US Highway Administration releases interim report on Boston's Big Dig: press release claims tunnel safe, but report does not
Topics: Federal Highway Administration, Interstate 93
April 6, 2005
On April 4, the Federal Highway Administration released an interim report on leaks in the Central Artery Tunnel, part of Boston's Big Dig. The press release about the report claims that the report "concludes that the project is structurally sound and remains safe for traffic." However, the report does not reach those conclusions.
The report does not evaluate the current safety level of the tunnel; and on the subject of safety, it notes that ensuring the safety of the tunnel will require speedy implementation of a permanent repair of last September's major leak. The safety claim is repeated and touted as a "rare bit of good news" about the Big Dig in an Associated Press story by Steve Leblanc.
The Central Artery Tunnel, which allows Interstate 93 to pass beneath downtown Boston, experienced a 300 gallon-per-minute leak of water into the tunnel in September of 2004, according to the recent report. Mac Daniel of the Boston Globe notes in a recent article that the September leak caused "a 10-mile traffic jam".
In response to the leak, the Federal Highway Administration formed the Tunnel Leak Assessment Team to provide an independent assessment of the leaking in the tunnel and the efficacy of the repairs underway.
The report reaches three main conclusions:
According to the New York Times, Matthew Amorello, chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, praised the report, stating that, "This independent affirmation that the I-93 tunnels are safe and structurally sound will allow drivers to use them with confidence."
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