Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    The tunnel gusher of 2004 poured water into the O'Neill Tunnel at a rate of around 160 million gallons a year, through a break in one of the main slurry walls. It was soon patched, but other leaks around tunnel roofs and footings continued to drench Central Artery tunnels in corrosive saltwater.

    For 2006, following initial rounds of repairs, water pumped out of Central Artery tunnels measured about 16 million gallons. On July 24, 2011, Sean Murphy and Scott Allen reported current pumping of about 17 million gallons a year. Tunnel leaks are chronic, despite some $15 million a year spent on maintenance.

    The O'Neill Tunnel's complex slurry walls, steel pilings and box-beam roofs and floors are more at risk than the simpler structure of the Williams tunnel and its connector tunnel. The O'Neill tunnel is larger and was much more costly to build.

    Well known to engineers, a major cause is a risky, single-wall design used by Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, as documented by former Globe reporter Raphael Lewis. [ Big Dig began with a critical decision, December 19, 2004, at http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/12/19/big_dig_began_with_a_critical_decision?pg=full ]

    The O'Neill Tunnel has hundreds of thousands of potential leak points, most now buried under tens of feet of concrete, rock and earth. There was never a chance of adequate waterproofing. Now, salty water flows over and corrodes large parts of the structural steel.

     
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  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Irish-lad. Show Irish-lad's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    @ Greg ROTFLMAO! I gotta get me one of those!
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from brat13. Show brat13's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    In Response to Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?:
    [QUOTE]The tunnel gusher of 2004 poured water into the O'Neill Tunnel at a rate of around 160 million gallons a year, through a break in one of the main slurry walls. It was soon patched, but other leaks around tunnel roofs and footings continued to drench Central Artery tunnels in corrosive saltwater. For 2006, following initial rounds of repairs, water pumped out of Central Artery tunnels measured about 16 million gallons. On July 24, 2011, Sean Murphy and Scott Allen reported current pumping of about 17 million gallons a year. Tunnel leaks are chronic, despite some $15 million a year spent on maintenance. The O'Neill Tunnel's complex slurry walls, steel pilings and box-beam roofs and floors are more at risk than the simpler structure of the Williams tunnel and its connector tunnel. The O'Neill tunnel is larger and was much more costly to build. Well known to engineers, a major cause is a risky, single-wall design used by Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, as documented by former Globe reporter Raphael Lewis. [ Big Dig began with a critical decision, December 19, 2004, at http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/12/19/big_dig_began_with_a_critical_decision?pg=full ] The O'Neill Tunnel has hundreds of thousands of potential leak points, most now buried under tens of feet of concrete, rock and earth. There was never a chance of adequate waterproofing. Now, salty water flows over and corrodes large parts of the structural steel.
    Posted by AppDev[/QUOTE]
    Don't worry! Your Governor has given all involved a free pass in perpetuity! They built it and knew it was bad. We paid them BILLIONS and WE will be paying BILLIONS to fix it.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from topaz978. Show topaz978's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    Which of the eight or so govenors are you referring to?
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from brat13. Show brat13's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    In Response to Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?:
    [QUOTE]Which of the eight or so govenors are you referring to?
    Posted by topaz978[/QUOTE]
    The ONLY ONE that made an agreement that after paying us A FEW MILLION, they are not liable for the BILLIONS in repairs we already know about. You know. Deval Patrick!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Republican mismanagement produced the leaks

    The Democratic administration of former Gov. Dukakis proposed and secured intial funds for the Central Artery. All engineering design and construction for the Central Artery occurred under the Republican administrations of former Govs. Weld, Cellucci, Swift and Romney. The Democratic administration of Gov. Patrick has aligned some of the state's badly tangled management, but such changes were needed when the engineering work began, and the Weld administration failed to deliver them. We will be paying for that bungled management another 30 years.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from tomin03049. Show tomin03049's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?


    No. There are no politicians that want to say publicly how bad the conditions are with the tunnels and the amount of money it will take to correct them, if possible. Nothing will happen with the tunnels until there is a major breach, and one caves-in, and it will happen. Then the Fed's will take over because it will become a crime scene. Then and only then will we find out the truth about how bad the construction was on the tunnels. When that day comes it will become the worst day in Boston's/Massachusetts history!!!!
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from ricard33. Show ricard33's posts

    Re: Republican mismanagement produced the leaks

    In Response to Republican mismanagement produced the leaks:
    [QUOTE]The Democratic administration of former Gov. Dukakis proposed and secured intial funds for the Central Artery. All engineering design and construction for the Central Artery occurred under the Republican administrations of former Govs. Weld, Cellucci, Swift and Romney. The Democratic administration of Gov. Patrick has aligned some of the state's badly tangled management, but such changes were needed when the engineering work began, and the Weld administration failed to deliver them. We will be paying for that bungled management another 30 years.
    Posted by AppDev[/QUOTE]
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from ricard33. Show ricard33's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    mr.appdev,i enjoy reading your missives about the big swindle dig. it is apparent that you have your finger on the pulse of the entire history of the project;perhaps even more. i bet you have enough facts to write a weekly column about the whole mess. why not submit a proposal to this paper to write it and keep your identity anomyous. it would be great to read your remarks and it would do a great service to the average person as you are able to articulate the matter in a way that everyone can understand. you have packed more salient information into your last few posts than i have been able to distill in a long time.how about it? i bet the globe would even provide you with protection.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Money was the root of some evils

    Then and now, it was mostly about money. Without patient, hard work by Raphael Lewis, who was a State House reporter for the Globe in 2004, when he got wind of design problems at the Central Artery, only a handful of insiders would know what happened around 1991, when the incoming Weld administration confronted strategic issues with the project they inherited from the outgoing Dukakis administration.

    The Dukakis team led by Fred Salvucci had developed the concepts. They had secured partial federal funding by calling on political skills of former House speaker Tip O'Neill of Cambridge and former Sen. Ted Kennedy. They had selected Bechtel, the prime contractor, and Parsons Brinckerhoff, its design partner. They had done preliminary designs and estimates, increasing the probable cost from about $2 billion to over $5 billion.

    Then the Republican candidate for governor, William F. Weld, a former federal prosecutor who helped demolish the New England mafia, defeated Democratic candidate John Silber, the garrulous and polarizing former president of Boston University. Mr. Weld derided state workers as "walruses" and took an almost casual interest in state government, professing faith in "the private sector."

    The Massachusetts highway department lacked the personnel and expertise to oversee such a complex project. However, rather than hire expertise or contract with an independent firm, in a series of contract amendments the Weld administration delegated most oversight responsibilities to Bechtel and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Thus the designers and builders also became, in practice, the clerks of the works.

    As Mr. Lewis, the former Globe reporter, discovered, early in the Weld administration, Parsons Brinckerhoff found that the boundaries of state-owned land under the 1950s Fitzgerald Expressway were too limited for an 8-lane tunnel with well-proven, double-wall construction. The state would need to purchase easements under adjacent properties and would probably need to reinforce and support adjacent foundations of many buildings.

    One alternative was a 6-lane tunnel, but that would provide no more capacity than the old expressway. Instead, Parsons Brinckerhoff proposed a single-wall design, claiming they and Bechtel had the expertise to make it work. The Weld administration did not get an independent engineering review. If they had done that, they might well have found out that the design would be very risky, but they signed off without knowing. It would save money.

    Between its walls, the O'Neill Tunnel is penetrated by steel pilings, driven from the surface. They support the roadway decks and tunnel roofs, hung on them with brackets. That design left thousands of large penetrations and hundreds of thousands of small ones. All needed to be thoroughly sealed to prevent percolation of salty, corrosive groundwater, with much effort performed in cramped, underground recesses.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from markk02474. Show markk02474's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    AppDev, great summary. Would it have been possible to have some lanes below ground and some above? Much of the funding scheme touted some use for land used by the old expressway. However, I don't see much value gotten from the land, though Ted Kennedy must have liked the park for his mum. Couldn't we have had some more roadway above ground?
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Project changes: riot in the tunnel

    According to Fred Salvucci, chief organizer for the Central Artery Project and Massachusetts Transportation secretary, 1975-1979 and 1983-1991, the idea of replacing the former, mostly elevated Fitzgerald Expressway through downtown Boston with a highway tunnel started at a meeting with a road contractor in 1971, while Mr. Salvucci was a transportation adviser to former Boston mayor Kevin White. The essence of the idea was to get rid of an above-ground roadway, so there is little likelihood and no evidence that putting only part of that roadway underground was ever considered.

    Key problems with the Central Artery project from the beginning stemmed from lack of thorough, realistic preparation. Although Mr. Salvucci is a civil engineer by training, he has spent his career in government administration, research and planning--never taking on engineering responsibility in a construction project. Although his planning efforts began in 1983, the Central Artery project was never accurately scoped before final design and construction activities started, soon after federal funds were earmarked by Congress in 1987. The initial schedule of 1989 called for completion in 1998. The project was not completed until 2007.

    If the project had been accurately scoped, preliminary engineering designs would have been drawn up, the subsoil and terrain would have been thoroughly sampled and surveyed, and records of land ownership, easements and utility locations would have been carefully explored-- checking compatibility with designs. There was an entirely adequate period of at least four years to scope the project accurately, but it did not happen. As a result, the first several years of final design and construction turned into a riot in the O'Neill Tunnel--one "surprise" after another--while project schedules and cost estimates were repeatedly blown away.

    The original "Scheme Z" interchange design, at the north end of the O'Neill Tunnel, provoked strong protests and environmental lawsuits--four years of delay and expensive redesign. Late awareness of publicly owned rights of way informed the critical decision to build a single-wall tunnel, producing a host of problems. In several places, subsoil turned out to be unstable. Slurry walls had to be wider and go deeper than preliminary plans, making them more expensive. Underground utilities were "discovered," one by one.

    Emergency efforts to solve the problems careened the project schedule and ballooned the costs. In trying to compensate, several features of the project were knocked out between 1988 and 1998, including ten lanes in the O'Neill Tunnel (cut to eight), interchange ramps at Storrow Drive, a rail connection between North Station and South Station, an eastbound Turnpike entrance near Copley Square, rounded tunnel railings (rather than square cut) and cast attachments for accessories (epoxied anchor bolts instead). The cutbacks made a less serviceable end-product, and some of the changes--sharp-edged railings and unreliable anchor bolts--contributed to fatal accidents soon after roadways opened.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Heisinberg. Show Heisinberg's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    Bridges are falling down all around us and they just found a hole under I-90. This state is in need of major repair.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from joetheengineer. Show joetheengineer's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    AppDev,

    An interesting story but many of your facts are blatantly incorrect.

    Bechtel didn't design nor build any of the project.  They did the environmental permitting and developed the project standards which wasn't finalized until the Zakim bridge was selected over Scheme Z in 1995.  With the final permitting complete designs could be completed for the project and the first real budget was developed in 1996 at $10B.

    Bectel also managed the 30 plus final design contracts for the state as well as managed the 140 + construction contracts for the state.  All of the contracts were procured under existing Mass procurement laws.

    You are correct that the O'Neil Tunnel was a compromised design in that the only way to get the required number of travel lanes was to use the slurry walls as the structural walls of the tunnel.  There are over 70 lane miles of Tunnel comprising the O'Neil tunnel and the combined total water infiltration is approximately equivalent to 3 garden hoses running full.  These tunnels are some of the driest tunnels in the world, that being said as any complex facility they require constant maintenance and they will need an invest at least 2% of its asset value ($9B) or $180M on average to maintain this complex system of tunnel, ramps, bridges, power substations, ventilation bldgs etc.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from miscricket. Show miscricket's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    I think there are bigger problems than the tunnel leak as far as the big dig goes. The engineers on the project are..for sure..batting a thousand. Especially with the lates news that a sinkhole has been found 4 feet wide..200 feet long. Estimated repair bill for thet? 15 million. I avoid those tunnels as much as possible. I just don't believe any assurances that come from the officials on this.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Bechtel paid $hundreds of millions for tunnel leaks

    In recent years, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff (B/PB), the prime contractors, managers and designers for the Central Artery Project, have tried to claim that the leaking tunnels are really "dry" when it is obvious they are not. Their main tactic has been to move the goalposts, using exaggerated "standards" for leakage that greatly exceed the expectations when project designs were underway in the late 1980s.

    The growth in this Pinocchio's nose can be understood through a 2008 environment impact review by the state, focused on the Williams Tunnel. [ Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs, September 5, 2008, at http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/pdffiles/certificates/090508/4325npc.pdf ]

    Then-Secretary Ian Bowles wrote, "The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement submitted to MEPA in November, 1990, and supporting plans and studies, included an assumption that wastewater would be generated primarily from tunnel washing, tunnel rinsing and firefighting operations with negligible amounts from stormwater, groundwater and seepage.... The discharge of significant volumes of groundwater and stormwater to the sanitary sewer system violates the project's Sewer Use Discharge Permits issued by the MWRA. These permits prohibit the discharge of groundwater and stormwater to its system."

    On the advice of B/PB, the Central Artery/Tunnel Project team, then operating in the state's Department of Transportation, expected that Central Artery tunnels would be almost completely dry, except for maintenance operations to wash the walls and roadways. For the Williams tunnel, Dr. Bowles wrote, the permit application anticipated "a total of 3,620,000 gallons per year," almost all from tunnel washing. Instead, "total flows for 2007 [were] 25,409,201 gallons."

    The culpability of B/PB, now being brushed off in publicity, is quite clear from a 2008 news release by the U.S. Department of Justice. [ at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2008/January/08_crt_048.html ] In it, the Justice Department describes a settlement in which B/PB "Agree to Pay $458 Million to Settle Federal & State Claims." B/PB paid "$335 million to a state warranty fund for future repairs to the Central Artery Tunnel."

    Claims settled in 2008 include "(1) the construction of slurry wall panels in the I-93 tunnel, (2) the installation and monitoring of the epoxy ceiling bolts in the suspended ceiling of the I-90 Connector tunnel, (3) claims for payment by contractors on time and material contract modifications, and (4) oversight of the concrete delivered to the slurry wall construction by a large concrete supplier." Items (1), (3) and (4) have all been major contributing causes of the chronic tunnel leaks.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from KittyDuke. Show KittyDuke's posts

    Re: Can Mass. fix tunnel leaks?

    Blow it up and $tart all over.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from AppDev. Show AppDev's posts

    Stopping leaks by shooting leakers

    Massachusetts residents have known since March, 2001, that former Gov. Weld, former Gov. Cellucci and members of their administrations hid the true cost of the Central Artery Project. [ Massachusetts Inspector General, A history of Central Artery/Tunnel Project finances 1994-2001, at http://www.mass.gov/ig/publ/cat01rpt.pdf ]

    Robert A. Cerasoli, the state's inspector general from August, 1991, to June, 2001, wrote:

    "In 1994, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff (B/PB) provided the governor [Weld] and state officials with a Big Dig cost estimate of almost $14 billion, a figure uncannily close to the [2001] $14.1 billion estimate. B/PB's $14 billion estimate in 1994 starkly contradicted the $8 billion estimate (more exactly $7.998 billion) offered publicly by Big Dig officials at that time. After B/PB presented its $14 billion estimate in 1994, state managers directed state and B/PB staff to undertake a cooperative effort to maintain the fiction of an 'on-time' and 'on-budget' $8 billion project.

    "Bechtel Corporation's president and a senior partner flew to Boston in December, 1994, to inform...governor [Weld] and his senior advisors about B/PB's real cost forecast.... The lieutenant governor in 1994 [Cellucci] served as the head of the administration's Big Dig oversight task force when B/PB disclosed the $14 billion estimate.... B/PB officials [later] disclosed to local FHWA officials all budget assumptions that Big Dig officials had used to shrink its Big Dig cost estimate from $14 billion to $8 billion."

    The response from former Republican Govs. Weld and Cellucci and their staff was to shoot the messengers. Aside from beginning an elaborate scheme of concealment, conspiring with federal highway officials, and deceiving the public and the investors in state bonds, they got Theodore G. Weigle, Jr., the Bechtel project manager in 1994, removed and later tried, unsuccessfully, to zero the budget for the state's inspector general.

    By keeping quiet about state-organized deception, having disclosed critical elements to the Federal Highway Administration, after 1994 B/PB was in a position to blackmail Weld and Cellucci. However, as the Globe has documented, people associated with B/PB gave campaign contributions to Weld and other state officeholders. [ Raphael Lewis and Sean P. Murphy, Lobbying translates into clout, Boston Globe, May 28, 2003, at http://www.boston.com/news/specials/bechtel/part_3/ ]

    Mr. Cerasoli and chief investigator Gregory W. Sullivan described "files...missing, computer hard drives destroyed." In the end, the Bechtel forecast of 1994 came close to the final cost in 2007, when the project was declared complete. State leverage to police the quality of work on the project was blown away.


     

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