The "fourth alternative" was the Monmouth Junction "same time" alternative, which reduced the 123-minute Lakewood-to-New York running time to 110 minutes by "improving speed and fewer stops." The study does not say what stops would be eliminated. That alternative gives Monmouth Junction the same 110-minute traveling time as the Matawan alternative.
Could that 110 travel time (end to end) be acheived with the following stops?
Dayton/South Brunswick/North Brunswick
Newark Penn Station
NJ Transit tunnel study for MOM line released
SOUTH BRUNSWICK -- After almost two years, a study on building a $77 million tunnel under the Northeast Corridor Line has been released by NJ Transit, the North Brunswick Sentinel reported.
The study, completed in August 2001 by J.E. Sverdrup and Parsons Brinkerhoff, looked at the feasibility of tunneling under the line to make NJ Transit’s controversial Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex proposal work.
According to the report, it is feasible for NJ Transit to build a $77 million pipe arch tunnel near the intersection of the Northeast Corridor Line and the Jamesburg branch freight line in the Monmouth Junction section of the township.
The $400 million MOM rail project is seeking to use existing freight lines to bring commuters from Ocean and Monmouth counties north for connecting service to New York.
The favored 40.1-mile route would start in Lakehurst and travel north through Lakewood and Howell, then turn west in Freehold and pass through Manalapan, Englishtown, and the Middlesex County communities of Monroe Township and Jamesburg, before connecting with Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Line in Monmouth Junction.
Two other routes are being studied as part of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, including a 27.7-mile freight route from Lakehurst to Red Bank where the train could run on the North Jersey Coast Line to Newark and New York, and a 35.8-mile route that would run between Lakehurst and Matawan that would also connect with the North Jersey Coast Line.
While the passenger rail line has the support of some officials and residents in Monmouth and Ocean counties, three towns in Middlesex County vehemently oppose the project. South Brunswick and Jamesburg have both recently passed resolutions to restate their opposition to the plan. Some residents of Englishtown have also objected to the proximity of a rail line to their homes.
According to the report, the tunnel is needed to bring southbound trains on the Northeast corridor across the other three tracks of the line to the eastern Jamesburg branch for service east through Monmouth County and south to Ocean County.
Former Transit Director Jeffrey Warsh initially promised South Brunswick and state officials, including state Sen. Peter Inverso (R-14), that the tunnel study would be made public shortly after visiting the township in February 2001.
Repeated attempts by township officials to see the report since then went unanswered until recently.
Deputy Township Manager Geoffrey Urbanik received permission to travel to NJ Transit’s main office in Newark to review the report during the recent DEIS scoping hearings regarding the MOM project.
This week, Greater Media Newspapers was able to obtain a copy of the report under the new Open Public Records Act.
The report states that the objectives of the study were to find a preferred location for the tunnel and a method of construction. Both objectives needed to "present an acceptable level of risk to NEC operations" that would be acceptable to line owner Amtrak.
Any design or location must be approved by the federal rail carrier who owns the line, according to the study.
The preferred site for the tunnel would be near the present connection of the Jamesburg branch with the Northeast Corridor Line at around mile post 41.2, according to the report.
The study presents two options at that site, and another one about 7,400 feet north on the NEC line near a proposed site for a station.
According to the report, a station would be placed north of the Major Road crossing. That station proposal was part of the 1996 Major Investment Study on the MOM project.
According to the tunnel report, that 1996 document was relied upon in creating the recent study.
South Brunswick officials have been debating the issue of building a station on the NEC, separate from the MOM issue.
Republicans made it a major issue voicing support of a station in their latest election campaign, while the Democratic administration has said that it would like to see some kind of poll or referendum on the issue before taking a permanent stand.
Among the majority, Mayor-elect Frank Gambatese has stated that a train station in South Brunswick may bring more traffic from outside the town to the already overcrowded road system.
The preferred tunnel option would require taking additional land on the west side of the line estimated to be 250-by-1,000 feet, according to the study.
The report said that the land to be taken for the tunnel "appears to be unused industrial property suitable for the proposed rail modifications."
No block or lot numbers were specified in the report.
South Brunswick officials are in the process of reviewing the tunnel report to see exactly what impact the proposed tunnel would have, and what exact properties would be affected by the plan.
According to the report, the tunnel option recommended would run about 120 feet along the corridor, creating the least interruption in service.
The study, however, said that the $77 million estimate does not include "signal systems and other operational requirements" of building the tunnel.
The study said that NJ Transit was conducting a separate study on that issue which was expected to be completed in early 2001, and "may have some impact on the conclusions" of the report.