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Traffic was disrupted once again in a key Big Dig tunnel after inspectors found loose bolts in a ceiling panel — the same sort of problem that is believed to have killed a motorist earlier this month.
Three loose bolts — one had dislodged about a half inch — were found at the westbound entrance to the Ted Williams harbor tunnel Monday. Traffic was diverted around the questionable panel and it was shored up with a portable support device.
The latest problem was discovered hours after Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Chairman Matt Amorello, who has overseen the beleaguered Big Dig project, filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the governor from holding a hearing on Thursday seeking to demote him from his $223,000-a-year post.
Romney has long criticized his management of the Big Dig, and renewed calls for his ouster as chairman since the fatal ceiling collapse. Amorello's lawyers contend that the governor does not have the authority to demote him.
WASHINGTON --It's been more than four years since Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka ran Boston's Big Dig, and the problem-plagued highway project is still creating headaches for him.
Watchdog groups and Massachusetts lawmakers question how Capka can oversee his agency's probe of a deadly ceiling collapse inside a Big Dig tunnel last week, given that he headed the sprawling project for 18 months until his dismissal in June 2002.
"This smacks of having the coach of the team referee the game," said Wendell Rawls, acting executive director of the Center for Public Integrity.
"Under the manual you wouldn't even have to look at these things," he said. "There's no maintenance requirement for those components." ...
The tunnels throughout Boston's Big Dig highway system have been heavily scrutinized since a motorist was killed last week by 12 tons of falling concrete ceiling panels.
Inspectors discovered more than 1,100 suspect bolts in the ceilings of that tunnel and nearby tunnel ramps.
Keaveney told the Globe that he really began to worry about the ceiling after a third-grade class from his hometown of Norwell came to visit the Big Dig for a tour in 1999. He showed the class some concrete ceiling panels and pointed to the bolts in the ceiling, explaining that the panels would one day hang from those bolts.
A third-grade girl raised her hand and asked him, "Will those things hold up the concrete?"
"It was like the (third-graders) had pointed out the emperor has no clothes," he said. "I said, 'Yes, it would hold,' but then I thought about it."
Keaveney's eyes welled with tears as spoke of how he blamed himself in part for Del Valle's death, the newspaper said.
"I failed to open my mouth. I failed to push the letter I wrote for results," he said. "I am partially responsible for the death of this mother."