NJ Turnpike, I-195 Reopen Following Dump Truck Fire [PHOTOS]
Both directions of the New Jersey Turnpike have reopened along with eastbound Interstate 195 following a dump truck fire closed down a portion of both roadways but will have a long lasting effect on central New Jersey traffic.
New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson says westbound I-195 will reopen at 9PM on Wednesday night, 11 hours after a dump truck struck a jersey barrier underneath the overpass and burst into flames, killing the driver.
However, only one lane will be available on the overpass crossing the New Jersey Turnpike for the six weeks as work is completed on the new overpass which has been under construction as part of the Turnpike widening project.
Simpson in a press release says the DOT will work with the contractor to accelerate work and open the new overpass sooner.The old overpass will be demolished once work is complete.
Eastbound traffic will continue to have two lanes available.
It was a long day for drivers throughout central New Jersey as the Turnpike was closed in both directions betwwen exit 4 in Mount Laurel and exit 9 in New Brunswick with traffic spilling onto local roads.
Interstate 195 was closed in both directions between exits 5 and 7 as well. Eastbound I-195 opened around 3PM as did the northbound Turnpike.
Routes 18, 130 and 1 caught the brunt of the traffic; Route 1 was backed up from Woodbridge to Interstate 295/95 in Lawrence during the afternoon commute,
New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee said the dump truck did not make a direct strike on the bridge pillars but came to rest on a jersey barrier under the bridge.
EXPLOSIONS AND FLYING TIRE TREAD
A caller to New Jersey 101.5 reported there were 3 explosions after impact.
"(I) heard an explosion...saw a massive tire tread go flying about 30 feet in the air as I swerved out of the way and drove under it while it was still airborne and avoided smaller pieces of tire on my side of the Turnpike," wrote Rich on the New Jersey 101.5 Facebook page. "And a second later I heard the truck slam into the center barrier and saw it in my rear view mirror."
Dee says that traffic agencies to the north and south of the tri state area were alerted to the incident.