This crap just keeps getting better and better…

A Big Dig technician says he witnessed critical bolt failures in the mid-1990s during installation of Ted Williams Tunnel ceilings and started photographing construction because of concerns about a possible disaster.

The technician, whose job was to test the strength of ceiling fixtures, revealed shocking photographs to the Herald yesterday that show workers in the Ted Williams Tunnel using methods to install epoxy bolts that were flagged as problematic by inspectors.

One of the technician’s photographs shows laborers installing bolts in a way that drew two stern warnings from the oversight firm Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff in 1995. (emphasis added) The picture shows workers applying epoxy to a screen that is then inserted into a bolt hole, a method typically used for a different type of construction, records show.

We’ve covered this already in the past here and here.

This points to deeper problems in the way we do things beyond simple party politics and sloppy work.

  1. Ballenger says:

    Anyone who has ever been around any large project, I think would agree, that CYA and “don’t make waves” factors runs just below the surface, but deep and wide through nearly every aspect of an effort. However, when discoveries of life threatening design or application flaws are made, opportunity exists to go on the record and tell the truth if a problem can’t be resolved internally, instead playing the role of the good (employed) soldier not rocking the boat. The “good” soldier in this case was the person (and anyone above them that was aware of the problem) who had supervision over the oversight and construction teams that it seems must have been aware of the disputes and chose to continue the work as if nothing was wrong, instead of trying to stop everything until a safe product could be delivered. Whoever this was should personally be involved (and given credit for time served) with the remediation, by standing under each of the suspect sections while they are tested, certified or replaced.

    This situation is good supporting evidence of why whistle blower laws were needed in the first place and why they should be protected.

  2. joshua says:

    this project has been a boondoggle since day 1……why is anyone surprised that it went 700% over budget and that the thing is falling down already.
    So many friends of friends of politicians made bundles of money on this it should have been known as the Mass. politicians kids college fund.

    It was poorly concieved, poorly designed and poorly built. The only thing not *poorly* was the cost.

  3. enggirl1 says:

    Here’s something I found online over the weekend. It’s a story talking about the materials failure within the Big Dig project, and then goes on to discuss the number of forums and blogs going up all over the Internet where conversations are ongoing discussing skepticism and possible solutions to the problem. Check it out at:


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