Boston Roulette

There's a whole new game in Boston now. Boston Roulette is where you get in your car and travel through the portions of the Big Dig that remain open. Because you just never know when it's going to come down on you. Ok, that was some pretty harsh black humor, but the inspection keep finding more potentially lethal defects each day. There have been 362 identified so far, up from 60 the day after the fatal collapse.

BOSTON (Reuters) – From loose bolts to gaps between ceiling plates, the number of potentially dangerous flaws in Boston's $15 billion "Big Dig" highway project keep rising, reaching 362 on Friday, after a fatal tunnel collapse.

With public confidence deeply shaken in America's most expensive public works project, Massachusetts' governor took over inspections of the "Big Dig" and U.S. transportation officials expanded their investigation into the collapse.

"There are a large number of potential areas of concern and those will be inspected," Gov. Mitt Romney told reporters, referring to the concrete ceiling panels. "At this stage, you just have to cross your fingers that they don't come down."

The collapse in a three-year-old tunnel is the latest blow to an engineering project that is compared in scale to the building of the Panama Canal and has been dogged by leaks, massive cost overruns, criminal investigations and delays.

Romney signed a bill that gives him broad powers in inquiry into the rising number of defects, which are up from 242 on Thursday and 60 on Tuesday, a day after the ceiling collapsed.

The governor met with federal and local inspectors at the site where 38-year-old Milena Del Valle was killed late on Monday when a three-metric-ton concrete ceiling panel crushed her car. Her husband, Angel, crawled through a window.

"Although I lost my wife, I thank God it didn't happen earlier in the day when it would have been a bigger tragedy," Angel Del Valle, his forehead visibly scarred from the accident, told reporters in Spanish.

"I lost my wife but maybe that will now serve a purpose. And when they finish a job like this, they do it right," he said through a New England Cable News interpreter.

Someone needs an all expense paid vacation over this little fiasco. People who have to drive the system each day are rediscovering religion.

Talk-back radio has been flooded with callers who say they are too terrified to travel through the portions of the Big Dig that remain open. Others say they now cross their fingers or pray to God as they enter the tunnel system.

"I wont drive through it," said Greg Carr, a 41-year-old arborist from Weymouth, south of Boston. "I drove right under it a few days before the collapse. It's nuts."

Frankly, I'd be nervous as all heck, too.

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  1. Pingback: And Still I Persist » Blog Archive » The Big Dig Starts to Crumble

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