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State Eyes Cause Of Big Dig Lighting Collapse

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Transportation secretary Jeffrey Mullan points at the corroded mount of a light fixture that fell apart February in a Big Dig tunnel.  Highway supervisor Helmut Ernst and highway administrator Frank Tramontozzi stand next to him.

Transportation secretary Jeffrey Mullan points at the corroded mount of a light fixture that fell apart February in a Big Dig tunnel. Highway supervisor Helmut Ernst and highway administrator Frank Tramontozzi stand next to him.

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BOSTON (AP) – State Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan says investigators are close to determining what caused a corroded 110-pound light fixture to fall from the ceiling of a Big Dig tunnel in February.

Mullan told a legislative committee Tuesday the corrosion may have been started by contact between two different kinds of metal in the light fixture, and made worse by salt from snow and ice removal efforts.

Read: Keller @ Large: Big Dig Lights Political Fallout

No one was hurt when the fixture crashed to the roadway but it prompted a review of about 25,000 in Big Dig tunnels. Mullan says fewer than 2 percent were found to have similar problems.

Also See: Transportation Boss: I Wasn’t Told About Big Dig Light Incident

Mullan says it’s not determined if the corrosion resulted from a design or installation flaw. But he says the state could go after contractors for the cost of replacing the defective fixtures.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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