Editor's Note: The following is a news release issued by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 3) announced that westbound traffic on a heavily traveled Interstate 195 overpass over the New Jersey Turnpike in Mercer County will be restricted to one lane for up to six weeks.
The normal complement of two eastbound travel lanes across the overpass will be maintained.
The overpass sustained damage earlier today when a truck crashed and became engulfed in flames beneath the overpass. To ensure the safety of motorists, NJDOT will prohibit travel on one of the two westbound lanes provided by the overpass.
A new I-195 overpass that is being built in connection with the widening of the Turnpike from three lanes in each direction to six lanes at this location is currently scheduled for completion in six weeks. The Turnpike will work with its contractor to try to accelerate that schedule.
The new overpass, which is adjacent to the damaged structure, sustained no damage. When the new overpass is completed, traffic will be shifted onto it and the damaged overpass will be demolished, in accordance with the widening project plans.
I-195 is the major east-west highway serving all of central New Jersey and is heavily used by state workers who travel to their Trenton offices each day. The peak travel direction is westbound on I-195 in the mornings and eastbound each afternoon.
As a result of the closure of one of two westbound travel lanes, morning commutes toward Trenton are expected to be very difficult. Motorists should expect delays and seek alternate routes around the affected are of the highway.
The westbound travel lane on the overpass is expected to be open by 9 p.m. Both westbound travel lanes were closed once the crash occurred prior to 10 a.m.
The Turnpike southbound lanes were opened under a New Jersey State Police procedure starting at Interchange 9 at about 7 p.m. Troopers kept southbound motorists traveling at reduced speeds until they cleared the crash scene at Interchange 7A.
Motorists are encouraged to tune into broadcast traffic reports, call 511 or visit www.511nj.org for up-to-the-minute travel information.