All lanes on Interstate 93 southbound in Medford will reopen “at some point” Wednesday as crews work to repair the Roosevelt Circle overpass after it was hit by a truck Monday, according to Department of Transportation officials.
Transportation officials warned drivers to expect delays on Route 1 south, Route 16, Route 28, and Roosevelt Circle for “the next several months” while permanent repairs are made on the bridge.
The tractor-trailer that hit the bridge at about 3:20 p.m. Monday was a 2013 Peterbilt 367 owned by Dove Transportation of Lincoln, Ala., and the water clarifying tank that it was hauling “sustained significant damage,” according to David Procopio, a State Police spokesman.
The 57-year-old Alabama man who was driving the truck when the crash occurred is facing a $210 fine, Procopio said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon. A 54-year-old woman, also from Alabama, was riding in the truck as a passenger and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with minor injuries following the incident, he said.
All southbound lanes of I-93 in Medford are expected to reopen at some point Wednesday once temporary repairs are made to the overpass, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.
The temporary repairs are expected to be completed by “[Wednesday] night, at the latest,” said MassDOT spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard. “On 93 south, traffic could be back to normal by end of day Wednesday.”
But full-lane travel over the bridge won’t be possible until after permanent repairs are made, which will take months, she said.
The driver is being fined $210 for violating two civil offenses, including the truck being over the height level it was permitted for and for violating the permit issued by the Department of Transportation, according to the statement from State Police.
The truck, which was heading to Everett, measured 14 feet 9 inches with its load included — 9 inches taller than was permitted, according Procopio. Water clarifying tanks are used in wastewater treatment.
The driver, who police said refused medical attention, also violated the permit for not having flag cars accompanying the truck and for breaking off the route that the state had given it permission to travel on, which did not include I-93, State Police said.
State Police say the metal tank the truck was hauling struck the first and second structural beams of the underside of the bridge, leaving the first beam split into two pieces and the second bowed from the impact. The tank and trailer were significantly damaged, but the tractor appeared to have minor damage, State Police said.
As work to repair the bridge continues, state highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver suggested finding alternative means of transportation, such as taking the MBTA commuter rail.
“Our first priority is to safely stabilize the structure, which is underway,” Gulliver said in a statement. “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.”
Only two lanes of travel were open Tuesday on I-93 southbound in Medford, MassDOT officials said, and the eastbound side of the bridge was closed to traffic. An area within the inner part of the Roosevelt Circle rotary also was closed, they said.
Update on I-93 SB/Roosevelt Circle crash repairs in #Medford at exit 24. A max of 2 travel lanes will be open on I-93 SB for the Tuesday 7/20 AM commute, due to ongoing repairs to the overpass. The EB side of the bridge overpass will also be closed to travel.— Mass. Transportation (@MassDOT) July 20, 2021
The eastbound rotary bridge that was damaged is also expected to reopen sometime Wednesday and Roosevelt Circle will be restored to two travel lanes with some lane restrictions until permanent repairs are made, according to the MassDOT statement.
Eastbound bridge traffic was being directed Tuesday onto the ramp on the west side of the rotary at the point of closure, MassDOT officials said. That ramp leads to the Fellsway (Route 28) southbound and to I-93 southbound. Drivers looking to get on I-93 northbound or the Fellsway northbound could continue onto I-93 southbound and then exit at Route 60 and use the rotary interchange to reverse direction.
MassDOT officials said they are working with the State Police and plan to hold the trucking company “legally and financially responsible for damages.”
“The entire beam and a section of bridge deck, approximately 7 feet wide, will need to be demolished between the west abutment and the center pier, located above I-93 southbound lanes of travel,” MassDOT officials said in a statement. “The phased demolition will involve removal of a section of the deck and the portion of the damaged beam. Once that is removed, one of the shoring towers will be removed and traffic will be shifted over to the right lane and shoulder lane, (to maintain 2 travel lanes). The shoring tower will be re-installed within the third travel lane to allow the remaining demolition work to occur.”
MassDOT officials were encouraging motorists who travel on I-93 in Medford to use the Anderson commuter rail station at 100 Atlantic Ave. in Woburn or seek other options at www.mbta.com.