Commuters are being asked to continue avoiding Interstate 93 southbound in Medford after an over height truck struck the Roosevelt Circle Overpass near Exit 24, forcing multiple travel lanes to close during the Monday evening commute.
The traffic impact is going to carry over to Tuesday morning, as well. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says a maximum of two travel lanes will be open on I-93 southbound in Medford for the morning commute while crews make necessary repairs to the eastbound overpass.
An inspection Monday evening found extensive damage to an outside beam on the Roosevelt Circle Overpass over the right two I-93 southbound travel lanes. The beam will need to be removed to safely allow traffic to be fully restored underneath on I-93 southbound, MassDOT said.
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, which is located above I-93 southbound lanes of travel.
Overnight, MassDOT crews will be putting up shoring towers to support the demolition of the section of bridge deck. Some existing bridge fencing and bridge rail on the top side of the structure will also be removed, and then the demolition will proceed in stages.
As of Monday night, only two lanes of travel are open on I-93 southbound in Medford, and traffic is also currently restricted from travelling over the eastbound bridge.
An area within the inner part of the Roosevelt Circle rotary will also be closed as a part of this work.
Once demolition activity is complete, the eastbound bridge will be reopened.
MassDOT has deployed message boards on I-93 southbound for drivers approaching the Medford work zone as far away as the New Hampshire border and also on Interstate 495 and on Interstate 95/Route 128.
Drivers are encouraged to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays, MassDOT said, but anyone traveling through the area should expect delays. Commuters traveling in the area should also reduce their speed and use caution.
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While drivers using I-93 north are also experiencing slowdowns, all northbound lanes are open for travel.
State police initially responded to I-93 south at Roosevelt Circle for a bridge strike shortly before 4 p.m. Monday and asked people to avoid the area for the rest of the evening. They later said drivers should expect bridge repairs to affect Tuesday's morning commute.
The truck -- with an "oversize load" banner and two orange flags -- was carrying a large piece of equipment, which had to be extricated from underneath the overpass.
After initially closing two lanes of travel, state police said MassDOT requested a third lane be closed so the bridge could be inspected and any necessary steps implemented to stabilize the structure.
Late Monday, state police said the third travel lane had reopened, however the right two travel lanes and Roosevelt Circle (Route 28 over I-93) will remain closed indefinitely.
According to the Medford Firefighters Local 1032, one person was taken to a local hospital. It's not immediately clear what injuries that person has, or if it is the truck driver -- who had not been named by officials Monday night.