MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) – Officials on Tuesday warned drivers that traffic delays could last “several months” as crews work to repair damage to a bridge on Interstate 93 in Medford that was struck by a truck hauling an oversized load.
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.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials were brought in to inspect the structural integrity of the bridge and found that the impact of the crash caused extensive damage to an outside beam.
7NEWS sources confirmed the driver will be ticketed $105 for being overheight 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.
The right two travel lanes will be closed for repairs likely until Wednesday night. The eastbound side of the overpass will remain closed indefinitely.
According to a release issued by transportation officials: “MassDOT is working closely with the Massachusetts state police to investigate the incident. MassDOT intends to hold the trucking company legally and financially responsible for damages and will be reviewing the company’s eligibility for obtaining permits in Massachusetts in the future.”
The repairs caused lengthy delays during the Tuesday morning commute and MassDOT urged drivers to prepare for backups during the evening commute as well.
Road crews are performing emergency work to remove the beam so traffic can safely be restored underneath the bridge. As part of the work, an area within the inner part of the Roosevelt Circle rotary will be closed. The eastbound bridge will be reopened when repairs are complete.
“Our first priority is to safely stabilize the structure, which is underway,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Drivers are urged to avoid the area and consider public transportation options until I-93 southbound can be fully reopened. Travelers who use Roosevelt Circle should expect restricted lanes for several months until permanent repairs can be made.”
The entire beam and a section of bridge deck, approximately seven feet wide, will need to be demolished between the west abutment and the center pier, located above I-93 southbound lanes of travel. Repairs are expected to take anywhere from six to months.
“Once we got up there and saw it, it was pretty clear that it was going to be a pretty extensive repair,” Gulliver said. “Our primary goal right now is to stabilize the structure that was hit and remove all of the concrete and steel just to make it safe so that there is not going to be a falling hazard for the roadway beneath it.
During the phased demolition project, traffic delays are expected on Route 1 south, Route 16, Route 28, and Roosevelt Circle for the foreseeable future, Gulliver added.
MassDOT has deployed message boards for drivers approaching the work zone as far away as the New Hampshire border and also on I-495 and on I-95/Route 128.
Motorists should avoid the area if possible and take public transportation but those traveling on the highway should reduce speed and use caution.
There are currently no travel impacts to the northbound lanes on I-93.
This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS for updates online and on-air.
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