Company claims Big Dig warning memo was a fake

| 8/3/2006

A Big Dig contractor is claiming that a 1999 memo from one of its safety officers that warned of problems with the bolt fixtures used in the tunnel ceilings is a fake.

The Associated Press reported that Modern Continental Construction Co. issued a statement on Wednesday, Aug. 3, claiming that it has found no evidence in its own files of the memo.

The memo was written in May 1999 by John Keaveney, a safety officer with the company. It was mailed to the Boston Globe without Keaveney’s knowledge following the July 10 collapse of part of one of the Big Dig tunnels that left a woman dead.

The AP reported that Keaveney has since verified the authenticity of the memo, but Modern Continental disagrees.

“Based on an extensive review of documents, including invoices for delivery of materials, commencement-of-work records and safety reports signed by Mr. Keaveney, Modern Continental believes the memo he allegedly prepared in May 1999 was fabricated,” the statement said.

Keaveney’s lawyer told the Globe that his client still maintains the memo was real, but that he may have made some errors regarding its exact timing.

Meanwhile, toll revenue on the Massachusetts Turnpike has taken a hit in recent weeks as commuters heading to Boston from surrounding suburbs continue to avoid Big Dig tunnels.

The Boston Herald reported that the five tollway stops that are part of the Big Dig are losing an average of about $132,660 a day. The tolls on the three tunnels of the Big Dig account for about $104,000 of that total.