State highway officials have shifted gears and decided to remove all the panels from the Callahan Tunnel in the coming days instead of waiting until next year as they originally announced in December they would do.

The new approach was disclosed Wednesday by Frank DePaola, highway administrator for the state Department of Transportation, at the state transportation department board meeting.

It was DePaola who said last month that most of the panels would stay in place and replacements would be folded into a renovation plan for the Callahan now under development by MassDOT.

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Last month one panel fell into the roadway, tying up traffic for several hours. Three other panels were immediately removed. Workers have since spent overnight hours removing more of the panels, and have taken out about 75 percent of them, said MassDOT spokeswoman Sara Lavoie.