Big Dig

By - 10/1/14 - 9:58 am reports on a MassDOT/BRA meeting to consider how to cover the ramps leading to the tunnel under the Greenway.

Among the most interesting options presented for Parcels 12 and 6 were elevated pedestrian walkways that cover the ramps and provide above ground (~15' high) observation areas. The ramp covers and high decks could be designed to be similar to sections of the popular High Line park in Manhattan.

By - 7/9/14 - 7:38 pm

After seeing a report on Boston Reddit from a motorist who said something fell and almost hit her car, maintenance crews went through the tunnel twice yesterday looking for evidence of something falling from the ceiling, a MassDOT spokesman says:

By - 7/8/14 - 11:31 pm

UPDATE: State officials say they couldn't find any evidence of anything falling from the ceiling.

Am_Sci reports:

I was driving southbound through the O'Neill tunnel earlier this afternoon, when a long, rectangular, and apparently heavy object fell from the ceiling into the lane in front of me. It was accompanied by a plume of dust that quickly cleared.

By - 9/5/13 - 10:21 am

Original conception of the Central ArteryOriginal conception of the Central Artery.

You know, of course, about I-695 and I-95 in the city - cancelled after residents from Hyde Park to Somerville raised holy hell and the governor canceled the plans and we got the Orange Line instead.

But a 1930 report by the Boston Planning Board (yes, back in the days when Boston had a planning board) proposed a series of new expressways and parkways, pretty much all with the purpose of speeding people downtown - in part through cross-town routes that would take traffic off the major routes downtown.

John McLachlan dug up a copy of the report. It's an interesting report, both to look back and see what was built - and what wasn't.

By - 8/14/12 - 10:33 am

Hanging by a thread

UPDATE: State officials are blaming an "oversize truck" for taking out one of those lane-marker things, BostInno reports - so yes, it's always September in the O'Neill Tunnel.

By - 7/13/12 - 4:09 pm

Harm caused to the Big Dig by two concrete-company executives who ordered workers to deliver substandard concrete was nowhere near as bad as prosecutors charged, a federal appeals court said today in upholding a judge sentencing them only to probation and community service.

Under federal guidelines for the fraud charges on which they were convicted, Robert Prosperi and Gregory Stevenson, executives at Aggregate Industries, should have gotten a minimum of 7 1/4 years in federal prison. The judge in their case, however, sentenced them to six months' probation and 1,000 hours of community service.

By - 7/12/12 - 2:30 pm

A day after we learned the alleged final cost of the Big Dig, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the way the then turnpike authority shifted toll revenues to Big Dig construction costs was perfectly legal.

A bunch of turnpike commuters had challenged the money shifting, arguing it amounted to an unconstitutional tax, because they were paying for a new road system they might not use.

By - 7/11/12 - 8:25 am

The true, final (well, so far) cost of the Big Dig is:


By - 3/25/12 - 1:54 pm
The end of Fort Point Channel

Not very impressive looking.

Stand on the Summer Street Bridge and look toward South Boston, and Fort Point Channel looks like a long rectangle, ending in a wall just past the Gillette plant.

In fact, the channel continues for a few more blocks, as a narrower drainage channel, ending at the Boston Water and Sewage Commission's Wet Weather Sewage Discharge Outfall Number 70.

You can stroll the Harbor Walk to what looks like the end of Fort Point Channel and admire the re-painted remains of a giant train bridge that crossed there before the Ted Williams Tunnel remade that area (and from which you can still watch the trains arriving at and departing from South Station):

By - 12/28/11 - 7:43 am

No, not the Green Line extension. reports the Boston Conservation Commission is wagging its collective finger at the state over the continued non-existence of a usable dock at Atlantic Wharf on Fort Point Channel, despite a state promise to have one built as part of mitigation for the Big Dig.

By - 11/10/11 - 7:41 am

But not because it was held up with rusty paper clips but because a car on the top level of a car carrier knocked into a bunch of light fixtures, the Globe reports. And isn't it nice to see that Big Dig designers paid homage to Storrow Drive by designing a tunnel with height restrictions?

By - 8/11/11 - 8:40 am

The Globe reports frozen dirt under a section of the Big Dig is thawing out faster than expected, causing a cavern down there that is filling up with water.

Yes, of course there's thawing frozen dirt - engineers froze the dirt to make it easier to put in tunnel segments. State officials say nothing to worry about - the segment will act like a bridge if the underground lake gets too big - and no need to ask for legal help from an unfrozen caveman lawyer.

By - 7/24/11 - 9:21 am

The Globe gets a copy of an engineer's report on continuing water problems in the tunnels, such as a design flaw that's leading to cracks that let in water. Will require expensive repairs, natch.

By - 7/15/11 - 5:58 pm

That plastic must be pretty tough. At least they won't rust.

UPDATE: Apparently, the fact that plastic doesn't rust is just why they're in place.

By - 7/14/11 - 4:02 pm

The Globe reports Jeffrey Mullan will depart as state transportation secretary this fall because he needs to make more money, not because of any concerns over his handling of Big Dig safety issues.

Mullan, however, issued a statement after the Globe report came out:

Reports of my departure as Secretary of Transportation this fall are premature.

By - 4/8/11 - 6:39 am

EMTs get injured worker to ambulance. Photo by BFD.EMTs get injured worker to ambulance. Photo by BFD.

Boston firefighters spent two hours early this morning getting a state transportation worker out of a shaft connected to the Ted Williams Tunnel.

According to the Boston Fire Department, the worker plunged 20 feet down a shaft into a pool of sludge around 1 a.m.

Using ropes and pulleys, firefighters lifted the worker out after about 2 hours in the hole. He was washed down as part of a decon.

The worker was taken to Mass. General. The department says the firefighters who rescued him were not the same ones who rescued an MBTA worker at the bottom of a shaft last week.

The shaftThe shaft. Photo by BFD.

By - 3/24/11 - 8:28 am

The Globe reports MassDOT Secretary Jeff Mullan, who previously said he didn't tell the governor or the public about crashing, corroding Big Dig light fixtures to let his underlings get to the bottom of the problem, now says what really happened is that those underlings didn't tell him about the problem for a month.

By - 3/18/11 - 7:32 am

The Globe reports the latest on the plummeting light fixture in the Big Dig: Transportation officials withheld news for a month and it turns out the "stem to stern" investigation ordered by the Romney administration didn't include actually disassembling any of the fixtures to see if they were rotting from within, which, it turns out, some were.

By - 3/16/11 - 8:20 pm

After one of the 110-lb. fixtures plunged to the roadway last month, the Herald reports.

By - 2/18/11 - 7:53 am

No, not the Big Dig and the Greenway. The dam at the mouth of the Charles River. Eric Papetti draws the parallel between that Big Dig of the turn of the century (the 20th century, that is), with today's big turn-of-the-century project. He quotes from Karl Haglund's Inventing the Charles River: