More loose bolts found, lawsuit filed in Big Dig probe

| 7/25/2006

As inspection crews found three more loose bolts in a ceiling panel in Boston’s Big Dig, the director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority filed a lawsuit in an effort to keep his job.

The Associated Press reported that crews were working Tuesday, July 25, to secure another section of concrete near the entrance to the Ted Williams Tunnel. The section is similar to the three-ton slabs that came loose on July 10 and crushed a car passing through the tunnel, killing a passenger inside.

The new findings did not close the tunnel, but did reduce traffic to one lane as a portable support device was put in place to shore up the panel, The AP reported.

Meanwhile, Matthew Amorello, head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, filed a lawsuit in the state’s Supreme Judicial Court on Monday, July 24, in an attempt to block Gov. Mitt Romney from removing him from his post.

In the days following the tunnel incident, Romney vowed to remove Amorello from the Big Dig project, going so far as to get emergency legislation passed that stripped Amorello of control over the inspections. He also set up a hearing to determine Amorello’s fate.

The AP reported that Amorello’s lawsuit seeks to block that hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday, July 27, and also asks the court to determine whether Romney has the authority to remove Amorello from his position.

This isn’t the first legal shot fired in the Big Dig investigation. The week of July 16, three Turnpike Authority board members filed suit against Amorello, claiming that he tried to strip the board of its power and take complete control of the authority’s operations.

A hearing on those charges has been set for July 26.