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Boston traffic jammed by truck mishap

BOSTON, May 2 -- A Canadian lumber truck driver was charged with drunken driving Thursday after an accident on the main elevated highway through Boston created a massive traffic jam. Officials said the load of lumber on his truck shifted and slammed into a steel girder, part of the support system for the Central Artery's northbound upper deck. The girder buckled and was 'twisted like a pretzel,' officials said. The accident late Wednesday night on the southbound lower deck shut down traffic in both directions on the two-tier highway, which carries Interstate 93 through Boston. Morning commuters were diverted off onto area roads, creating what state police trooper Larry Gillis described as the 'mother of all traffic jams.' The nearby Mystic-Tobin Bridge over the Mystic River, which connects Boston with its North Shore suburbs along Route 1, was also closed as a precaution, making the nightmare even worse. State Highway Department crews erected a temporary brace to shore up the damaged girder Thursday, and the upper level and the bridge were reopened to traffic shortly after 3 p.m. EST, just in time for the afternoon commute. The southbound lower level of the aging highway was reopened on a limited basis earlier. Police said the driver of the truck, Serge Brosseau, 32, of Quebec, was charged with drunken driving and driving to endanger. He was arraigned in Charlestown District Court and ordered held in lieu of $15, 000 bail. Prosecutors said Brosseau's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

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His court-appointed attorney called the bail excessive, in view of the fact that no one was injured in the crash and that Brosseau has no criminal record, and said she would seek to have it lowered. The prosecution requested the high bond, saying Brosseau, as a foreign citizen, was likely to flee the city if he was released.

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