MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - All lanes on Interstate 93 in Medford reopened Thursday afternoon after road crews successfully removed a beam from a highway overpass that was struck and severely damaged by a truck hauling an oversized earlier this week.
“It is a huge relief, I can tell you that. Not only for me, but for all the staff here at MassDOT,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said during a news conference on Thursday.
The entire southbound side of the highway was shut down overnight and lane restrictions remained in place during the morning commute as crews finished up the removal process, alleviating the structural concerns that limited travel under the bridge all week.
“The biggest problem that we have run into on this bridge is stabilizing the damaged portion of the bridge,” Gulliver said. “The bridge was extensively damaged…It required that we put in shoring towers to relieve a lot of tension that was in the existing beams.”
A large piece of metal equipment that was being transported on an Alabama-based Dove Transportation Co. truck collided with part of the Roosevelt Circle overpass on the southbound side of the highway near Exit 24 around 3:30 p.m. Monday, sending debris from the bridge deck crashing to the ground.
The driver of the 2013 Peterbilt 367, a 57-year-old Alabama man, was uninjured. His passenger, a 54-year-old Alabama woman, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
One lane on the Roosevelt Circle bridge will remain closed for at least eight months as crews work to replace a section of the deck that was damaged in the crash, Gulliver said. Two lanes are expected to reopen on Friday but motorists are being urged to prepare for a slower flow of traffic.
“This was catastrophic damage caused to the bridge, which means we have to come up with a completely new design,” Gulliver said. “Obviously nobody prepared for a bridge strike. It’s not like we have beams just waiting to be put in place for bridges like this.”
Gulliver noted that repairs to the bridge have already cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The driver of the truck will be ticketed $105 for being over height and $105 for violating the permit issued by the Department of Transportation by being off course. The driver may still face criminal charges in connection with the crash.
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