The four-year-old $14.8 billion Big Dig in Boston is up to its old tricks of behaving like a 70-year-old tunnel. The problem this time around are leaks, which are up 18% over last year after Massachusetts officials pledged to reduce them to a trickle, according to the Boston Globe. Every months, the Big Dig pumps out 2 million gallons of water. In late 2004, the Globe reported that Bechtel officials said the leaks were "normal" and would take a few months to fix. The Globe’s story yesterday shows a partially flooded roadway in the tunnel whose 6-8 lanes wend there way under downtown Boston for about two miles. The leaks relevation comes just after lawyers for the family of the late Milena Del Valle rejected a settlement offer from a mediator representing 15 companies that design, managed and built the Big Dig, the largest highway project ever in U.S. Riding as a passenger, Del Valle was crushed by a suspended concrete ceiling panel that fell on car on the evening of July 10 last year. The project’s main contractor is Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff.
As for the leaks, they’ve been reduced from 3,500 to 800 since 2004, but in some cases, the grout patches keep re-opening. It’s amazing they can’t get this given that the project was projected to cost $2.85 billion in 1985.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.