State: ‘The Tunnels Are Safe’ After Big Dig Light Falls

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — State transportation officials say they have discovered some corrosion in the lighting system for the Big Dig tunnels in Boston.

They realized the problem February 8, after an eight-foot, 110-pound light came crashing down in the tunnel on I93 North.  It fell in the center lane during the morning rush hour. No one was hit.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Mullen was briefing reporters Wednesday on the problem, which said to affect less than 2 percent of the lights in the tunnel.  Mullen says the powder coating on lights is corroding due to weather and salt.

The state says it is launching a full review of the lighting system in the tunnels and does plan to go after the manufacturer over the problem.

There are 23,000 light fixtures in tunnels. To this point, 95 percent have been inspected.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports.

“The tunnels are safe,” said Mullen.

The Big Dig was the most expensive highway project in U.S. history and was plagued by cost overruns and design problems.

In 2008, contractors who worked on the project agreed to pay more than $450 million to settle a lawsuit over a fatal tunnel ceiling collapse and to cover the costs of leaks and design flaws.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Kate Merrill
  • 1608

    The never ending story.

  • 007

    More lies and coverup from DOT.

  • emom

    Really now, does it really surprise us any more. Over runs, cutting corners, wastefull spending , and now this. they spend HOW MUCH on these lights and they are CORRODING<<< ahhhhh how come did they use unprotected metal products, did they coat them to protect them, was bare metal used to hang them. Is that much water pouring in that it caused all this… Or did they use the kind of lights for a warhouse. HONESTLY what next wait I rather not even think or say it., The cost of stupidity is more than most can handle.

    • Charlie

      The lights were corroding from salt

  • Charlie

    Just the news trying to make something outa nothing,

    • shotime

      When one of these lighting units comes crashing down on someone’s windshield, we’ll see if the news is making a big deal out of nothing!

  • Cynic

    Hey Tunnel people….Does the word “Maintenance” ring a bell?

    • emom

      Wait MAINTENANCE, whats that, this state cant find their way out of paper bag if both ends where open.. Maintenance is a suggestion to them.

  • Buddy

    If the tunnels are so safe why is it every single weekday lanes are closed and work is ebing done? It’s one of two things. Either the tunnels are safe or the state troopers have not made a $100,000 for the year yet.

    Come on! Are the tunnels asfe or not? I would say shady work at best was performed by the contractors. If not then explain why day in day out lanes are closed and work is ebing done.

    • Charlie

      I think it’s the state troopers

  • Dennis Chick

    They are just realizing now that our weather causes corrosion? Is there anybody in our state government that has a clue about anything? Just another isolated incident like the one that killed a woman!

  • emom

    Ok I have a ??? 1 how far into the tunnel did this particular light FALL from, And next HOW could the weather affect every light thru out the tunnel, ITS UNDERGROUND FOLKS> I can understand the lights nearer the opening s of the tunnels, BUT really after say a 1/4 mile in there IS NO WEATHER< what are they spraying the salt up into the lights ON THE CEILING more like poor workmanship on the part of the state, YET AGAIN>

  • GCO


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