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Motorists, the tunnel network is safe

REGARDING THE Nov. 15 op-ed article by Peter Pendergast "What went wrong at the Big Dig":

I was surprised to read that I was considered the leading candidate to be the "owner's engineer" supervising Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the private managers of the Big Dig. In 2001, Pendergast, then the Mass. Turnpike's general counsel, had contacted me. The conversation was about the possibility of retaining my firm to review the project's management protocol.

There was only one short meeting, and no information on the scope of the job was ever provided by Pendergast. I was never offered a position as owner's engineer to supervise Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Following a meeting in the winter of 2003 with Judge Edward Ginsburg, head of the authority's cost-recovery team, I was retained through the Turnpike Authority chairman, Matthew J. Amorello, to review various design matters on the Central Artery tunnel project that had the potential for cost-recovery. I did not, as reported in the Globe, "discover" leaks that exist elsewhere in the project's tunnel network. Rather, project officials have been identifying leaks and having contractors repair them, as which is their obligation.The structural integrity of the tunnel network has not been jeopardized by either the Sept. 15 slurry wall breach or the other leaks that have been identified. Motorists have nothing to fear driving through the tunnels.

JACK LEMLEY
Boise, Idaho
 

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