Office of the Governor
Whitman Orders Environmental
Study of Millstone Bypass Project
Gov. Christie Whitman today ordered the completion of an environmental impact statement (EIS) of the proposed Millstone Bypass project. The Millstone Bypass project was proposed as a way to ease traffic flow through several intersections on Route 1, while also increasing traffic safety on the highway.
"Reducing traffic congestion on Route 1 is a very important goal, as is reducing the air pollution caused by the congestion," said Gov. Whitman. "We must ensure, however, that we are not creating more harm to the environmental than we are trying to eliminate."
"I am calling for the completion of the environmental impact statement so we can have the most comprehensive assessment possible of the project, as well as the full participation of the public in this process," she said.
According to Gov. Whitman, the EIS will provide a greater opportunity to ensure that any environmental, social and economic impacts are minimized or mitigated to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, an EIS will require a more detailed analysis of alternative alignments.
The NJ Department of Transportation recently completed an environmental assessment (EA) of the project. The EA is an analysis of the environmental, social and economic impacts, which is less rigorous than the EIS analysis. The EIS goes farther than the EA by requiring a more comprehensive analysis of the project's alignment and alternatives to the project. While the EA is subjected to public comment at its completion, the EIS provides a more formal public comment process as the EIS is being developed.
Noting that the project would require the removal of a number of trees along the historic Elm AllJe on Washington Road, the Governor said, "Before we consider taking action that would so permanently change this Princeton landmark, we must convince ourselves that we are taking the route that least affects the area's environment and character."
The EIS would be supervised by the NJ Department of Transportation, who would contract with an expert consultant. The EIS process could begin early in 2001 and would take approximately 1-2 years to complete. The final EIS would be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which then decides whether the project can move forward.
As proposed, the Millstone Bypass would eliminate four traffic lights on Route 1 (Fisher Place, Harrison Street and two at Washington Road), replace a dilapidated bridge over the Millstone River, and widen Route 1 to provide shoulders. Route 571 would be relocated between the D&R Canal and the Princeton Junction Train Station. The new section would originate at the Route 571 Princeton Junction train track overpass, head northwest along the Millstone River, cross Route 1 just south of Harrison Street, and run along the D&R Canal to rejoin Washington Road just east of the canal.