MEDFORD (CBS) – MassDOT expects all lanes of Interstate 93 south in Medford to be open sometime Thursday.
Two lanes have been closed since Monday afternoon after a truck carrying a huge metal water tank struck the Roosevelt Circle overpass, causing extensive damage to the bridge.
They were hoping the lane closures would end Wednesday, but Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said there were several setbacks overnight as repair crews found additional damage.
“This is very extensive damage. Some of the worst we have seen,” said Gulliver. “Although we hope to have it opened up by [Thursday] morning, commuters and others who use I-93 south should expect and plan ahead that they’re also going to be impacted tomorrow.”
Update on work in #Medford on I-93 SB. Crews are continuing to work to stabilize Roosevelt Cir. overpass above I-93. 93 SB has 2 lanes open for travel. We anticipate reopening all I-93 SB lanes at some point tomorrow 7/22. pic.twitter.com/2svP303l0Y
— Mass. Transportation (@MassDOT) July 21, 2021
Massachusetts State Police said the Alabama man driving the truck Monday was not permitted to drive on I-93 in Medford. The load was also 9 inches over the 14-foot height limit. He also didn’t have flag cars and veered off the approved route.
The driver for Dove Transportation, who has not been identified, was cited and now faces a $210 fine.
MassDOT expects ripple-effect backups on Route 1, Route 16, Route 28, and Roosevelt Circle for several months until permanent repairs are done. There will also be lane restrictions on top of the bridge until then.
“We are taking a very deliberate approach, making sure the bridge is stable, making sure we have it shored up before we get in and start demolition,” said Gulliver. “What we discovered [Tuesday] night as we started demolition is that there was some additional damage that was tying back into the good parts of the bridge, and that in order to really relieve the tension, we had to cut those sections out.”
He added the Dove Transportation will be held financially and legally responsible for the damages.
“There is additional penalties that the company is going to incur, including the full replacement of the bridge,” said Gulliver. “We intend to hold them accountable in every way possible. We have an accident recovery unit. This is part of what they do is make sure that when our assets get damaged, that the taxpayer is not on the hook.”
MassDOT will also be reviewing the company’s eligibility for obtaining permits in Massachusetts in the future.