THE GARDEN STATE THRUWAY: In 1964, the New Jersey Highway Authority, which operates the Garden State Parkway, proposed a 45-mile-long expressway linking Woodbridge in Middlesex County with Toms River in Ocean County. The north-south Garden State Thruway, which was to be open to all vehicles, was to provide a bypass of the Garden State Parkway and US 9 through the interior of the state.

As it was originally proposed, the Garden State Thruway was to be a controlled-access route between the New York-northeast New Jersey metropolitan area and the southern New Jersey coast. It was to provide an important link from the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) to Garden State Parkway, on which commercial vehicles are prohibited north of EXIT 105 in Monmouth County. Along with what would eventually become the east-west I-195, the proposed north-south toll road was part of the "Central Jersey Expressway System" announced by Governor Hughes in 1967. By that year, the New Jersey Highway Authority had already purchased 253 acres along the proposed route.

Plans for the Garden State Thruway remained on official maps through mid-1970. Citing financial difficulties, the New Jersey Highway Authority decided not to build the road, and in October 1970, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority took over the project.

THE US 9 CONNECTOR: In 1971, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) proposed a short freeway along the US 9 corridor in Monmouth County. Planned in conjunction with the NJ 74 Freeway, an east-west route that was proposed through the northern part of the county, the freeway was to run for approximately 3.7 miles from NJ 34 in Madison Township north to NJ 35 in Sayreville. A connection may have been provided with the Garden State Parkway (near milepost 122).

In its 1972 report,
Master Plan for Transportation, the NJDOT described the route as follows:

The US 9 Freeway will begin at existing US 9 in Madison Township, and extend northeasterly along the western boundary of Cheesequake State Park to a connection with NJ 35 in the vicinity of Sayreville Borough. The construction of this facility is necessary to remedy the existing traffic problems of US 9 between NJ 34 and NJ 35, a situation caused by the convergence of two major arterials.

The US 9 Freeway was estimated to cost $17 million. However, with the defeat of the statewide transportation bond issue later that year, the US 9 Freeway proposal appeared moribund.

SOURCES: "Proposal for a Central Jersey Expressway System," New Jersey State Highway Department (1965); "Special Report on the Garden State Parkway and the Central Jersey Expressway System," New Jersey Department of Transportation and New Jersey Highway Authority (1967); "Route 74 Freeway Location Study," New Jersey Department of Transportation (1970); Master Plan for Transportation, New Jersey Department of Transportation (1972).

  • US 9 shield by Ralph Herman.


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