Boston's Summer Tunnel reopens

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December 31, 2012, 12:37 pm
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(NECN: Julie Loncich, Boston) - Boston's Summer Tunnel is back open after an overnight safety inspection.

The inspection was ordered after a wall panel fell in the Callahan Tunnel earlier in December.

“Overall the condition of the wall panels in the Sumner is better than what we found in the Callahan,” said Frank DePaola, Highway administrator for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

MassDot had set aside some 7 hours to inspect all 2,400 wall panels inside the Sumner overnight Sunday into Monday. It only took 3 hours. Crews found 26 loose panels and removed them, a vast improvement over the 117 loose panels found in the Callahan last week.

 “Everything depends on maintenance, everything depends on accountability and whoever is accountable for the safety of that tunnel needs to inspect it,” said Mary Connolly of Weymouth.

The emergency inspections were prompted after a panel fell off the wall and into a travel lane in the Callahan earlier this month. It narrowly missed drivers. Officials say corroded medal brackets are to blame. Brackets that in many cases are more than 20 years old.

“It's all engineering,” said Richard Connolly of Weymouth. “Because they're human made they all eventually break down and need replacement. What bothers me is that I don't think we have budgets to replace these things on a regular basis.”

“Some of this maintenance  has been deferred for many decades,” DePaola said. “All of this deferred maintenance we have to catch up and put in.”

But that requires money. In the next few weeks, MassDot plans on asking lawmakers on Beacon Hill for $14 billion over a 10 year period to cover upgrades and repairs to the Bay State's aging infrastructure.

Tags: Boston, tunnel, safety inspection, Julie Loncich, Callahan Tunnel, Boston's summer tunnel, summer tunnel
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