Gov. Mitt Romney said Thursday one traffic lane in the tunnel linking Interstate 90 to Logan Airport could reopen for the Labor Day weekend with temporary supports propping up ceiling panels.

The tunnel is among those closed since falling ceiling panels killed a motorist in July.

Work to install the 118 support towers was scheduled to end around midnight Thursday with the goal of opening the tunnel once state and federal inspectors sign off on the work, according to Romney.

The state had hoped to be able to ease traffic congestion by Labor Day, when the end of summer vacations and the start of school typically means more cars on the road.

"We moved about a week ago to see if we couldn't put in place a temporary shoring system to allow us to open a lane in the tunnel and also allow us to continue work night and day," Romney told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Romney said the shoring towers will restore a critical link to the airport from the west.

He said the decision was made to use the shoring towers because as the number of problems in the tunnels mounted — from problems with the epoxy to questions about the bolt systems — any prospect of re-opening the underground roadway in a timely fashion was fading.

"One revelation after another puts us deeper and deeper in the repair process," he said.

Romney said once the repairs are completed on one side of the tunnels the towers will be switched to the other lane to keep traffic flowing while repairs are completed.

"We hope to employ this method to open other tunnels," he said.