Roosevelt Circle and a southbound stretch of Interstate 93 in Medford, Massachusetts, are once again operating at full traffic capacity after days of delays, but it could take up to a full year to finish repairing the overpass damaged in last week's truck crash, the state's highway chief said Monday.
Crews had reopened all four I-93 southbound lanes and Roosevelt Circle itself by Friday, more than three days after a truck over the allowable height struck the bridge and inflicted "an incredible amount of damage," Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver told the Department of Transportation's Board.
"The fascia beam on the inside of this bridge was completely flattened. It was nearly torn in half. That is a significant shear," Gulliver said, showing a picture of the damage in his board presentation. "It left the bridge in a very unstable condition. Effectively, that bridge beam in this photo had no carrying capacity left and was really only being held in the air by the fact that it was attached to the bridge deck."
Workers placed shoring towers to stabilize the bridge while they removed the damaged beam and sections of the deck. The effort created significant delays for the tens of thousands of drivers who travel through the area on a typical weekday.
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Roosevelt Circle itself is now operational, but with narrower lanes because crews removed eight to 10 feet of roadway during repairs.
Gulliver said MassDOT is working on a permanent repair to build the bridge back up to its former size, a process he forecast could take "eight to 12 months." The emergency repairs have so far cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Gulliver told the board the start-to-finish cost including the permanent fix will likely fall into the "million-dollar range."
MassDOT officials have said they plan to hold Dove Transportation, LLC of Alabama, which owned the truck, "legally and financially responsible for damages." The company's vehicle was not using required flag cars, was traveling on an unapproved route and had not been permitted for the height of the shipment at the time of the crash, according to MassDOT.
The driver in the crash was cited for operating a vehicle that was "over height" and for violating a permit issued by the Department of Transportation. Each offense carries a fine of $105, for a total of $210.