The New Jersey Sierra Club is seeking an injunction to stop work on a bypass road through the Lacey Rail Trail to alleviate traffic on Route 9 while it appeals the state Department of Environmental Protection's approval of the project, according to the group's Director Jeff Tittel. 

Ocean County Rail Trail (Ocean County Dept. of Parks & Recreation)

Tittel accused the agency and DEP Commissioner Bob Martin of sneaking approval of the permit to avoid opposition from the group, which spoke against the road in 2006 and 2009.

"We filed an appeal on the bypass road because what the DEP did was unconscionable and reckless," said Tittel. "This road has been twice, in actually smaller forms, not been granted permits by the DEP because of the impact to the environment and to wetlands and to the water quality in 2006 and 2009," he said.

Tittel pointed out the recreational trail is used for walking and biking and is still environmentally sensitive with a lot of trees that connects surround open space areas.

"Additional run-off and pollution from cars is going to impact the brooks and streams in the area," he said.

Tittel said the Sierra Club learned of the permit approval after noticing trees being chopped down. The permit was granted on Oct. 16.

"Commissioner Martin and the DEP granted the permit without noticing us so we could file an appeal in a timely matter," contended Tittel.

When all phases of the 20 mile rail trail are completed, it will run from South Toms River to Barnegat. Completed sections include from Waretown to the southern end of Barnegat and a stretch in Berkeley Township.