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Repairing storrowed I-93 overpass could take months, and that will mean delays all the while, state says

MassDOT is urging motorists to avoid I-93 south in the area of Roosevelt Circle in Medford today as crews make emergency repairs to an overpass that lost a battle with an oversized load on a truck yesterday.

In addition, expect delays traveling on Route 1 south, Route 16, Route 28 and through Roosevelt Circle today and for the next several months as the bridge carrying Roosevelt Circle traffic will not be fully reopened due to permanent repairs which must be made.

MassDOT adds:

An inspection by MassDOT on Monday found damage is extensive to an outside beam on the Roosevelt Circle Eastbound Overpass over the right two I-93 southbound travel lanes. The beam will be removed to safely allow traffic to be fully restored underneath on I-93 southbound. 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.

The demolition plan involves the use of two clusters of shoring towers which will be set in place vertically under the overpass to straddle the damaged fascia beam. The shoring towers will carry the load of the deck as well as support the damaged beam as the removal takes place.

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I really hope that taxpayers aren't going to be footed the bill for this.

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I can only hope this snafu bankrupts whatever operation was involved in sending that truck down 93.

I will not hold my breath.

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EDIT: they were not replaced - but they were inspected/upgraded as part of the 2011 shut downs

Too bad they can't just drop a new span in there like they did with the 93Fast14 overpasses.

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Orders are into 1Q of 2022. Not a great time to be buying unnecessary product. And it will be much quicker to repair.

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When I first glanced at your comment, I thought your comment said an "IQ of 2022," which obviously isn't possible. LOL!

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The prefab sections aren't in stock at Bridge Depot. They take a long time to build.

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Mother of another. I also have an undergrad degree in metallurgical engineering.

Well aware of the situation.

They are going to be replacing steel regardless. The real advantage with a prefab is quicker work off site and less disruption, dear.

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I could understand the press mosh yesterday - in fact, the helicopters clued me in that something must be very amiss on I-93.

But today? Sounds like there are a half a dozen circling.

Why? Its broken, we know it is broken, we know its a traffic cluster muck. The best pictures are not taken from the air. Do we need two copters colliding to make it more newsy?

Voting closed 37

Enough with the helicopters. They've been at it all night and some of us sleep with the windows open. (Or did...)

This isn't breaking news anymore. There is going to bad traffic for months until it's fixed.

I'm all for freedom of the press but there should be limits on static helicopter movement.

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Helicopters fly over Boston to cover something, and we're told "suck it up, helicopters fly, just shut your windows"

Now helicopters are flying over the burbs - oh the horrors!!

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This "suburban" area (in the top 100 in the nation for population density and would be top 50 if it weren't for the fells) is already heavily impacted by Logan Armpit.

The issue is the number of them orbiting a relatively small area.

Which is just as big an issue anywhere there is high population density. Like this area of Medford. Like less or more densely populated areas of "the city", as it were.

I've noticed that helicopters get popular, then there are reminders of the hazards associated with them (crashes) then people forget and start using them again ... lather rinse repeat.

The space tourism fad comes next.

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due to structural problems.

Perhaps the T should think about opening a temporary station platform somewhere between Wedgmere and Anderson/Woburn? Possible locations could be Winchester Highlands, Montvale Avenue, or Mishawum.

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I don't think there are two stations on the same line as close as Winchester and Wedgemere.

They are so close that if I knew I would miss the train to Lowell at Wedgemere, I could see it in time to haul arse on my bike up to Winchester to catch it due to the delay created by the stop and the slow trip between the stations.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. The proximity of Wedgemere likely made closing the station possible.

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A temporary stop (that perhaps could eventually become permanent) at Montvale Avenue would be ideally situated to divert traffic from southbound I-93, just before it gets to Roosevelt Circle. It would also serve a residential area of Woburn that doesn't have any transit service now. And it would bring some new customers to Lord Hobo.

Mishawum already has a largely unused station that could easily be put into full-time service again.

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Apart from what looks to be a pond and a bunch of wetlands. And in no way would the nearby residents be good with several hundred cars parking on the street. Plus the T would be absolutely incapable of actually building a temporary stop there before the bridge gets fixed.

Nope, tell people to go to Anderson/Woburn -- it has a dedicated exit from 93 and a metric crapton of parking.

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are going to be seeing some hefty bills in the future. Paraphrasing from the update from MSP, the driver f'ed this one up: https://mspnews.org/2021/07/20/msp-investigating-medford-bridge-collision/

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Most probably aren't old enough or may not have lived in the area to remember a couple of really spectacular damaging crashes

One in May 1996 involved a allegedly inebriated driver from Quebec hauling big timbers who hit one of the vertical parts of the then double-decked bridge crossing the Charles [Charlestown High Bridge] where the Bunkerhill-Zakim is now located. The big piece of lumber bent the big piece of steel substantially*1 and could have taken the bridge down. Purely by happenstance there was some sort of construction engineering meeting in town that day and the world expert in reworking such damage was able in a couple of hours to inspect the damaged steel piece. He led a heroic project to reform the piece in place using a lot of heat a quite a bit of force. And Voila -- within a couple of days the bridge was almost good as new. It stayed in place without further work until it was removed as part of the Big Dig.

The other major crash and damage to highway accident happened in 1973 after Gov. Frank [don't call me Major] Sargent had stopped the Inner Belt and the Southwest Expressway cold. What is now the double decked part of I-93 had already been finished through Medford and Somerville and had reached the highway out of Boston to the North over the Tobin Bridge, but since it was supposed to connect to the now-cancelled Inner Belt -- it was the double decked highway to nowhere. Then a really heavy gravel truck hit one of the vertical piers holding up the upper deck of the ramp to the Tobin Bridge. This time the impact was so severe that the upper deck of the ramp collapsed on top of the truck taking out the upper deck crushing the truck, killing the driver and blocking the lower deck*2. Essentially in that instant -- highway access north from Boston was eliminated. Governor Sargent against his Green-sensibilities [he was Green before most of today's Greenies were even a glimmer in their parents eyes] -- decided to open the I-93 on a temporary basis. Of course this being Boston and the Commonwealth -- well its been about 50 years of temporariness the last time I checked. It took amore than four months before the Tobin was able to deliver cars to/from Boston without driving through city streets.

This one seems to be likely to fall between the two historic accidents. Since the actual I-93 was not damaged -- all of the problems after the damaged overpass is removed will be associated with the elevated rotary [one of a very few of that type of interchange]. Hopefully, the redo of the overpass will be completed before winter.


BOSTON, May 2 -- A Canadian lumber truck driver was charged with drunken driving Thursday after an accident on the main elevated highway through Boston created a massive traffic jam. Officials said the load of lumber on his truck shifted and slammed into a steel girder, part of the support system for the Central Artery's northbound upper deck. The girder buckled and was 'twisted like a pretzel,' officials said...
Police said the driver of the truck, Serge Brosseau, 32, of Quebec, was charged with drunken driving and driving to endanger. He was arraigned in Charlestown District Court and ordered held in lieu of $15, 000 bail. Prosecutors said Brosseau's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.


Tobin Bridge - September 10th, 1973
At about 7:45 am, a semi-truck named Georges Tonka Toy, which was headed for Logan Airport with an overloaded trailer of gravel, lost control and struck one of the support bents of the Tobin Bridge as it was entering the lower (northbound) deck from the slip ramp at Henley Street in Charlestown. This caused the upper deck of the bridge to collapse at that location.

Beside shutting down the Tobin for about four months while repairs were effected, the collapse had another long lasting effect on the Boston area. It forced MassDPW to finally open the portion of I-695 between the Charles River Crossing and Somerville (now the I-93 upper and lower decks) to traffic. This section of I-695 had been mostly completed in 1970, but had remained closed due to concerns about additional traffic overloading the junction between Storrow Drive, the Tobin Bridge, and the Central Artery.

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I think it's front-page banner headline the day after the Canadian guy almost took out part of the deck was:


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