Big Dig chief resigns amid controversy

| Thursday, July 27, 2006

Matthew Amorello, head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, agreed to step down on Thursday, July 27, amid mounting pressure from Gov. Mitt Romney and others involved in the Big Dig investigation.

Amorello came under fire following a July 10 collapse of several ceiling panels in one of the Big Dig tunnels that left a woman dead. In the days following the accident, Romney filed emergency legislation to assume control of the investigation and scheduled a hearing to remove Amorello from his position.

That hearing was to have taken place on July 27, but Amorello resigned before it got started.

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.

The section of Interstate 90 where the collapse occurred, which connects Interstate 93 to the Ted Williams Tunnel, is still closed indefinitely.

A second part of the tunnel, a mile-long ramp that connects Interstate 90 west with Interstate 93 north and south, is also still shut down as repairs continue.

The tunnel closures have brought more traffic to the surface on Boston’s streets. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has posted information on alternate routes and closures on the Big Dig Web site at masspike.com/bigdig.

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