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Investigation, repairs continue following wall collapse on N.J. Turnpike

Video captures frightening New Jersey Turnpike crash
Video captures frightening New Jersey Turnpike crash 01:44

ELIZABETH, N.J. -- A noise barrier from the New Jersey Turnpike collapsed onto a roadway below on Monday night, causing some frightening moments in Elizabeth and traffic problems in and around the area.

CBS New York has learned when the last time that wall was inspected.

"It's a lot noisier now that that piece is not here," Vince DePasquale said.

Neighbors definitely noticed that missing piece of noise barrier, which is meant to reduce traffic sounds for neighborhoods along the highway.

But as loud as the turnpike was Tuesday, it was even louder on Monday night.

"It sounded like a big explosion at first. We didn't really know what was going on," DePasquale said.

It was at around 8 p.m. when state police say that wall was hit by a tractor trailer heading south on the turnpike overpass, sending debris crashing down on Elizabeth Avenue.

Video shows people standing across the street, including a woman holding a child who runs for safety.

"Within a few minutes, everyone came outside and saw a piece of the turnpike on Elizabeth Avenue, on the pavement," DePasquale said.

Neighbors said it was very lucky no one was walking, or driving under the overpass when that heavy wall collapsed.

"But thank you, God, nothing happened," Marco Perez Benitez said.

"I could have been walking to the local corner store. Luckily, no one got injured," DePasquale said.

Officials with the Turnpike Authority said the noise barriers, including the impacted section of roadway on Monday, are inspected every other year.

The barrier above Elizabeth Avenue was last inspected in March 2023. Officials said no issues were noted.

Highway engineers will continue assessing the damage to decide when new sound barriers can be installed.

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