Big Dig roof collapses

News The Boston Globe July 11, 2006
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A portion of the ceiling in the tunnel connecting I-93 north to the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston collapsed Monday night, cascading debris onto a passing car and killing a female passenger, authorities said Tuesday morning.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene but her husband managed to crawl out of the car, said state officials, who would not release their names. The man was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, The Boston Globe reported.

The ceiling collapsed at about 11 p.m. and immediately led to the shutdown of the tunnel by State Police, The Boston Globe reported.

The tunnel system is a part of the Big Dig construction project overseen by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

State Police said the tunnel was shut down to give engineers time to study the extent of the damage to the ceiling and to the roadway.

The Ted Williams Tunnel eastbound and the eastbound section of I-90 east of I-93
was closed for the morning commute.

This collapse is the latest in a series of problems for tunnels involved in the $14 billion Big Dig project, according to The Boston Globe.

In April 2005, one day after federal officials declared the Big Dig's tunnels safe, rocks and other debris fell from an overhead vent in the I-93 southbound tunnel in downtown Boston and damaged at least five vehicles, including an ambulance transporting a patient, the newspaper reported.

The debris, which witnesses described as ranging in size from pebbles to rocks smaller than a golf ball, fell near the Purchase Street exit.

In May, prosecutors charged six current and former employees of a concrete supplier with fraud for allegedly concealing that some concrete delivered to the Big Dig was not freshly mixed, The Boston Globe reported. State and federal officials said that long-term maintenance, not immediate safety, was the likely impact.

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