DePaola Says Big Dig Tunnels Are Safe Despite Leaks, Engineer’s Report

BOSTON (CBS) – The issue of Big Dig tunnel leaks is in the news again, and this time the head of the highway department is being accused of downplaying an engineer’s report warning of spiraling costs and safety concerns caused by those leaks.

The internal report details corroded electrical systems, flooded air vents and even damage to the steel girders that support the Tip O’Neill Tunnel.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports.

The Boston Globe says highway chief Frank DePaola extensively rewrote that report, omitting much of the cost of repairs and the threat of long-term damage to the tunnel’s structural integrity.

DePaola denies that he downplayed safety problems when he briefed the transportation board of directors on the engineer’s report.

“Myself and the reporter for the Globe have a different opinion as to whether there should be tone, whether it be alarming or De minimous, you know, technical paper like that. We condensed it down to the factual information,” DePaola told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

DePaola admits that repairing and plugging the leaks is very expensive, costing tens of millions of dollars.

“We’ve already spent $42M, we’re probably gonna spend another $100-110 million over the next five years,” said DePaola.

Despite the leaks, DePaola insists the tunnels are safe.

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