The state’s top highway official says all the light fixtures in the Big Dig tunnels must be replaced, a $54 million effort made necessary by design or manufacturing defects that have led to dangerous corrosion.
The project, expected to begin next year, will cause frequent lane closings in the tunnels for up to two years, a headache for motorists. The work will be done largely at night, with traffic diverted to surface roads.
Since a light fixture fell onto the northbound lane of the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Tunnel in February 2011, engineers have temporarily shored up the 8-foot light fixtures in the 7.5 mile tunnel system with plastic ties. Now, after a year of study, the state’s highway administrator, Frank DePaola, is recommending a complete overhaul, the most expensive of several alternatives.“The preferred alternative is a complete replacement,’’ DePaola told the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors Wednesday.“The existing fixtures continue to corrode,’’ he said. “We could have more incidents. For that reason, I think it is best for all of us that we remove the fixtures.’’“We just have to do it,’’ added Richard A. Davey, the state transportation secretary and DePaola’s boss, agreeing it is a safety issue.
I know lighting, these too will be extinct before they get to the end of the project............