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Officials say 1 year and $1M required for repair of bridge damaged by over-height truck

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Repair of the Medford bridge damaged by an overheight truck could take as long as one year and cost as much as one million dollars, officials say. 

The Medford, Massachusetts bridge above Interstate 93, otherwise known as the Roosevelt Circle overpass, was damaged last week on July 19th, when an overheight semi truck hauling a blue water tank strayed from its permitted route and smashed into the bridge. The impact severely damaged a 75-foot-beam that has been described by Massachusetts Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver as “completely flattened” and “nearly torn in half,” in the accident. 

“It left the bridge in a very unstable condition,” Gulliver said to Boston.com “Effectively, that bridge beam … had no carrying capacity left, and it was really being only held in the air by the fact that it was attached to the bridge deck.”

The removal of this damaged beam and portion of the bridge deck required the closure of two I-93 southbound lanes for more than three days. Since then, all four lanes of I-93 southbound have been reopened, along with a version of Roosevelt Circle with “much narrower lanes.” But even with the removal of these pieces already completed, Gulliver says that the stabilization of the bridge alone could cost near $500,000 and “maybe even a little bit more.”

Additionally, restoring Roosevelt circle back to its former function is expected to last into 2022 and cost an additional hundreds of dollars. 

“This is going to take some time — probably in the neighborhood of eight to 12 months — before we get that permanent repair designed and into construction… [and we’re talking in the million dollar range,” Gulliver said. Not to mention the fact that the actual process of having the repairs designed and the construction paid for could take an additional few months. 

While the bill is expected to be big, MassDOT doesn’t plan on paying for the repairs itself. Gulliver says that MassDOT’s “accident recovery team” will work with bonding and insurance companies  “to ensure that they recover the funds associated with doing the full repair of that crash.”

“They have a great track record,” he said. “Right now they are working with legal. They have already contacted the carrier’s insurance company, and they’re starting that process now.”

While the truck driver responsible for the damage has already received his fine of $210 for carrying a load that was above its 14-foot permitted height and deviating from his approved route, MassDOT says that it will hold the trucking company, Dove Transportation, legally and financially responsible for the damage, and will review the company’s eligibility for any future Massachusetts permits.

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