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Building collapse causes traffic troubles in Phillipsburg

Building collapse causes traffic troubles in Phillipsburg

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - The rush is on in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, to undo what one driver did and alleviate a traffic nightmare. A building crumbled after it was hit by an SUV over the weekend, causing major traffic troubles in an already busy part of town, at least until Wednesday, according to Mayor Harry Wyant.

Crews are working very carefully to make sure more of the building doesn't crash to the ground.

The traffic problems started on Sunday for some residents.

"When I went to church on Sunday, I had to go all the way around," said Dennis Hardick. "I usually go right up South Main Street, right up Morris street and I was there." 

Then more headaches developed as people tried to figure out a way around a closed portion of North Main Street. 

"In the early morning we had an extreme backup at Pennsylvania trying to get to New Jersey," said Wyant. 

Drivers will have to endure a few more days of headaches as construction crews continue working on the building near the foot of the Phillipsburg-Easton Free Bridge. That building partially collapsed after being hit by a vehicle early Saturday morning. 

The driver of the vehicle, Vincent King, is facing three disorderly persons offenses. King, 22, was cited for driving while intoxicated, having open alcohol containers in the car and reckless driving, according to court records.

King also has a few driving violations in Pennsylvania. He was charged with careless driving in 2011 and DUI in August 2013, resulting in a suspended license, according to court records.

"It's an unfortunate situation, but I'm just glad that nobody got severely injured," added Wyant. 

Some said they are in no rush to reopen the closed streets.

"My street is quiet, very, very quiet because of this," said Hardick.

But city leaders know a lot of drivers depend on Main Street to access Route 22, and it needs to be reopened soon.

"We're going to try and alleviate that as soon as possible," said Wyant.   

The hope is to have North Main Street open by Wednesday, but Morris Street will still be closed.         

King is scheduled to appear in Phillipsburg Municipal Court on Wednesday.

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