Tuesday, March 15, 2005

We believe the tunnels are perfectly safe

Extracted from CNN.COM, this caught my eye. I lived in that area for many years and have friends who go through this tunnel every day.

Engineer 'unable' to vouch for Big Dig safety

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- The independent engineering specialist who led an investigation into leaks at the $14.6 billion Big Dig project says he can no longer vouch for the safety of its tunnels.

The project ... buried Interstate 93 underneath downtown Boston.

Lemley told lawmakers in November that there was no public safety risk to people driving through the tunnels.

In the latest letter, he said new information has surfaced that more than 40 large sections of tunnel wall contain construction defects and that fireproofing material has been damaged by leaks.

He also wrote that project officials have blocked him from obtaining records and data related to the new problems.

Lemley added that his change in position also was driven by the apparent lack of any formal plan by Big Dig officials to address the leak problems.

"We believe the tunnels are perfectly safe," spokesman Doug Hanchett said. "If we ever had a reasonable inkling otherwise, we'd close the tunnels. Public safety is always our number one concern."

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At 5:19 PM, Blogger Square1 said...

And under his breath at the end of that he was muttering, "Right after our budget."

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

The big dig is a hole a lot deeper than imagined.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Badaunt said...

Tunnels frighten me anyway. Reading that makes me think that my fear is not irrational. (I wish I hadn't, though... there are a lot of tunnels in Japan, and looking at how the construction industry builds *houses*... argh!)

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

That project was an amazing piece of engineering work... or so I thought.

Have you read that they're talking about building over more of the Mass Pike in Boston, too?

At 7:06 PM, Blogger W. Shedd said...

It's not talk. They are going to build over the Mass Pike. Rather large development actually.

But that is much less complicated than the Big Dig.

It isn't a question of tunnels inherently being bad or unsafe. Boston just has very difficult soil and groundwater conditions in a very dense urban environment in a city where the city (government and citizens) have their fingers and noses into everything.


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