Vehicles damaged after truck spills liquid asphalt onto roads in South Jersey

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Vehicles damaged after asphalt spills on NJ highways. Bob Brooks reports during Action News at 4pm on February 20, 2018. (WPVI)

Cleanup work is underway and damage to vehicles is being assessed after a truck's load of hot liquid asphalt leaked out over 14 miles of highway in Gloucester and Salem counties Tuesday morning.

The spill happened around 5 a.m., after a truck from Tri-State Transportation Company, which is based in Thorofare, N.J., left the Paulsboro Refinery with a load of liquid asphalt.

A trucking company spokesman told Action News the material, which was boiling hot, immediately started leaking from a faulty valve.

It's called a boil-over.

"A boil over is when condensation gets into the tank and the asphalt mixes with it. When you close the lid and starts moving it activates it and it boils over," said Dave Maines of Tri-State Transportation.

It spilled out on the road as the truck made its way from Swedesboro Road to Route 130 South and then onto I-295 South.

The leak stopped about 14 miles from the refinery, at mile marker 4 on I-295 South, after enough of the vehicle's load had spilled out to clear the faulty valve.

The driver, who was apparently unaware of what had happened, continued on to his destination in Baltimore.

Shortly after the truck left the refinery, New Jersey State Police began receiving reports of cars which had been damaged after running over the material. They say as many as 20 to 30 cars have been damaged.

Vince Preto drove through it in his new truck. The asphalt was caked onto his tires.

"Five o'clock in the morning and I thought I had a flat tire, you know," he said.

It clearly wasn't.

"I pulled over the side of the road and I called the cops and I filed a report," Preto said.

Maines said drivers can bring their cars to the company and they'll get the asphalt off.

"All they have to do is give me a call and we'll take care of it and we're sorry about it," he said.

We watched them clear off Preto's truck. It quickly dissolved when sprayed with a chemical.

He said he was happy with the job they're doing to get it fixed.

"So get it fixed and everything, I'll be good and happy," he said.

The trucking company tells Action News that anyone whose vehicle was damaged by the sticky material should contact Tri-State.


There was no immediate word if any charges would be filed against the driver.

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