Second Big Dig location closed; investigation continues

| 7/17/2006

Another tunnel in Boston’s ill-fated Big Dig was shut down during the weekend as investigators continued to look into the cause of a July 10 collapse that left one woman dead.

The Associated Press reported on Monday, July 17, that a mile-long ramp that connects Interstate 90 west with Interstate 93 north and south was shut down after tests on the bolts used to secure concrete panels to the ceiling showed numerous potential problems. Crews are working on securing the panels and it is unknown when the tunnel will reopen.

Also on Monday, the entrance to the Ted Williams Tunnel on Interstate 90 near Logan Airport remained closed one week after several three-ton sections of concrete fell from the ceiling, crushing a car and killing a woman inside.

The AP reported that the investigation is focusing on bolts and epoxy used to hold the concrete ceiling slabs in place. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – who seized control of the investigation from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority on Friday, July 14 – said that many of the bolts where epoxy was used will have to be replaced or repaired.

Romney outlined three potential plans for the repairs, including an anchor bolt system, a steel-on-steel connection and a cable system, according to The AP.

In addition, Romney said there were three jet fans in the tunnel where the collapse happened that showed signs of movement and were going to have to be “shored up.”

The $14 billion Big Dig project – which buried portions of Interstates 93 and 90 beneath downtown Boston and extended the Massachusetts Turnpike to Logan Airport – has been plagued with problems through much of its 15 years, including leaks, faulty concrete, missed deadlines and political scandals among those involved in its management.