The Boston Globe is reporting that Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is expected to announce the indictment this afternoon of one of the companies involved with last summer’s Boston Big Dig tunnel collapse that killed a 38-year-old woman when the car she was riding in was crushed by falling ceiling panels.
Powers Fasteners Inc., a company involved in the construction of the I-90 Connector Tunnel, is expected to be indicted for criminal charges in the death of the Milena Del Valle.
Powers Fasteners provided the epoxy used to secure the ceiling tile bolts in the tunnel’s roof.
Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board said while the project’s design was reasonable, it was the epoxy used in the design that was in question. The lack of a timely tunnel inspection program by the state authority overseeing the project was also an important factor.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of the July 10, 2006 ceiling collapse in the D Street portal of the Interstate 90 connector tunnel in Boston was the use of an epoxy anchor adhesive with poor creep resistance – the epoxy formulation was not capable of sustaining long-term loads. The report released after the hours-long hearing last month said over time the epoxy deformed and fractured until several ceiling support anchors pulled free and allowed a portion of the ceiling to collapse. The use of the inappropriate epoxy formulation resulted from the failure of the contractors to identify potential creep in the anchor adhesive as a critical long-term failure mode and to account for possible anchor creep in the design, specifications and approval process for the epoxy anchors used in the tunnel.
Bruce Magladry, director of the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety said the epoxy used for the ceiling panels had “exceptionally poor” resistance to such creeping
We’ll bring you more information as it becomes available.