NJ Turnpike undamaged by fiery truck crash, officials say

Submitted by New Jersey Dump Truck Accident Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

New Jersey Truck Accident

The New Jersey Turnpike remains closed by the South Wood Avenue overpass after a dump truck traveling south on the turnpike hit the overpass and caught fire, shutting down the highway in both directions and snarling traffic for miles. Linden, NJ 8/4/15 (Robert Sciarrino | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

A fiery fatal dump truck accident that brought the state’s busiest toll road to a standstill for hours on Tuesday did not damage the overpass that the truck hit or the pavement underneath it.

“There is no damage to the overpasses or the road surface that needs to be repaired,” said Thomas Feeney, an NJ Turnpike Authority spokesman.

That news comes despite photos and video of the fire burning the South Wood Avenue overpass in Linden, which was closed until engineers could evaluate the structural integrity of the span.

State Police said the crash happened when a dump truck hit a vehicle being towed, which slowed down. The dump truck careened to the left, overturned, hit a bridge abutment and burst into flames. The fire spread to the Wood Avenue overpass.

The fire never got hot enough to permanently damage the bridge, which was built in 1950 and rebuilt in 1970, said engineers from Rutgers Center for Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation.

“The steel can withstand temperatures up to about 1,200 degrees,” said Andrés Roda, P.E.Manager, Bridge Resource Program at CAIT. “Once temperatures increase to 1,500 degrees, significant changes take place. In these cases, bridges will experience significant permanent deformations.”

The pavement also should bounce back without needing repairs, experts said

“The high temperatures of the flames, as well as the possible spilling of gasoline, may cause some initial softening,” said Thomas Bennert, Director, of the Pavement Resource Program/Rutgers Asphalt Pavement Lab. “However, the structural integrity of the pavement below the first inch or so should not have been detrimentally impacted.”

Originally published here by nj.com and written by Larry Higgs. Larry Higgs may be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com

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Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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