The Big Dig HAS BIG LEAKS (brought to you by Bechtel)

The Big Dig's leak problem came to light Sept. 15, when homeward-bound commuters driving deep -- 110 feet down -- in the new northbound tunnel saw an unsettling sight. Saltwater was gushing through a crack in the wall.

"They said millions of gallons were pouring out of that hole," said Eileen Hanley, a schoolteacher who was stuck in the tunnel that night. "I don't like the M-word when I'm stuck in a tunnel."

Work crews trooped in and repaired the hole. But in the weeks since, the Boston Globe has run a series of investigative reports noting that the 95 percent-completed tunnels are plagued by as many as 1,000 leaks and that the waterproofing provided "insufficient protection," according to a 2001 audit report. Engineers with Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the project managers, knew of these problems for seven years, according to the audit mentioned in the Globe.

In 1985, officials assigned a $2.5 billion price tag to the Big Dig. By the early 1990s, it had risen to $7.5 billion. It hit the $10 billion mark before 2000. To date, the Big Dig has cost $14.6 billion, an amount that edges higher with each leak...more

© 2004 The Washington Post Company




Another rerouting of pedestrian walkways around one of the largest public works debacles ever: Boston's "Big Dig"! I had never heard of the big dig before I got to Boston, but it's pretty amazing. Anyway, these construction workers apparently found a stuffed monkey in the trash somewhere and decided they would have a little fun... (the writing on the duct tape says "One dollar pay monkey".) I asked them if I could take a picture of it and they asked me sarcastically, "Oh, you think that's funny, eh?"

- Juliayn Coleman