Falling bridge debris closes part of I-93 S in Londonderry
By CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent
August 28. 2017 5:20PM
Repair crews work on a portion of a bridge on I-93 southbound Monday afternoon. (COURTESY DOT)
LONDONDERRY — Transportation officials say a portion of Interstate 93 southbound is to remain closed overnight after a large piece of concrete broke from underneath a red-listed bridge and shattered on the highway.
The debris fell from a Route 102 bridge and landed in the southbound lane of I-93 sometime around 1:40 p.m. on Monday, breaking into several pieces.
While no injuries were reported, several vehicles ran over the debris and officials say at least one had hood damage.
Crews were to open the high-speed lane around 8 p.m.
Bill Boynton, public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, said the concrete that became detached was not critical to the structural integrity of the bridge.
Crews will erect a protective shielding underneath the bridge to catch any additional falling debris.
“It may take multiple nights to do it. ... It may result in some lane closures at night,” Boynton said. “Obviously (this is) very concerning and it’s something we’re trying to get a handle on and respond to immediately.”
The bridge, built in 1962, was red-listed in 2015. Drivers were able to travel over the bridge on Route 102.
Boynton said construction crews are building a new bridge to replace the deteriorating structure and those on-scene were able to quickly clear the debris. The new bridge is slated for completion in 2018.
Police say traffic was diverted off the highway to Routes 28 and 128, causing heavy congestion in Londonderry up through rush hour. Vehicles were detoured back onto the I-93 southbound lane using the Exit 4 on-ramp, according to the transportation department.Other bridges to get a look
Boynton said bridges constructed “during the same era” as the redlisted bridge will be looked at in the coming weeks. Boynton was unable to provide an exact number of how many bridges built during the “same era” exist in New Hampshire, but guessed there were “a few dozen.”
“We have no indication there are any issues with them, but we will be taking a look,” said Boynton.
Boynton praised crews working in the area building the new bridge with getting to the scene quickly.
“They managed to get the debris off the road in a hurry,” said Boynton.
Boynton said he expected all lanes to be open on I-93 South for traffic by the Tuesday morning commute. Union Leader Staff Writer Paul Feely contributed to this report.