Saturday, 2:15 PM
With two final settlements, Big Dig tunnel litigation ends
By Globe Staff
The Massachusetts attorney general's office has reached two more settlements with companies involved in building the Big Dig tunnel that collapsed in July 2006 and killed a Jamaica Plain woman. The settlements mark the end of the state's legal campaign against the companies who worked on the Big Dig, officials said.
Attorney General Martha Coakley, announcing the settlements with Gannett Fleming Inc. and Sika Corp., said she wanted to resolve all the matters relating to the collapse in "a manner that was fair and just for the Commonwealth, and for the loved ones of [tunnel collapse victim] Milena Del Valle who so tragically lost her life almost three years ago. We believe that we have achieved that goal."
She said the resolutions with the companies held those responsible accountable, ensured that similar problems will be prevented, and provided the state with money to maintain the tunnels and other transportation infrastructure in the future.
Gannett Fleming, which designed the section of the I-90 Connector Tunnel ceiling that collapsed, agreed to pay a total of $1.575 million to the state and the city of Boston and to forgo $150,000 in payments from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Sika, which made the glue used in the ceiling, agreed to pay $200,000 to the state.
Gannett Fleming issued a statement saying it was pleased to have reached an agreement with the state.
"While this settlement brings to a close the investigation and litigation that arose from the accident that took the life of Milena Del Valle, we remain deeply saddened by the tragic loss," the statement said. "We are working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to educate the engineering and construction community about the need for regular and periodic inspections of adhesive anchors in tension."
A message left for a Siko spokesperson wasn't immediately returned.
The attorney general's office dismissed claims against Sigma Engineering International Inc. and Conam Inc., saying the companies were not liable in the ceiling collapse.
Attorney general's spokeswoman Emily LaGrassa said the final two settlements marked the end of a litigation campaign against Big Dig companies that had resulted in $610.625 million in recoveries by the state, both for the ceiling collapse and a variety of other problems, including wall leaks, adulterated cement, and design errors.