Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation John Cogliano took over last week as chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, overseeing the agency while a 90-day safety review is conducted by an independent firm of the Central Artery/Harbor Tunnel, following a fatal collapse of concrete slabs in the ceiling on July 10.
The firm of Wiss, Janney, Eistner Associates of Northbrook, Ill., was selected to conduct the review, according to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The objective, he said, is "to assess the project's systems in sufficient detail to express a reliable opinion as to their safety."
Assisting the engineering firm will be a five-member advisory panel, and Massachusetts Environmental Affairs Secretary Stephen Pritchard, who has vacated that job to manage the safety review.
Although the tunnel was constructed under the management of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the state legislature on July 14 passed legislation allocating $20 million for Gov. Romney to conduct the investigation of the fatal accident.
Meanwhile, Cogliano, the Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation, presided over the first meeting last week of the newly reconstituted board of directors of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, replacing Matthew Amorello, who resigned under pressure from the governor. At that meeting, Gov. Romney urged board members to "Endeavor to be more open, more forthcoming than any other agency in the Commonwealth." He said, "Today the Turnpike becomes the road to reform."
Following his remarks, the Turnpike board passed a series of measures to prevent nepotism, and end toll-free use of the Turnpike by board members and managers which costs the state some $1.4 million a year. The board also authorized the executive search firm Korn/Ferry International to begin a search for a new day-to-day manager of the Turnpike.