By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Another day, another terrible traffic jam for drivers trying to make it through the heart of Downtown Boston. Since it opened in 2003, the O’Neill Tunnel has suffered a litany of woes, including leaks and corroded light fixtures. But one problem appears to be chronic: a roadway design that has turned out to be a fertile breeding ground for traffic-clogging accidents.

It is not uncommon for people to be driving slightly too fast or too close to the car in front of them in the O’Neill Tunnel.

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That appears to be what happened Wednesday morning inside the tunnel, a common scene in a multi-billion dollar facility that has long been a traffic safety nightmare.

A review of accident data a few years after the O’Neill Tunnel opened found there were 22 times more accidents there than in the Callahan and Sumner tunnels combined. And in the years since, the Tip has remained an accident factory.

Kevin Minehan’s truck was clipped a few hours after Wednesday morning’s pileup; now he has a flat tire.

Crash involving several cars in O'Neill Tunnel in Boston. (Image from MassDOT)

Crash involving several cars in O’Neill Tunnel in Boston. (Image from MassDOT)

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Drivers make split-second decisions about which lane to be in, a problem caused by confusing signs and exits that come up too fast.

“I have trouble navigating the exits, it comes on and off so quick. I see people having trouble too, they don’t know whether to go south or north and the merge is very difficult,” said Bob McHugh of Norwood.

The state’s top transportation officials said they’ve tried to clean up the mess upgrading signage and lighting, but it seems the Big Dig’s troubled legacy just keeps on giving.

Secretary Frank DePaola said they’re thinking of putting rumble strips at the entrances to the tunnel to slow down speeders, but they don’t want to lower the speed limit below the current 45 miles per hour for fear of creating the sort of backups the project was supposed to eliminate in the first place.

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Jon Keller