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N.J. Turnpike wall collapses onto roadway after tractor-trailer crash in Elizabeth

Portion of N.J. Turnpike still closed after wall collapse
Portion of N.J. Turnpike still closed after wall collapse 02:14

ELIZABETH, N.J. -- A portion of the New Jersey Turnpike remains closed Tuesday morning after an accident involving a tractor-trailer caused a wall to collapse and send debris onto the street below. 

Crews reopened three of the four southbound local lanes overnight near the exit for Newark Liberty International Airport, and work continues for the morning commute. 

The damage was visible from Chopper 2, as police vehicles surrounded the area where the wall once stood on the turnpike's Elizabeth Avenue overpass.

Overturned truck causes N.J. Turnpike wall in Elizabeth to collapse 05:09

"I've been in town for over 30 years and I never imagined I'd see the turnpike missing a wall," Elizabeth resident Martha Padilla said.

Padilla and her neighbors looked on from ground level as crews cleaned up.

The accident happened around 8 p.m. Monday, startling unsuspecting neighbors who were enjoying the beautiful evening weather. A panicked woman grabbed her child and ran for dear life as a part of the retaining wall protecting traffic on I-95 crashed down.

"I looked at the Ring camera one for more time and thank God there were no cars passing by," Padilla said.

Tractor trailer crash sends N.J. Turnpike retaining wall crashing onto Elizabeth street 02:51

New Jersey's Department of Transportation said a tractor-trailer overturned on the southbound outer roadway, just north of Interchange 13 and the Goethals Bridge. Surveillance video showed the moment of impact. In an instant, pieces of the wall were seen smashing to the ground.

"It's very scary but we're so glad everyone got away safely, thank God," one man said.

Turnpike engineers are assessing the section of the wall that collapsed. They will determine when the intersection below will be fully reopened.

The accident created a big traffic mess on the Turnpike and in the area around Elizabeth Avenue. 

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