The new head of the Federal Highway Administration announced
last week he will drop out of the investigation into Boston’s Big Dig tunnel
In the meantime, more problems were found with bolts in the
tunnels during the weekend. The Boston Globe reported that one lane in
the westbound side of the Ted Williams Tunnel was closed Sunday night and is
expected to remain closed overnight through at least Wednesday, Aug. 23.
The closure was ordered while officials were testing bolts
in the tunnel. Loose bolts have been blamed for the collapse of concrete ceiling panels that crushed a car July 10,
killing a woman.
The Globe also reported that ceiling bolts in the
Interstate 90 Connector tunnel came loose during construction seven years ago.
Those bolts were never changed or re-inspected.
The ongoing problems in the tunnel system have prompted
investigations, which, according to The Associated Press, Federal
Highway Administrator Richard Capka recused himself from after questions arose
about an apparent sweetheart deal he was involved in before leaving the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority four years ago.
As head of the Authority, Capka oversaw the Big Dig
operation, but in 2002 handed his powers over to Matthew Amorello.
With Capka already planning to take a job as deputy
administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, Amorello voted to
terminate Capka—which kicked in a severance clause in his contract.
As a result, The AP said Capka walked away with more
than $82,000 when he moved to FHWA.
In March 2006, when Capka was first nominated for the top
job at FHWA, Land Line Magazine contacted the Massachusetts
Attorney General’s office and the Turnpike Authority regarding Capka’s
departure from the Authority. Some officials said they were unsure of the
details, and others said it was a personnel issue and was not public record.