BOSTON (AP) – An investigative report released by the state transportation department includes an email from a state highway official who warned that problems with light fixtures in Big Dig tunnels were a “big deal” and many were no longer safe.
The email was written by Helmut Ernst, a district highway supervisor, to the department’s legislative liaison. It was sent March 1, about three weeks after a 110-pound light fixture fell from a tunnel ceiling.
Ernst wrote that about 5 percent of 8,000 light fixtures inspected to that point showed “advanced deterioration to the point that they were no longer safe.” The memo said replacing all the fixtures would cost about $200 million.
Transportation officials said Friday that nearly all the estimated 23,000 fixtures have been inspected and fewer than 2 percent had serious corrosion.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. Dennis says:

    Graft, corruption, patronage.
    Welcome to Massachusetts.

  2. Jpegman says:

    Using Ernst numbers, 5% of 8,000 is 400 fixtures to replace at $200 million is $500,000 PER fixture. What are they made of gold? Why the discrepancy – is there 8000 fixtures or 23,000? 2% of 23,000 is still 460 fixtures need replacing. I don’t understand why Jeffrey Mullen still has his job after holding back the info from Deval Patrick and the world until the press went public with the info – great, fire the guy under you and say you’ll fix the system – same-o, same-o as the big dig itself!

  3. sagamore rules says:

    why didn’t Helmut Ernst (if that is even his real name) send an email to the Chief Engineer? Legislative Liaisons have no function when dealing with technical or design/construction issues. Legislative Liaisons only get involved when a politician makes an inquire to DOT. Tramontozzi is a professional engineer. They don’t exactly give those Licenses away. I am certain he was forced to “fall on the dagger” for mullen. Just another case of the politicians (including mullen) saving their own butts at the expense of a sincere man’s integrity. I am sure Tramontozzi knew that this type of thing could happen when he took the job.

  4. eddwal50 says:

    so why didn’t WBZ publish the email trail so everyone could actually see how disfunctional the state workers are

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