-State Transportation Commission endorsed the proposed NJ 35 Freeway in its regional expressway plan. That year, state highway officials began acquiring land for the freeway. The section from Eatontown south to Wall Township, which was constructed between 1965 and 1991, eventually became part of the NJ 18 Freeway. Eventually, officials dropped plans for the NJ 35 Freeway from Brielle south to Seaside Heights.
Nearly a decade later, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) altered the route of the proposed NJ 35 Freeway, moving the terminus from Long Branch to Matawan. At its northern terminus, the NJ 35 Freeway was to connect to the eastern terminus of the proposed NJ 74 Freeway. More details from the 1972 NJDOT report Master Plan for Transportation are as follows:
The need for relief to NJ 35 in northern Monmouth County was recognized by the establishment of legislation in 1971 of the NJ 35 Freeway extending from the NJ 18 Freeway to an appropriate connection with the NJ 74 Freeway. This route will do much to relieve the congestion and hazardous conditions that the motorist experiences on the existing NJ 35, a condition that can expect to grow worse with the completion of the NJ 74 Freeway. The magnitude of development in the Keyport-Matawan area necessitates that a small portion of existing NJ 35 be utilized to serve as the connection between the NJ 35 Freeway and the NJ 74 Freeway.
The NJDOT estimated the cost of the 14.9-mile-long NJ 35 Freeway at $53 million. However, the cancellation of the NJ 74 Freeway in the mid-1970's obviated the need for the NJ 35 Freeway through northern Monmouth County. Instead, improvements were made to the existing Garden State Parkway. (The parkway was widened to ten lanes in a 3-2-2-3 configuration through the area.)