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Drivers Questioning Safety Of Overpass After Concrete Falls On Route 208 South In Fair Lawn, N.J.

FAIR LAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- It's a scary example of crumbling infrastructure.

Concrete from of a New Jersey overpass recently fell onto a busy highway, somehow narrowly missing drivers below.

A day later, Band-Aid repairs were underway, but drivers are questioning the safety of other bridges, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reported Tuesday.

"It was a couple chunks were a couple feet along when they initially fell," Fair Lawn Police Sgt. Brian Metzler said.

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He was talking about chunks of concrete that fell from under the Maple Avenue overpass and shattered as they hit the pavement on Route 208 South in Fair Lawn. It happened at around 12:30 p.m. on Monday.

"We didn't know if there was more cement that may fall or even the whole overpass could come down," Metzler said.

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Metzler said officers closed the entire highway, which snarled traffic for hours. The speed limit is 55 mph, leaving drivers wondering how the debris missed a car.

"That is amazing that no one got hurt," said Cindy Grossman, who works in the area.

"I think that's crazy," added Maureen Lacey of Glen Rock. "Get it fixed ASAP."

A day later, some lanes reopened. On Tuesday, crews were putting wood planks underneath the entire bridge which are supposed to catch anything else that may fall.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation told Rozner the bridge was built in 1955 and last inspected in April, when inspectors rated the bridge deck "poor" and substructure as "fair."

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Back in 2018, loose concrete was removed and recently a design to replace the bridge was underway.

"It's a little scary knowing that the structure and a lot of our roads are in such poor condition, but there's nothing you can do. You have to get to work," Glen Rock's Robyn O'Hagan said.

In 2018, a truck driver sued the state over a piece of concrete he said fell from a Route 4 overpass and nearly killed him.

When asked what his message was to drivers, Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday blamed the previous administration for not investing in infrastructure, adding, "The safety and security of the 9 million people in this state is job No. 1 for me."

As a precaution, state inspectors will survey other bridges on Route 208 between I-287 and Route 4 this week.

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