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Massachusetts sues Alabama trucking company for a storrowing that damaged an I-93 overpass in Medford

MassDOT today sued a trucking company in Lincoln, AL that had a worker haul a giant tank south on I-93 in Medford, where it collided with the bottom of a bridge over the highway, shutting the road and causing what the state says was $2.65 million in damage in 2021.

In its lawsuit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, MassDOT charges that a Dove Transportation driver was violating the company's Massachusetts trucking permit - which let it run trucks on some highways, but not I-93 - when the giant blue tank he was hauling slammed into a Roosevelt Circle overpass on July 19, 2021.

The crash caused parts of the overpass to crumble to the pavement, forcing the shutdown of both I-93 and Roosevelt Circle until the span could be inspected and then repaired. The tank was made of solid metal, unlike the far flimsier trailers on box trucks, which themselves crumble before they can do any damage to bridges across Storrow Drive and similar parkways.

"The impact of the collision caused substantial damage to the support beams of the bridge," the state averred, adding that in addition to not allowing company trucks on I-93 south, its state permit "required that the defendant find a suitable detour for all bridges having insufficient clearance."

The state is seeking reimbursement for $2.65 million to fix the crash damage, plus interest and any damages a judge might determine are warranted.

Dove has until Oct. 15 to answer the state complaint, according to court records.

In 2022, the state sued a truck driver from upstate New York for allegedly storrowing and damaging two bridges on the Massachusetts Turnpike. That case is not scheduled for trial until 2025.

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Comments

The damage is still not fixed. One lane of the bridge is entirely missing and blocked by a fence. No indication it's ever going to be reconstructed. $2.5M seems low for the damage, especially if a real fix means shutting the highway and replacing the bridge entirely.

Also worth noting that's a wretched and terrifying area to bike over but there's really no other choice if heading north toward Melrose or Sheepfold. (Short of riding on the trails in the Fells.) I once tried to walk across the crosswalk across before on-ramp to I-93 South and that might have been the most nerve racking road crossing I've attempted in MA.

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Voting closed 42

I take Forest St. to Valley, head under the highway, then use the crosswalk at Fulton to St. Francis to get over to Rt. 28.

My son's had friends and girlfriends over that way when they were in high school and one of their cyclist dads had figured out the safe routes. We also had to get creative during 93Fast14.

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Voting closed 21

Although where I'm coming from that adds considerable distance on a cargo bike with a dog. (Hence the trip to Sheepfold.) Given the density of that area, there should be a safe way though Roosevelt circle.

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Voting closed 20

It does suck a lot. They put a bigass freeway where people used to walk and then were surprised that people still need to get across it without a car.

They don't even maintain that area well for car users. I found a pothole that went down to the rebar on the viaduct from Rt. 28 to the circle in October and reported it via MassDOT's internet forms. It was still there - and bigger - at New Year's, so I sent pics to a MassDOT employee. The response: "The last thing we need is more bridge problems at Roosevelt Circle!" It was fixed very quickly after that.

Amazed that it didn't claim some tires and rims first.

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Voting closed 18

a town named Lincoln in Alabama deserves a break.

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Voting closed 20

does the trucking company have no insurance?

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Voting closed 24

When they operated on a road outside of the bounds of their permit, that is a nonzero chance they voided their coverage.

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Voting closed 19

It likely did, but (1) the suit has to be lodged against the company, and (2) the policy would need to be current or, if since dropped, the policy then in effect would have to have been on an occurrence basis, and even so the liability insurer may deny coverage of the action of the trucker involved intentional misconduct or was grossly negligent.

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Voting closed 23

The stupidity of maintaining this road in the 21st century is manifest.

Should be a park from BU down.

You want to get into downtown, take the Pike.

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Voting closed 18

This was on INTERSTATE 93 IN MEDFORD.

The load was so officially overheight for the interstate system that the states he passed through required a permit for a specific pre-determined and cleared route at a specific time and an escort. He ignored one and ditched the other.

This load wouldn't have been permitted on the pike, either.

I agree that Storrow shouldn't be a roadway, but that isn't relevant for a driver who had an official planned route for an officially too large item and destroyed property eight miles north.

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Voting closed 33

Appreciates your sense of geography

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Voting closed 29

Unless Storrow Drive is now in Medford, that's not a Storrowing. That term refers to ONLY when it happens on Storrow Drive. Anyone who says otherwise is a transplant. A more accurate term for this would be a "93ing".

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Voting closed 16

It's too good a word to use on just one road.

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Voting closed 27

The editor of this website is the one who popularized the term which started on this forum. Safe to say he's using it correctly.

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Voting closed 22