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 ALFRED E. DRISCOLL EXPRESSWAY: In 1971, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority proposed a 36-mile-long, four-lane toll expressway from the Garden State Parkway in Toms River northwest to the New Jersey Turnpike in South Brunswick. The Alfred E. Driscoll Expressway, named after the governor who opened the mainline New Jersey Turnpike, was to provide a high-speed corridor for central and southern New Jersey, and the only controlled-access route to southeast New Jersey fully open to trucks. It was a somewhat shorter route than that proposed in the 1960's for the Garden State Thruway.
The $360 million Alfred E. Driscoll Expressway, which was to be financed by New Jersey Turnpike Authority bonds, was scheduled for completion by 1976. It was expected to carry approximately 40,000 vehicles per day (AADT). While its construction would have required the displacement of 84 homes and six businesses, the expressway (in conjunction with appropriate planning and zoning) was expected to better accommodate residential, commercial and light industrial growth.
The Alfred E. Driscoll Expressway was to begin at the Garden State Parkway just south of EXIT 80 (Ocean CR 530) in Toms River. It was to parallel to parkway north to NJ 37, and leave the parkway alignment north of this point. Continuing north, a barrier toll plaza was to be constructed in the vicinity of NJ 70 in Lakehurst Township. At this toll plaza, tickets would be distributed to northbound motorists, and collected from southbound motorists. The expressway was to continue in a north-northwesterly direction to its terminus at milepost 77 (between EXIT 8A and EXIT 9) of the New Jersey Turnpike in South Brunswick. Since the expressway was to be part of the New Jersey Turnpike system, there would have been no need for an additional barrier toll plaza at its northern terminus.
Interchanges were to be constructed at the following locations:
EXIT D1: Garden State Parkway and US 9 in Toms River
EXIT D2: NJ 37 in Toms River
EXIT D3: NJ 70 in Lakehurst Township
EXIT D4: I-195 in Jackson Township
EXIT D5: NJ 33 Freeway in Manalapan Township
EXIT D6: Middlesex CR 520 in Madison Township
EXIT D7: New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) in South Brunswick
Tolls were to be collected at the NJ 70, I-195, NJ 33 and Middlesex CR 520 interchanges.
DESIGN CRITERIA: The engineers of the Alfred E. Driscoll Expressway incorporated many of the design features pioneered by the New Jersey Turnpike and other highways: controlled access at interchanges spaced considerable distances apart, 12-foot-wide traffic lanes, 12-foot-wide shoulders, and 1,200-foot-long acceleration and deceleration lanes. To provide a safe efficient means of travel between two points, all grades were to be kept to a maximum of three percent, and all curves were to have a minimum radius of 3,000 feet. Although the design speed for the expressway was 70 miles per hour, the engineers established a legal speed limit of 60 miles per hour to allow for a margin of safety. In addition to these design standards for the roadway, there were also specifications established for all turnpike structures, including bridges and storm-drainage facilities.