Big Dig's O'Neill tunnel now suspect?

Remember when Mass. Turnpike Chairman Matt Amorello and Gov. Mitt Romney assured the motoring public that the Tip O'Neill tunnel (Route 93) was safe because the ceiling system used in those tunnels was completely different than the one that collapsed last week in the Ted Williams tunnel connector?

Guess what. Fox25 Morning News reported that apparently 60 areas in the Tip are suspect. They will now be subject to daily inspections. Great.

I took a small measure of comfort that the ceiling's hanging system in the Tip was different than the one that failed. Even though I looked at the ceiling panels in the Tip and saw that the panels themselves were very similar to the ones in the Ted connector, I had to convince myself that this time Amorello was telling the truth. For my own peace of mind, I had to believe that for once something coming from Amorello's mouth would be truthful.

I wish I could give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but most of the Tip tunnel was completed on his watch. The parts that matter in this discussion at least; meaning the ceiling system. Therefore, he should know what's holding it up. I can't blame Romney for misleading us, because I don't think he has paid much attention to detail on the project until now, just like the governors before him. That's not a slam. Romney wasn't managing the project. That was Amorello's job.

Maybe the hanging system is indeed different, but does different make it safe? No. And I was stupid to put even a modicum of faith in Amorello's statements.

At least Romney, who is now managing the project, has the guts to admit there could be problem with other tunnels. He may be late to the game, but his relief appearance so far has been reassuring (to turn a baseball metaphor).

I will be glad when this is behind us, but I know it the threat of tunnel collapse will always be hanging over my head, pun intended.


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