According to a Federal Highway Administration report released yesterday, The Big Dig’s tunnels are structurally sound. So that should give everyone peace of mind, right? Well, not so fast. A funny thing happened on the way to declaring the tunnels safe. It seems that we are supposed to ignore the water in the tunnels and the too numerous to count leaks.
All told, 60 weak spots have been discovered in the tunnels’ 3-foot-thick slurry walls, two of them requiring major repair work, and there are hundreds more leaks where the tunnel walls meet the roof. In addition, about 1,200 square feet of sprayed-on fireproofing, out of roughly 1.8-million square feet total, were destroyed by water and ice, yesterday’s report said.
the report warns that ”the submerged nature of the tunnel system makes it unlikely that intrusion by water can be completely eliminated” and that ”a primary concern with these leaks is the corrosion of roof steel I-beams.”
This has to be the most amazing statement in the report, the tunnel is safe, there are leaks and the tunnels will “always be susceptible to leaks, which could pose a long-term corrosion threat to the steel beams that form the spine of the roadway.”
I know the Big Dig is in a Blue State and I’m just one of those “Red State thinking” Republicans, but how can a tunnel system be sound if as the reports states there will always be leaks, the leaks are not being addressed and these leaks will lead to the corrosion as steal support beams? That is the definition of sound?
Or have we gone back to the days of Bill Clinton and it depends how we define sound? Or are they stating that it is presently today sound but in the not too distant future this will be let’s say, “not so sound.” We have previously posted on the many calamities of the Big Dig and this situation is not going away any time soon.
One really must wonder how anyone can try to SPIN a leaky tunnel system that is overly exposed to corrosion of its metal support beams can some how be safe. I can only hope that the people responsible for this will be brought to justice, the people who looked the other way and the individuals that provided shoddy constructions are made accountable. One does wonder whether the Big Dig will actually be completed before the corrosion takes effect.
Update: Forget the corrosion down the line J. at Wizbang has some more on those safe and sound tunnels at The Big Dig. What a reassuring thought from the Turnpike Authority; its not the tunnel crumbling, just incompetent builders. Its those incompetent builders wee are worried about. Does anyone at the Federal Highway Administration want to rethink this one?
Added to Beltway Traffic Jam