Digging into the Big Dig

A Federal Highway Administration report out today says the I-93 tunnels under Boston are safe. I believe it because the federal government rarely makes mistakes. Right. It's entirely possible that the tunnel, which I use to get to and from work daily, is indeed safe, and the fissures that pour water on my car are nothing to worry about because they will be fixed. Sure. On the bright side, I would be more worried if I saw water in the Ted Williams Tunnel.

When I started taking that stretch of road on a daily basis two years ago, I still had to make my return trip on Boston's other Green Monster, the Central Artery. There's no doubt for me that replacing the highway was necessary from both functional and aesthetic necessities. When I am on the sinuy Surface Artery, I feel the city is somehow cleaner, on top of being brighter. And the rerouting of traffic thanks to the Big Dig has made the trip through downtown bearable. Even during peak traffic times, it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be. For that reason alone it is an engineering marvel.

That said, it doesn't change the fact that the gross mismanagement of the project has cost state toll-payers and federal taxpayers (of which I pay both), far more than it should have. Because of this and many other reasons, it has become the Boston talking point about which nearly everyone shares the same opinion: Just hurry up and get the damn thing done. In the meantime, I'll keep my snorkeling gear handy.


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