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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com Boston Globe Online / Easy Pass

Judge rejects effort to keep big dig records secret

By Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff, 4/11/2003

   
 THE SERIES

PART ONE
Bechtel's mistakes drive up cost overruns, and company profits.

Graphics
Bechtel's fee overruns
Map of major conflicts
History of the contract
Contract modifications
Cross section of roadway
Construction cost overruns


PART TWO
State officials overlook and excuse Bechtel's mistakes for a decade.

Graphic
Cost recoveries initiated


PART THREE
Powerfull allies help protect Bechtel and its bottom line.

 FOLLOW-UPS

This series has generated strong response from the state, the public, and Globe columnists.
More Globe coverage

 GLOBE DEFENSE OF SERIES

On Feb. 20, 2003, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff issued a document disputing the findings of the "Easy Pass" series. Globe editor Martin Baron responded with a defense of the Globe's reporting.
Read Bechtel's statement
Read the Globe's statement

 PHOTO GALLERY

Building a reputation
Bechtel has never shied away from big construction projects, but worldwide achievements are accompanied by controversy.
See past Bechtel projects

 FROM THE ARCHIVES

2001
Review cites flaws at Big Dig
Cerasoli charges Big Dig coverup
$1.4b overrun known in '99
Firm rejects call to offset costs
'99 memos warned of tunnel leaks

2002
Officials disclose more defects
Lawsuit raises Big Dig questions
State to reopen deal with Bechtel
Big Dig hires quality manager
US knew of hidden expenses
Big Dig overrun just plain big
SEC probers to target Big Dig
Big Dig review to target overruns
Turnpike, firm set deal on leak cost

2003
Contracts to be reviewed

 RELATED LINKS

Central Artery/Tunnel Project
www.bigdig.com

Bechtel
www.bechtel.com

Parsons Brinckerhoff
www.pbworld.com

State Inspector General reports
On the history of the Central Artery/Tunnel project's finances:
www.state.ma.us/ig/publ/cat01ex.htm
On the Central Artery/Tunnel project's attempts to recover money for mistakes:
www.state.ma.us/ig/publ/catcrex.htm

About "Scheme Z" bridge design
libraries.mit.edu/rotch/artery/

State oversight of the Big Dig
www.state.ma.us/catocc/

Mass. Turnpike Authority
www.massturnpike.com

The Artery Business Committee
www.arterybusiness.com

 ONLINE CHAT

On February 11, 2003, Globe reporter Raphael Lewis chatted with Boston.com readers about the Bechtel series.
Transcript of chat

 CONTACT THE GLOBE

Any tips? Let us know.
Phone: 617-929-3379
E-mail: bigdigtips@globe.com

 MORE BOSTON.COM COVERAGE


Beyond the Big Dig   What happens to the ribbon of land being created by the depression of the Central Artery? A joint effort between The Boston Globe, MIT, and WCVB-TV explores.
A special report


Progress updates on the Big Dig. Info
 


A state court judge, citing an "immense" public interest in scrutinizing the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to the Big Dig's private sector managers, yesterday rejected the manager's request for a court order keeping billing records secret.

Yet release of the records was delayed as lawyers involved in the case said Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff indicated that it may appeal the ruling before the State Appeals Court today.

If an appeal fails, then piles of federal financial audits of Bech tel/Parsons will be released late this afternoon by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which oversees the Big Dig.

Superior Court Judge Allen van Gestel, after hearing arguments on state public records law, issued a ruling denying Bechtel/Parsons an immediate order keeping the records out of public view.

Van Gestel pointed out that the records are sought by the state Senate's Post Audit Committee, which last week conducted two days of hearings into Bechtel/Parsons' performance on the Big Dig. The hearings were the first step in the state's promise to get whatever refund may be due the state from Bechtel/Parsons for mistakes.

"The public interest is immense," van Gestel wrote. "A committee of the Legislature is seeking the documents in its oversight capacity. "

After citing the $14.625 billion project as "one of the largest public works projects ever undertaken," van Gestel noted that, under Bechtel/Parsons's management, the project is "billions of dollars over budget."

The firm declined comment yesterday.

This story ran on page B5 of the Boston Globe on 4/11/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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