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These initial sections of NJ 58 formed part of the new Essex Freeway, which was to continue west through Newark into the area of Parsippany.
Despite the new Interstate designation - and the promise of Federal funding - construction of I-280 was delayed for years.
Engineers first cut through First Mountain, and had approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of rock ready to haul to a replacement fill toward the western end of I-280, where a separate section was being graded over unstable land.
However, after determining that the gravel on the completed section of roadbed was too hard on oversized truck tires (not to mention the grades that the trucks had to negotiate), engineers decided to construct a temporary railroad to haul the rock fill west along the route of I-280.
Sheeran called for the construction of a tunnel through First Mountain.
The I-280 tunnel proposal would have cost million, twice the cost of constructing a deep cut over a slightly longer, "S"-shaped route near the Edison National Historic Site.