Friday, July 27, 2007

More Tunnel Trouble

Earlier this week, I expressed my skepticism as to whether the state could be trusted to replace the Storrow drive tunnel with a new, wider tunnel that could accommodate both directions of traffic. This Herald story detailing how state engineers knew they used the wrong epoxy in the section of tunnel that collapsed last year makes me even more reluctant to have the state embark on another tunnel project -- no matter how much simpler it would be. From the article (via BMG):

The documents, disclosed yesterday by attorneys for the epoxy supplier, reveal a chain of communication in which state officials were clearly informed of the deficiencies of the glue that failed and caused 26 tons of concrete to crash onto the roadway of the Interstate 90 Seaport connector tunnel on July 10 of last year. [Milena] Del Valle was a passenger in a car crushed by the falling concrete ceiling.

The documents also show that those engineers called for a more robust standard epoxy, but that either the contractor or another Big Dig firm still failed to use the right product.
Of course, don't forget that the media has been burned by phony memos before. This memo is being produced by the epoxy manufacturer to protect them from any liability. It also does not seem to be in the document dump the state sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in the course of their investigation. Was the memo lost, simply overlooked, or was someone engaged in butt-covering of their own?