One overloaded truck caused backups for miles on several South Jersey roads this morning, when its scrap-metal cargo scraped the underside of an overpass.

The accident left water gushing from a broken pipe and large pieces of metal debris scattered on most of the lanes of westbound Route I-76, near where it picks up traffic from busy northbound Routes 42 and 295.

The water was turned off shortly after the 8:15 a.m. mishap, but the roadway wasn't completely cleared until shortly after noon, according to N.J. State Trooper Robert Montgomery of the Belmawr Barracks.

As a result, all those roads, as well as northbound Route 55, which feeds into Route 42 just west of the Deptford Mall, became jammed for miles, trapping motorists for hours.

As a result, more accidents, including a car fire, occurred, and some vehicles overheated or ran out of gas, Montgomery said.

Some lanes are likely to be closed Monday as well, so crews can repair the underpass, he added.

Yesterday's bike ride in took less time than today's drive, said Inquirer graphics editor John Duchneskie.

Pedalling the 18 miles from Erial to North Broad Street took an hour and a half yesterday, he said. Today, the trip took more than two hours, he said - and he didn't leave until about 10 a.m., well past typical rush-hour traffic and long after the problems began.

The accident happened where a bridge for Browning Road crosses I-76, a wide artery that connects Routes 42 and 295 to the Walt Whitman Bridge.

As of 10 a.m., traffic was backed up on northbound Route 42 all the way to the Atlantic City Expressway - about seven miles, according to N.J. State Trooper Phil Campbell of the Bellmawr Barracks.

Route 55 also became jammed for seven miles, Montgomery said.

The left express lanes of I-76 West were opened by 10 a.m., but two right local lanes remained closed, awaiting for crews from the state Department of Transportation and the company whose truck was involved, Campbell said.

No one was injured, the troopers aid.

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