Update 8/6/15 10am – State police are still working to confirm the identity of a person killed when a dump truck crashed into an overpass on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Tuesday morning’s crash sparked a fire and caused a miles-long traffic standstill that lasted for several hours. But officials said Wednesday that it didn’t damage the overpass or the pavement underneath it.
The person killed is believed to be the truck’s driver.
Traffic on one of the nation’s major toll roads will be backed up until the evening rush after a dump truck struck an overpass Tuesday morning, causing a fire and a miles-long standstill.
The truck was traveling along the New Jersey Turnpike when it struck the Wood Avenue overpass in Linden near Exit 13A, (near Newark Airport) State Police Capt. Stephen Jones said. A fire ignited that may have compromised gas and power lines that run under the overpass as well as the structure itself, he added.
There was no word on whether the driver was injured.
The northbound truck lanes were briefly opened to “bleed out” traffic that was stuck at the scene of the fire, and were then reopened late Tuesday afternoon. But Turnpike Authority spokesman Tom Feeney said all other lanes were expected to remain closed until at least early Tuesday night, due to power line issues and the ongoing investigation.
Extensive delays were still being reported on both s ides of the highway late Tuesday afternoon. Most motorists were out of their cars, talking with other stranded travelers, while others tossed a football around. Some pulled out beach chairs and caught some rays.
Northbound traffic was being diverted at Interchange 10 in the truck lanes and 11 in the car lanes. Southbound traffic is being directed off at Interchange 14.
New Jersey Transit trains were honoring bus passes after the accident delayed bus passengers.
Photos posted to social media showed people sunbathing, and throwing around a baseball while they waited for the roadway to reopen.
Patti Anderegg, who was three hours late to pick up her 5-year-old nephew for a museum trip in New York, said that drivers stuck on the highway made the best out of a bad situation.
“Everybody was out of their cars. Listening to music. Pulling out chairs. It was very cordial,” said Anderegg, who was able to get out of the jam when police removed highway barrie rs to let her into a lane that had started moving.
Kennedy Brown, 15, of Bellmawr, told WCBS radio that was sitting on top of a car during the delay.
“We’re all just packed in here,” she said.