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Gas line eruption collapses overpass and shuts down Florida Turnpike traffic

Southbound traffic now open; northbound still shut

LAKE WORTH, Fla. – Northbound traffic on Florida’s Turnpike remains shut down in Palm Beach County, though southbound traffic has now reopened, after a gas pipeline eruption in Lake Worth.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the pipeline busted on the northbound side of Florida’s Turnpike, adjacent to the Lake Worth Road overpass, shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday.

Part of the overpass collapsed, and engineers are determining when the full road will be safe to reopen.

Northbound traffic is being diverted at the 86 Mile Post near Boyton Beach.

FHP urges drivers to “please use caution and avoid [the] area if possible.” People who live in the area were instructed to stay inside their homes.

“The erupted pipeline compromised the integrity of the overpass northbound, and the Turnpike was closed in both directions for public safety,” FHP Lt. Yanko Reyes said. “The cause of the eruption is unknown at this time, as investigators continue to assess the scene.”

Highway patrol had said that it hoped to be able to reopen the inside lanes of the Turnpike sometime Thursday afternoon and possibly the outside lanes closest to the eruption later Thursday night. If they can’t, they say it will likely be within one to two days.

Lake Worth Road, which had also been shut down, has since reopened.

Video sent in by viewers shows smoke from the eruption.

No injuries have been reported and an investigation will be conducted by the Florida Gas Transmission Company and the Florida Department of Transportation, authorities say.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol evacuated the adjacent area after the eruption. Discovery Key Elementary School was also evacuated.

For those who were already out on the road, the smoke had drivers doing a double-take and left many at a standstill on the Turnpike.

“I got stuck in traffic for over an hour and I had no idea what was going on,” said Kathy Emerson.

This is a developing news story. Check back and watch Local 10 News for updates.

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