– A fiery dump van crash underneath an federal government overpass yesterday morning killed one man and also caused gridlock and also travel delays throughout Mercer County and also beyond, authorities said.

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The van driver, who State Police tentatively identified as a 49-year-old Belleville resident, passed away in the crash on the new Jersey Turnpike in ~ Interchange 7A. The accident, which developed just before 10 a.m., taken place when the truck veered into a obstacle underneath one overpass because that Interstate 195. Traffic was stalled in both direction on the Turnpike and on I-195 for most of the day. Fire native the crash damaged the overpass, and the state announced critical night that westbound I-195 will certainly be minimal to one lane on the bridge for up to 6 weeks.


“It really was in the worst possible place you could imagine — the worst script you can come up with,” Robbinsville Fire department Deputy chef Dan Schaffener said.


The human body of the driver was so badly shed that police need to wait for an autopsy prior to officially identify the man and releasing the name of the driver, police said. No one else was igendergeek.orgured in the crash, and also no other vehicles were involved.


The cause remains under investigation, but it may have actually been triggered by a blowout in among the dump truck’s tires, Schaffener said.


According to State Police, the truck was driving in the southbound lanes once it win a barrier on the left side of the road and also overturned top top its driver’s side. The truck slid across the roadway, concerned a rest beneath the overpass, and caught fire, State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman said.


“From 50 feet far you can feel the intense heat of the burning,” said Glen Leo Mendonca, who was a passenger in a auto driving simply behind the truck before the crash.


Mendonca claimed two wheels from the truck went flying right into the other lanes top top the highway throughout the crash, practically hitting the vehicle he to be in.


“Had we probably gone a minute faster, the rim would have actually hit the left-hand side of our car,” Mendonca said.


Construction employees came down from the overpass and attempted to acquire the driver out of the truck, Schaffener said, yet could not control it prior to the auto ignited. Flames quickly consumed the truck and also licked up onto the overpass, where they started to ignite timber planks being offered as component of the building and construction project. Thick black smoke poured out, extending the I-195 lanes.


The tanks of the van ruptured and also were leaking diesel fuel, which can burn but has no danger of exploding. Firefighters had actually to address intense heat and smoke as result of the place of the fire underneath the overpass, Schaffener said.


Authorities said the flames were carried under regulate within 20 minutes, yet led to enough damages that the overpass required to it is in inspected come ensure its structure integrity was not compromised. Designers deemed the span safe because that cars travel over and also under it due to the fact that the van did not hit the overpass itself, public representative said.


Mendonca said he was no able to leaving the area that the crash for more than three hours while officials processed the scene and attempted to clean the website traffic that had backed up for miles. The Turnpike and I-195 were closed in both direction for an ext than 5 hours. The spillover caused backups on path 130, route 1, and local roadways in Robbinsville and surrounding towns.


“It’s a cluster,” township Police cook Martin Masseroni stated yesterday afternoon. “It’s a cluster nightmare for traffic.”


All northbound lanes and one southbound lane on the Turnpike to be reopened at roughly 3:30 p.m. Eastbound I-195 was also reopened at that time.


The period last night announced the lane restriction on the westbound side of I-195. The DOT also said that the brand-new I-195 overpass being built in connection with the widening of the Turnpike is meant to be finished in 6 weeks, and the Turnpike will job-related with that contractor to try to accelerate the schedule.


Drivers can speak to 511 from their cell phones, or inspect 511gendergeek.org.org for the latest web traffic updates as web traffic patterns may change.


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