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MassDOT Launches Program to Repair Roadways and Reduce Risks of Car Accidents in Massachusetts’ Tunnels

The development of a comprehensive, five-year Capital Maintenance Program (CMP) was recently ordered by Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Mullan.

His plan is to coordinate and enhance the current ongoing maintenance procedures that involve the many tunnels of the Metropolitan Highway System and to reduce tunnel car accidents in Boston.
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“The tunnel system is proven safe, thanks to the professional maintenance crews working under comprehensive protocols every day to address the ongoing maintenance needs of the tunnels,” said Secretary Mullan. “Today we are taking the next step to develop a comprehensive five-year plan in order to better coordinate these efforts to ensure the tunnels remain safe for generations to come.”

Our Massachusetts car accident attorneys have been informed that MassDOT has recruited the infrastructure firm HNTB Corporation to help develop the CMP by the fall of 2011. The completion of this project will help to identify existing and future expected maintenance needs for the tunnel and help to estimate the costs necessary to implement solutions to ensure that the tunnels remain safe.

“MassDOT’s Highway Division will focus on the Capital Maintenance of the Metropolitan Highway system, including the CA/T, Ted Williams Tunnel, Sumner and Callahan tunnels, the Zakim and Tobin Bridges and all related ramps and roadways,” said MassDOT Acting Highway Division Administrator Frank DePaola. “It is our charge to keep all of these facilities in safe, good working order.”

Recently, MassDOT finished installing redundant support straps on all of the 25,000 or so fixtures in the Central Artery tunnels. This system was developed as an interim, 3-5 year solution to the current light corrosion issues to allow time for engineers to evaluate options for a long-term solution. This move was warranted when an engineer noticed a light fixture that was out of alignment with the clips on the right side of the light. That fixture was taken down immediately and new stainless steel clips were re-installed.

“On behalf of the MassDOT Board of Directors and MassDOT Highway Administrator Frank DePaola, I offer my appreciation and thanks to the crews that worked so diligently to complete this effort well ahead of projections to further ensure safety of the public,” said Secretary Mullan. “The completion of the strapping to ensure that a redundant system is now in place will go a long way to restoring public confidence in the safety of the system.”

The CMP will look into and respond to a number of recent tunnel issues, like securing and ultimately replacing light fixtures, recommending maintenance safety/emergency egress railing and the safety efforts regarding the ongoing water infiltration mitigation efforts.

Back in February, a light fixture in the Central Artery Tunnel fell from the ceiling on Route 92 Northbound near the entrance to the Ted Williams Tunnel. In the wake of this light fixture incident, MassDOT electricians performed a number of inspections of all of the tunnel light fixtures. During this time they searched for an interim solution to secure these fixtures. Strapping material has been used to secure nearly 400 fixtures to date.

As the CMP will also include suggestions regarding tunnel maintenance safety and the emergency egress railing, recommendations have been made from April 2011 that included a plan to get rid of the railing at a number of locations where they are not required to meet emergency egress requirements. Suggestions were also made to retrofit the existing railing with chain link fence mesh fabric around the outside curves and other high risk locations.

You can stay up to date with all MassDOT and CMP plans of the ongoing tunnel maintenance as the Transportation website offers this information.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Massachusetts, contact the car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.

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