More tunnel problems in Big Dig

| Friday, December 10, 2004

Six more sections of the Big Dig’s tunnels in Boston have the same defect that led to a series of leaks, The Boston Globe reported Dec. 10.

The news came just two days after a report that the state of Massachusetts is on the brink of filing a $100 million lawsuit against the private-sector managers of the Big Dig, and about a week after Massachusetts officials revealed a new defect in the Central Artery Tunnel Project, as the Big Dig is formally known.

The Globe reported in early November that the massive underground highway tunnel system was leaking water to the tune of 26 million gallons a year. Engineers quoted by the newspaper say repairs could take 10 years and involve lane closures. Engineers also found documents that the firms in charge of construction may have known about the leaks as early as the late 1990s.

The tunnel system was designed to handle 500,000 gallons of water removal a year – about 2 percent of the actual amount removed since last December.

The Big Dig was the largest construction project of its kind in U.S. history. It was created to take the elevated interstates that once ran 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 carries portions of several highways, including Interstates 93 and 90.

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