Price skyrockets for Big Dig’s traffic-control system

| Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Since construction first started, the builders of Boston’s Big Dig underground highway have contended the route would include some of the most advanced traffic-monitoring and emergency systems in the country.

Now, the people building that system want more money to install it. A lot more.

Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. is now asking for $234 million for the job, The Boston Globe reported recently. That includes a $93 million boost this year on top of a $37 million price tag hike last year.

The money is part of $600 million in cost overruns requested by contractors working on the project.

State officials are working through the $600 million in claims, as the higher charges are called.

"We pay what is fair and no more, and our track record thus far has been about 50 cents on the dollar" for the amounts the contractors claim, Matthew Amorello, chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, told the newspaper.

The Big Dig is the largest construction project of its kind in U.S. history. It will take the elevated interstates that currently lead into the center of Boston and replace them with wider, higher-capacity underground highways, including new tunnels and bridges to carry traffic over and under the city’s waterways. The Big Dig will carry portions of several highways, including I-93 and I-90. Portions of the project are already open to traffic.

The I-93 section of the project will be named the Liberty Tunnel, and the I-90 connector to the Ted Williams Tunnel will be named the O’Neill Tunnel after former U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill of Massachusetts.

Honeywell told The Globe that construction delays on some portions of the project delayed the company getting access, which in turn increased its costs.

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