Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Big Scam drops a big load
Big Dig Collapse Prompts Renewed

BOSTON (AP) -- At least 12 tons of concrete collapsed onto a car in a Big Dig tunnel, fatally crushing a passenger and prompting renewed scrutiny Tuesday of a troubled highway project that is already
the costliest in U.S. history. The state attorney general said he plans to treat the site as a crime scene that could lead to negligent homicide charges.

The attorney general's office already has begun issuing subpoenas to
those involved in the design, manufacturing, testing, construction and oversight of the panels and tunnel.

"What we are looking at is anyone who had anything to do with what
happened last night," Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said. "No one is going to be spared."

The collapse happened around 11 p.m. Monday, when the underground highways were relatively free of traffic. About 200,000 vehicles a day travel along the roadways that make up the Big Dig, the $14.6 billion highway construction project that buried the central artery underneath the city.

Four concrete slabs weighing three tons pancaked down onto the passing Buick sedan, killing Milena Del Valle, who was riding on the passenger side, which bore the brunt of the collapse. Her husband managed to crawl to safety through a window that was only a foot wide. He suffered only minor injuries.

Debris shut down part of Interstate 90, backing up traffic for miles
Tuesday. Authorities hoped to reopen it Wednesday, but they were still removing about 30 ceiling slabs from the accident site and checking at least 17 other areas with similar "tiebacks" holding ceiling panels in place.

Gov. Mitt Romney pinned much of the blame on the head of the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and promised to take legal action to oust Matthew Amorello. He compared the situation to the replacement of former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown after Hurricane Katrina….


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