BOSTON (CBS) – The state highway administrator says it will cost $54 million to replace all the defective light fixtures in the Big Dig tunnels.

Design and manufacturing defects have created a dangerous corrosion that could cause the 8-foot long lights to fall onto traffic below.

Frank DePaola told WBZ NewsRadio Thursday the best solution is a complete replacement.

“There’s 25,000 individual light fixtures. Every one of them will be replaced with a new, sealed plastic, LED fixture. We anticipate the total replacement cost would be $54 million,” he said.

“We anticipate being able to use the money that was in the Central Artery Trust Fund, which was recovered as a settlement for defects on the original construction.”

One light fixture fell onto the road in the Tip O’Neill Tunnel in February 2011.

Since then, engineers have temporarily reinforced the light fixtures with plastic ties.

The state hired an independent consultant to look at the lights in the entire 7.5 mile tunnel system and explore alternative technologies. That report was finished last month and with it came the recommendation on what to do with the lights.

DePaola said the work will likely begin sometime next year and will probably take a full year to complete.

Officials believe the new energy-efficient LED lights could save $2.5 million a year in electricity costs.

Comments (10)
  1. Rob Cleary says:

    So in reality it will cost the taxpayers 540 million. At approx 1 am this morning there were a minimum of ten State Troopers sound asleep in the Northbound Williams Tunnel. Where’s Marsha?

  2. rjs22 says:

    Are you kidding me, 54,000,000/25,000 lights is 2,160/each? What could the light cost? $400? You’re not running new wiring or conduit, it should be just a swap out, being able to do a hand full per hour. Even with Union labor that is a ridiculous cost per light! This should be half the cost, at most!

    1. rjs22 says:

      And before I get criticized i understand you have to pay for police details and 3-4 laborers to stand around with their thumbs up their behinds. Oh and of course “safe” disposal of the existing fixtures. Rip-off.

  3. Bobbie Casey` says:

    I just don’t understand it. these Big Dig Failures have been going on for years! If I was in charge, I’d have made the Designers rediign and the Manufacturers reproduce, these lights and fistures at there cost, then install them themselves. That would be true juustice!!!

  4. web says:

    Was there an entry in the original budget for future replacement/repair costs? There should have been. Where did that go…the overruns?

  5. Willow says:

    How come no one went to jail for this corruption? That’s exactly what the big dig is about, corrupt people doing substandard work, and pocketing plenty of taxpayer’s money. Someone is to blame for this mess and should be in jail where they belong, and ordered to pay back all the pocket money.

    1. Italo says:

      Perhaps Mitt Romney, who oversaw the job’s “completion” during his governor term here, an accomplishment that he seemed to enjoy, at the time anyway, attaching to himself and his political image? Yeah, right.

  6. emom says:

    25,000 light fixtures,, really,,,,, its not as if the sun is in the tunnels…. OVER RUNS, MORE LIKE OVER DOING IT….. someone got a huge kick back from all this… some guy got a HUGE bonus.. Why are we not demanding that the people that installed these lights, Fix them for FREE… I MEAN IT… If I hired a bunch of contractors to work on my home and at some point something didn’t work and broke , fell, cracked, I would so be calling them up to come back and fix it.. otherwise a lawyer would be involved,, This is outrageous,,, And the one that shall be nameless,,, ( AND BOOTED OUT OF OFFICE) SHOULD TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH PROBLEMS… No instead this guy makes every person of the commonwealth pay for their mistake, there problems, there errors,,, WHY,,,, WHY US UT OUR PROBLEM… we didn’t ask for a new tunnel, we didn’t ask for it to cost what it did, we didn’t even have a choice of contractors if we had we would have demanded liability clauses. if something broke, fell, cracked, broke, failed, or cost far more than it was proposed then that contractor would absorb such costs, not the people of the state…. We need to stop this ,, Its not ,my fault this state is so messed up,, its the GREEDY GOLD DIGGING FOOLS THAT HAVENT A clue on how to handle such issues or live with out taking whats not their…..
    HOLD THEM ALL ACCOUNTABLE FOR WHAT THEY SAY,WHAT THEY DO AND PAY THEM FOR WHAT THEY DO AND HOW WELL THEY DO IT.. currently their salaries do not match what they are worth…because every one up on the hill is worthless at this point,, doing nothing to protect the people and abusing the privileges of their jobs… why should we pay for this costly mistake…. WHY

  7. Rob Cleary says:

    Maybe it will come in under budget?

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