Part of Big Dig Tunnel in Boston falls, killing woman in car

  1. This is so awful :crybaby:

    BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney said Tuesday he was taking legal action to oust the head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority after a woman was crushed to death by falling concrete tiles in a Boston Big Dig tunnel. "People should not have to drive through the turnpike tunnels with their fingers crossed," Romney said. "Neither I nor anyone else could be or should be satisfied until we have new leadership at the Turnpike authority." At least 12 tons of concrete fell from the ceiling of an Interstate 90 connector tunnel late Monday, crushing a car carrying newlyweds to Logan International Airport and killing the woman. The victim's husband, who was driving, managed to crawl through a window to safety. "There was only about 6 to 12 inches. But he was able to get through," State Police Maj. Michael Mucci said.

    The collapse again raised concerns about the integrity of the massive highway project. Four of the massive concrete panels hit the vehicle, authorities said. The debris and the potential for more panels to fall shut down the tunnel shortly before midnight and backed up traffic for miles during the Tuesday morning commute. Authorities hoped to reopen it midday Wednesday but were still inspecting at least 17 other sections of the tunnel system and removing about 30 ceiling slabs from the accident site. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Chairman Matthew Amorello said a steel "tieback" that had held a 40-foot section of ceiling in place of over eastbound Interstate 90 gave way, letting the concrete slabs loose as cars drove beneath them. "There was a snapping sound heard," Amorello said. "One of the tile panels from the roof released. It caused a series of panels to be released."

    The accident was near the entrance to the Ted Williams Tunnel, which runs under Boston Harbor to Logan International Airport. Amorello said he had ordered a precautionary inspection of that tunnel as well because it similar tiebacks, though a different ceiling structure. Amorello said similar tiebacks were also used in 17 spots on the Interstate 90 section of the Big Dig project, and all of those also were being checked. "We feel awful about what happened last night," Amorello said. "It's an awful, awful tragedy. ... This is an awful situation that occurred." He appointed a state police major, two outside consultants and a team from the Federal Highway Administration to assist in the investigation. Boston Mayor Tom Menino demanded quick answers. "We don't need a six-month study. We need an immediate reaction and action by the different authorities so that we can reassure the public as they drive into the city or drive over to the airport that the tunnel is safe to go through," he said. The ceiling panels in the affected tunnel were erected in 1999. The steel tiebacks holding them were bolted to the tunnel roof overhead. Amorello said the contractor was Modern Continental. Representatives of that company and project manager Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment Tuesday. "Any responsible party will be held accountable for what happened," Amorello said. "This is an unacceptable, horrible tragedy."

    Romney cut short a vacation in New Hampshire and returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to meet with his cabinet. The $14 billion Big Dig highway project, which buried Interstate 93 in a tunnel through downtown and extended the Massachusetts Turnpike to Logan International Airport, has been criticized for construction problems and cost overruns. There have been water leaks and at least one incident when dirt and debris from an air shaft fell onto cars. In May, prosecutors charged six current and former employees of a concrete supplier with fraud for allegedly concealing that some concrete delivered to the Big Dig was not freshly mixed. Amorello said preliminary investigation shows that the quality of the concrete was not to blame for Monday's accident. Christy Mihos, an independent candidate for governor and former member of the Turnpike Authority Board and agency critic, called the accident "my worst nightmare come true." Mihos urged the governor to seize control of the turnpike's day-to-day operations.

    The victims were identified by state police as Milena Delvalle, 38, and her husband, Angel Delvalle, 46, of Jamaica Plain. Friends and relatives said the Delvalles were on their way to Logan to pick up family members who were returning from a vacation in Puerto Rico. The collapse was reminscent of an incident in Fall River on March 3, 1999. Ceiling tiles fell from the Interstate 195 tunnel under Fall River Government Center, causing a series of car crashes. Several people were hurt, but no one was killed. Fall River settled lawsuits brought by people who claimed the city failed to monitor the deteriorating condition of the underpass.

  2. Oh my God!! That is awful-- I've been in that tunnel and did NOT feel safe!
  3. I heard about this! That Big Dig project has been full of corruption and problems for some time. I hope they shut it down permanently until they can get to the bottom of this!
  4. I TOTALLY AGREE! I would NOT drive to Boston in that tunnel at all now. Very scary and has been since day one. I can't imagine the lawsuits coming from this incident. That poor family.
  5. :oh: The Big Dig has been a Big Mess! Sadly, someone has now lost their life thanks to this sloppy fiasco...our hard-earned tax dollars at work...
  6. This is an unnecessary tragic loss of life.:sad: Very, very sad.
  7. Oh, that's just terrible! What a tragedy!
  8. that is absolutely frightening

    and to think the groom will be able to be rewarded oodles of money for emotional distress but that will never bring back his bride.

    Really makes you think.
  9. How sad :sad:
  10. I always get extremley nervous in tunnels and even though I live in Boston I didn't hear about this until about 4 this afternoon ( I refuse to watch the news because it makes me too nervous) my father travels through that tunnel everyday and my heart literally skipped a beat until I found out that only one person died. Just the thought of that being a family member is nerve racking. My heart goes out to that poor woman's family, it is completley devestating.
  11. I heard about this. So sad she had to die =(
  12. That is so sad! How horrible!
  13. That's awful! So sad.