June 8, 2012
BOSTON — Officials at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation say Boston's Big Dig needs another million-dollar fix: the concrete on some of the on-ramps and off-ramps is crumbling and needs to be replaced. The concrete was supposed to last for 30 years.
Highway administrator Frank DePaola explained on June 7 that the Big Dig contractors decided to pave the road surfaces in concrete, which is used in drier and warmer sections of the country, instead of in traditional New England asphalt. Now the surface concrete is separating from the structural concrete slabs below it.
“I believe they used experience from other parts of the country that concrete pavements are commonly used in the South and Southwest," DePaola said. "It's a very durable material but in the Northeast with our weather conditions and our high temperature, it's a mistake. If I was in charge of the project at that time, we would not have used that material."
DePaolasaid the initial repair work will cost taxpayers $200,000 — money that’s badly needed in the rest of the state.
“I would rather be spending this money on other improvements. We have miles of road all over the state that need repavement. We have bridges that need to be repainted. We have bridges that need to be replaced," he said.
Officials said they may ultimately need to do about $1 million worth of repaving — but that the money will probably come from a trust fund that was created through a settlement with Big Dig contractors.
The Big Dig has so far cost taxpayers more than $15 billion. The project has been plagued by cost overruns, fatal construction flaws and lax oversight.