The New Jersey Turnpike reopened Thursday morning, hours after two tanker trucks collided and sparked an inferno that gutted both vehicles and caused gridlock on the traffic artery Wednesday evening.
Truck lanes between exits 6 and 9 reopened at about 6:30 a.m. after the crash in East Brunswick. Car lanes on the northbound lane were still congested Thursday morning.
State Police said the trucks collided on the outer roadway on northbound side of the turnpike, near mile marker 88. The trucks ignited into a massive fireball, ravaging the two big rigs. The collision caused backups of more than 9 miles, with bumper-to-bumper traffic stretching back as far as Cranbury.
Social media posts showed heavy backups as bright flames and thick black smoke were shooting into the sky.
A video posted to Instagram by Connor Rowe after his vehicle passed the burning trucks from the other side of the turnpike showed flames emanating from the entire length of both vehicles.
"The whole sky is black and it sounds like fireworks are going off," wrote another Instagram user who captured the plumes of black smoke from a residential area near the turnpike (Warning: graphic language).
It's not clear what type of material the trucks were carrying.
Last week, a dump truck crash on the turnpike in Linden sparked a fire and caused a miles-long traffic standstill that lasted several hours. The driver, 62-year-old Allen Yuhasz of Woodbridge Township, was killed when his truck struck the Wood Avenue overpass near Exit 13A.