A light at the end of the Big Dig tunnel

Marketplace Staff Dec 27, 2007


Doug Krizner: Boston’s Big Dig officially comes to an end New Year’s eve. It’s the most expensive public works project in the country’s history. From WBUR, Monica Brady-Myerov reports on the lessons learned.

Monica Brady-Myerov: After 25 years of planning, funding and building the seven and a half mile highway project is complete — at a final cost of nearly $15 billion. That’s six times the original estimate.

State officials now acknowledge lax oversight led to the overruns. Shoddy work and materials also led to numerous leaks, and the accidental death of a motorist. But more broadly, the Big Dig’s mismanagement may give other transportation planners pause when considering similar projects.

Michael Widmer is president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association:

Michael Widmer: The lessons here are quite common in terms of major public works projects across the county, I think, which is to say long delays and cost overruns.

The next Big Dig could be brewing in Seattle. Government officials are at odds over how to fix a crumbling viaduct through downtown. The city wants to build an underground tunnel. The state says the design and the financing are shaky.

In Boston, I’m Monica Brady-Myerov for Marketplace.

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