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Road to Tragedy -- A history of Big Dig troubles
Big Dig leaking tunnels

Artery tunnel springs leak

Water gushed into the Central Artery's northbound tunnel for hours from a small breach in the eastern wall, backing up afternoon rush-hour traffic for miles. (Boston Globe, 9/16/04)
Big Dig found riddled with leaks
Engineers investigating the cause of the massive Big Dig tunnel leak discovered the project is riddled with hundreds of fissures pouring millions of gallons of water into the tunnel system. (Boston Globe, 11/10/04)
 List of tunnel troubles grows (Boston Globe, 11/17/04)
Use of slurry walls may have spawned leaks
Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff's decision to use a pair of massive slurry walls as a lone barrier in the Big Dig project may have led to the hundreds of cracks in the tunnel walls. (Boston Globe, 12/19/04)
On Sept. 15, 2004, water spewed through fissures in the Central Artery tunnel.
On Sept. 15, 2004, water spewed through fissures in the Central Artery tunnel. (Evan Richman / Globe Staff Photo)
Leakage in Big Dig tunnel rises
Almost three years after state managers vowed to close thousands of leaks in the Big Dig tunnels, nearly 2 million gallons of water flow each month through the O'Neill Tunnel, an 18 percent increase over last year, a Globe analysis shows. (Boston Globe, 7/1/07)
Leaks still plague tunnel
Water is still leaking steadily into the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel with no signs of abating and continued uncertainty about where it is all coming from, according to a new state analysis, which flatly contradicts Massachusetts Turnpike Authority officials' claim that they have the problem under control. ()
Big Dig ceiling collapse

Mass. crisis of confidence

With a Big Dig flaw now responsible for a death, state officials rushed to contain an unprecedented crisis of public confidence in the project. (Boston Globe, 7/12/06)
Workmanship and design are called into question
Investigators should focus on some basic, troubling questions about the way the tunnel ceiling was built, civil engineers and highway construction specialists said. (Boston Globe, 7/12/06)
Concrete falls, and a couple's joy is destroyed
Angel Del Valle was driving through the Interstate 90 connector at about 10:45 Monday night, his wife, Milena, at his side, to pick up his brother at Logan International Airport. Suddenly, in front of him, the ceiling began to give way. (Boston Globe, 7/12/06)
Photo Gallery Photos Pop-up SLIDESHOW: Boston reacts
Pop-up GLOBE INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: The faulty bolt system Pop-up AP INTERACTIVE: Big Dig Dirt
Officials and crews worked at the scene of the accident at the Mass. Pike connector tunnel on Tuesday, July 11.
Officials and crews worked at the scene of the accident at the Mass. Pike connector tunnel on Tuesday, July 11. (Globe Staff Photo / Pat Greenhouse)
Big Dig cost overruns

Artery errors cost more than $1b

A yearlong Globe investigation determined that at least $1.1 billion in Big Dig construction cost overruns, or two-thirds of the cost growth to date, are tied to Bechtel mistakes. (4/28/03)
Cost-recovery efforts have been nearly a lost cause
State officials routinely overlooked or excused Bechtel's errors in the construction of the Big Dig, a Globe investigation found. (2/11/03)
Lobbying translates into clout
Bechtel has cemented bonds with policymakers to protect profits and deflect criticism. (5/29/03)
The Central Artery.
The Central Artery. (David L. Ryan / Globe Staff Photo)
Big Dig midpoint issues

Rising scrutiny, soaring costs
cloud fortunes of the Big Dig

Roughly halfway through the 20-year endeavor known as The Big Dig, there are still miles -- expensive miles -- to go. (Boston Globe, 9/11/94)
Project poses a test for privatization
Officials and industry sources say Bechtel has instilled a chilling effect over a project in which some believe it has a conflict of interest (Boston Globe, 9/12/94)
Commitments to foes raise Artery price tag
Hundreds of expensive promises were made to buy support from opponents. (Boston Globe, 9/13/94)

(Globe Staff File Photo / Lane Turner)
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RECENT Big Dig woes
2003
January: Matthew Amorello, chairman and chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, hires retired probate court judge Edward M. Ginsburg to lead the agency's cost-recovery efforts.

2004
January: Icy road conditions inside the northbound tunnel of Interstate 93 force the closing of one lane, and traffic backs up into Milton.
March: On evidence obtained from Ginsburg's team, the state sues Bechtel Corp. and Parsons Brinckerhoff for $146 million, alleging the firms made inaccurate cost estimates in public, to continue lucrative contracts.
September: Water gushes into the Central Artery's northbound tunnel for hours, backing up afternoon rush-hour traffic for miles.
Nov. 11: A report says engineers discovered that the project is riddled with hundreds of leaks and that Bechtel managers were aware that the wall was deficient from the moment it was built in the late 1990s, yet did not order it replaced and did not inform state officials of the situation.
Nov. 12: Governor Mitt Romney calls on Amorello to resign.

2005
Jan. 13: Amorello announces an agreement with Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly to turn over cost-recovery responsibilities.
Jan. 25: Romney again asks Amorello to step down, when a new report on Big Dig managers accuses them of impeding the investigation into tunnel leaks.
March: Chunks of melting snow and ice fall from the cables of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge and force the temporary closing of four traffic lanes on I-93.
April 4: A Federal Highway Administration report says that tunnels are safe, but that the state must develop an aggressive tunnel-inspection program.
April 5: A day after the FHA declares the tunnels safe, rocks and other debris rain down from an overhead vent in the I-93 southbound tunnel and damage five vehicles.
May 26: Big Dig officials say two leaks have been spewing 20 to 30 gallons of water a minute into the Fort Point Channel section of the Interstate 90 tunnel since last winter.
July: An inspection finds a 1,500-foot stretch of the tunnel near the North End to be the most problem-plagued area of the project, with weaknesses in the tunnel walls that exceed those in the section of tunnel that had a gushing leak in 2004.
December: The Globe discloses that Amorello interviewed in the fall for a top position to manage all construction at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but was passed over for another candidate.

2006
February: The attorney general's office demands $108 million in refunds from Big Dig contractors. The demand was made in a Feb. 7 letter to the lawyer representing Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the private sector manager of the project, and the two- dozen smaller design firms supervised by the consortium.
May: Six managers from Aggregate Industries NE Inc. are indicted on charges of running a conspiracy that delivered 5,000 truckloads of tainted concrete, 1.2 percent of the concrete used on the Big Dig over nine years.
July 10: A 2 1/2- to 3-ton concrete ceiling panel in the I-90 connector tunnel falls, killing a woman.
July 12: Inspectors find at least 60 faulty bolt fixtures in the ceiling of the tunnel. The attorney general says tests conducted in 1999 showed that the ceiling bolts had a tendency to come loose.
July 13: Romney announces he is filing emergency legislation to give him control of inspections in the highway tunnel network, as well as the final decision on reopening the tunnel.

SOURCE: Boston Globe archives
Kathleen Hennrikus/Globe Staff