State review clears Turnpike operations in 40-vehicle wreck
CRANBURY (AP) — A state Transportation Department review finds a "sudden weather event" caused a flash freeze of black ice before a deadly 40-vehicle wreck last month on the New Jersey Turnpike.
DOT spokesman Stephen Schapiro the review found no fault in road operations because crews were salting. "NJ Turnpike crews were actively salting the road at the time of the crash and no fault was found in the agency’s salting operations that night," wrote Shapiro in an email.
However, the report recommends officials check new potions of a widening project to identify areas that may pose a greater risk for icing.Pavement that is shaded during the day, says Schapiro, could pose agreat risk of icing. The DOT's report suggested expanding weather monitoring equipment, increased record keeping during events, and the greater use of radio to broadcast unusual weather forecasts or speed restrictions to maintenance crews.
DOT Commissioner Jamie Fox ordered the review after state police said ice was a factor in a series of crashes in Cranbury and Bordentown on Feb. 9.
Twenty-one vehicles were involved in multiple accidents on the inner roadway and 19 were involved in crashes on the outer roadway. One man became trapped in his car and died. Dozens of motorists were injured.
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