FROM THE DELAWARE MEMORIAL BRIDGE TO THE SHORE: Faced with phenomenal growth in postwar vehicular traffic, the New Jersey State Highway Department mapped out a network of proposed controlled-access highways in 1960. These highways were to supplement the Interstate highways and toll roads already legislated.
One of the routes proposed, the NJ 60 Freeway, was to parallel US 40 between the Delaware Memorial Bridge approach in Deepwater, Salem County and Ocean City, Cape May County. For a short section in the Vineland-Millville area, the proposed east-west NJ 60 Freeway was to be dually signed with the north-south NJ 55 Freeway. Continuing east, the NJ 60 Freeway was to intersect the proposed NJ 50 Freeway near Mays Landing, the Garden State Parkway just north of the Great Egg Harbor Bridge, and the proposed US 9 Freeway near Somers Point. Combined with the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the route was to provide a direct, controlled-access link to southern New Jersey resorts from Delaware, Maryland, and southeastern Pennsylvania.
In 1972, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) described the route as follows:
The construction of the NJ 60 Freeway from US 40 in Deepwater to Ocean City will provide access to the southern coastal area from traffic entering New Jersey from the Delaware Memorial Bridge. This route will not only have considerable impact on the economic development of the urbanized areas of Millville-Vineland, but should also encourage development of the entire southernmost section of the state.
The NJDOT estimated the cost of the 58.4-mile-long freeway at $116 million. By the mid-1970's, fiscal and environmental concerns killed the road. Inevitably, the NJ 60 Freeway was doomed because it served the same east-west corridor as the toll Atlantic City Expressway. Despite the demise of the proposal, the New Jersey State Legislature has not yet removed the NJ 60 Freeway from the NJDOT official route log.
NOT DEAD JUST YET: In 2010, Celeste Riley, a state assemblywoman representing Cumberland County, suggested reviving long-dormant plans to build the NJ 60 Freeway as part of an overall plan to improve transportation in the county. She defended this plan by saying that Cumberland County was landlocked by Salem County, though Salem County historically had opposed the project. However, given recent development in Cumberland and Salem counties that has congested local roads such as US 40, officials may yet consider this proposal.