Thursday, 4:30 PM
Tunnel closed indefinitely, Turnpike vows to inspect all infrastructure
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority chairman Matthew J. Amorello stood with engineers at a press conference today and said that the Interstate 90 connector tunnel that partially collapsed Monday would remain closed indefinitely while investigators try to determine what went wrong.
"I can't give you a timeline," said Amorello, adding that crews are in the process of removing all of the three-ton ceiling panels from the 200-foot tunnel where 38-year-old Milena Del Valle died.
"The removing of those panels is taking time because this is a crime scene investigation," Amorello said.
Transportation crews plan to inspect all highway infrastructure in metropolitan Boston inside Route 128, Amorello said. That includes the Sumner, Callahan, and Ted Williams tunnels, the Zakim Bridge, and the tunnels on the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Southeast Expressway.
Inspectors have already found 60 more problem areas in the eastbound lanes of the connector, which links the Massachusetts Turnpike with the Ted Williams Tunnel. Crews are still checking the westbound lanes.
"My commitment is to make sure this does not happen again,” Amorello said.
The other tunnels in the Turnpike Authority system used a different method of securing the ceiling tiles, anchoring the slabs to a metal rail.
The tiles help facilitate air flow in the tunnels, and officials said that the connector tunnel will be able to operate properly after the panels are removed.
Amorello again rebuffed calls for his resignation. Both Governor Mitt Romney and Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly have called for Amorello to step down.