SAYREVILLE – It has taken 24 hours and counting to replace six utility poles that were knocked down by a work van on Route 9 ahead of the Tuesday afternoon commute.

The van crashed into the poles on Route 9 northbound at Ernston Road in Sayreville before coming to rest in front of a Starbucks around 3 p.m. Video showed a pole laying on top of the van with an Optimum sign on the side. There is a large dent on the top of the van and its ladders are hanging. It has been removed from the crash scene.

Five other poles fell to the ground bringing down wires along the roadway.  A transformer appears to have caught fire.

The right lane was blocked off as crews replaced the poles.

"It was so scary! It happened not 30 seconds before I was passing by. It felt like I was in a video game or a scene from a movie! Fire, so many poles down," Maryalice Sullivan Pearson wrote in the comments of a photo on Facebook showing the van after the crash.

Six poles take time to replace

Power was restored for the majority of affected JCP&L customers after power was re-routed, according to utility spokesman Chris Hoenig, who said the poles are Verizon's.

Verizon spokesman Chris Barry told New Jersey 101.5 that the utility went to work as soon as the crash was cleared on replacing the poles. A transformer fire delayed the repairs because of hazardous conditions it created.

"In addition, when Verizon collaborates with multiple utilities on pole installations, we sometimes must wait for other teams to complete their work before ours can begin. Once other teams have completed their work on this particular pole, Verizon technicians will be able to finish their part of the repairs as quickly as possible," Barry said.

Sayreville police on Thursday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information about the circumstances of the crash or the condition of the van driver.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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