Two southbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike were shut down for about 45 minutes Thursday morning so structural engineers could take another look at the damaged I-195 overpass.
"To make sure that the stress of the traffic that flowed over it from last night and this morning had no negative impact on the structure," said NJ DOT spokesman Joe Dee.
Transportation officials say heat from the intense fire after Wednesday's dump truck crash could damage the bridge's girders. The bridge was slightly damaged, and as a precaution the lane closest to that damage is closed.
Westbound traffic on I-195, 30,000 cars a day, is being pinched into one lane causing miles-long backups and a nightmare for commuters.
"This morning was terrible," said George Loder of Point Pleasant, N.J. "My usual commute time from home to Fort Washington is about 70 minutes. It took me 3 hours."
"Terrible. Terrible," said Tammy Ingis of Mahwah, N.J. "About 10 minutes, I'm going three tenths of a mile."
"It's typically bad there in the morning," said Joe Dunn of Manasquan, N.J. "This made it much worse, going down to a single lane over that bridge. It was very slow, really set me back."
The Turnpike Authority will not replace the damaged bridge, but will instead accelerate completion of another overpass now under construction right next to it.
"At the outside, it'll be two months before we're able to shift traffic to that structure and take all the traffic off the damaged structure," said Dee.