Big dig leak repairs will take time, money

| 8/5/2005

A new audit commissioned by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has found that repairing leaks in the Big Dig over the next five years will cost an estimated $38.9 million.

The current repair program will seal about 3,600 leaks this year, according to The Boston Globe. But the report said that 42 percent of those leaks were expected to reopen, requiring a second round of repairs.

The Turnpike Authority estimates it will have to repair about 1,500 leaks in 2006; 661 in 2007; 284 in 2008; 121 in 2009 and 77 in 2010.

The audit, which was conducted by research firm Deloitte & Touche, was commissioned after the U.S. Department of Transportation threatened to withhold federal funding for the Big Dig until the department was assured that the leaks would be fixed.

Turnpike Authority spokeswoman Mariellen Burns told the Portsmouth Herald that more than $32 million of the money needed to repair the leaks could be collected from contractors who either did not perform work adequately or did not uphold their contracts.

Though substantial work on the $14.6 billion project was to have been completed by September, Turnpike Authority officials are now saying that significant work will continue into January.