New Jersey Turnpike Truck Fire Causes Huge Delays

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(Edison-WABC, October 6, 2004) -- It's hoped a New Jersey Turnpike toll plaza entrance heavily damaged by a truck fire will reopen for the evening rush. But can it be repaired in time? The damage at the interchange caused major traffic delays Wednesday morning.

The truck caught fire and burned several toll booths at Interchange 10 Tuesday night. It did a lot of damage.

Engineers were looking it all over this morning, and the entrance ramp from Route 287 had to stay closed. It meant long delays during the morning commute. on the turnpike, Routes 1 and 9 and the Garden State Parkway.

Highway officials say there are only so many places to send traffic when an accident like this happens, and that it definitely caused some big problems for a lot of drivers.

Extra toll takers were brought in to handle increased traffic at Interchanges 9 and 11.

Despite the damage, vehicles were still able to leave the turnpike at Interchange 10.

The cause of all this: The tractor-trailer apparently ran over a mattress while traveling on Route 287, and the bedding caught fire underneath it. Authorities say when the driver stopped the truck at the turnpike entrance, the fire spread to the toll plaza.

The cab of the truck was destroyed by the fire.

Three temporary toll booths were brought to Interchange 10 this morning, and it's hoped they could be used to handle evening rush hour traffic.

A decision on when the entrance ramp would be reopened is expected sometime late Wednesday morning.