Tens of thousands of drivers travel along Interstate 93 southbound through Medford on a typical weekday, but the state Department of Transportation on Tuesday urged them to use public transportation or find alternative routes as it forecast delays stemming from damage a truck inflicted on a bridge.
Only two lanes are open for travel on I-93 southbound in Medford, one of the most congested corridors in the state, after a truck over the allowable height struck the Roosevelt Circle Eastbound Overpass on Monday, MassDOT officials said.
The agency also forecast delays on Route 1 southbound, Route 16, Route 28 and in Roosevelt Circle itself "today and for the next several months" as crews work to repair "extensive" damage the crash inflicted on an overpass beam.
"Our first priority is to safely stabilize the structure, which is underway," Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said in a statement. "Drivers are urged to avoid the area and consider public transportation options until I-93 southbound can be fully reopened. Travelers who use Roosevelt Circle should expect restricted lanes for several months until permanent repairs can be made."
Crews will need to demolish the damaged beam and a 7-foot section of bridge deck as part of the repair process.
Traffic remains restricted from traveling over the eastbound portion of the bridge, which will reopen once demolition is complete. Drivers will need to take detours.
Officials suggested travelers could use the Lowell Commuter Rail Line, noting that the trip from Anderson Station in Woburn to North Station typically takes about 25 minutes, or use the Blue Line.
The delays will create major commuting headaches, including for some Boston-area employees who are now returning to offices after more than a year of remote work.