Here's another wrench to add into the problems with Boston's Big Dig. With bolts being replaced throughout the project and testing continuing throughout the infrastructure, you'd think everything would be done with safety being the main factor. Or is it?
A report in today's Boston Globe says a former project manager for one of the project's main contractors has cautioned state officials that the recent "safety tests on the epoxy bolts upholding the concrete ceiling panels in the Ted Williams Tunnel may have gamaged their long-term integrity."
That's just great.
It was faulty bolt and epoxy assemblies that lead to a death more than a month ago, and now we are being warned that all the testing being done to ensure a catastrophe like this doesn't happen again, could possible be doing just the opposite?
The Globe article quotes a memo sent on Aug. 2 by Keith S. Sibley of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff that says recent tests by state inspectors have used 8,500 pounds of presssure to check the strength of the panels, much more than the load they were designed to support.
The memo, which was sent to Mass Turnpike Authority Project Director Michael Lewis that the state should "consider whether such high-load tests should be categorized as destructive testing, potentionally requiring replacement of the anchor."
He also says the Authority should review the load with the epoxy manufacturer to "determine its impacts on long-term performance."
So now what? It's been more than a month since someone died, more than a month since testing and the investigation has been in full swing and now it appears the Big Dig is in the same precarious situation it was before July 10 - the only difference this time? We all know about it and nothing will come as a surprise.