MEDFORD -- Workers have reduced traffic on Interstate 93 north to just one lane as they prepare to pour concrete to patch large holes.
Adam Hurtubise, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said he expected all four northbound lanes to be open for the morning commute.
Three of the four lanes of the crucial artery were closed through the evening's rush hour.
"It created this nightmare commute," said Luisa Paiewonsky, highway administrator for the state Department of Transportation, speaking to reporters this morning while standing below the faulty I-93 bridge, as light streamed through a wide-open hole. The highway, the main north-south artery through Greater Boston, normally carries 100,000 northbound vehicles every weekday.
The vast holes that opened 25 feet apart on consecutive days were not the typical spring potholes bemoaned by New England drivers but were caused by something far more serious: the decay of concrete and steel attributed to years of postponed maintenance.
"It's like when your neighbor's house needs painting, and your neighbor doesn't paint it for 10 years, so instead of it needing painting now, the siding has rotted out," said Frank Tramontozzi, chief engineer for the Department of Transportation.
The two holes occurred on a section of interstate being repaved in a three-year, $16 million project to resurface I-93 and its on- and off-ramps in Somerville and Medford. The jack-hammering and milling to remove the surface layers of asphalt -- and the rumbling of cars and trucks over the construction-scarred roadway -- proved too much for the concrete and steel that undergird the asphalt on an elevated section of interstate that runs above Medford's Valley Street.
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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