worries about lights were kept in the dark
On one of Boston\'s busiest roads, a highway worker fell from the ceiling of the Tip O\'Neill Tunnel, a shocking discovery: in the vast excavation tunnel, nine other lamps are hung on a severely corroded bracket and may fail at any time.
The great excavation has gone through the tragic experience of dangerous falling objects.
On 2006, a tunnel ceiling panel collapsed, killing a woman several hundred yards from where nine corroded fixtures were found in February. 16.
State engineers can\'t figure out how many of the 25,000 lights in the big excavation tunnel have become unstable --
There is good reason to worry that corrosion is common after years of salt water leaking into tunnels.
But the engineers in charge kept silent.
They did not submit a written report.
They did not report to the boss.
When they asked federal regulators for money to solve a corrosion problem that \"could\" cause the lamps to fall off, they did not disclose that one had fallen off. Internal e-
Mail and Department of Transport reports obtained by the Global Times show that the fall of lamps last winter was more dangerous than minister Jeffrey B.
Mulan disclosed to the public that it may also increase by $0. 2 billion.
Huge price for big digging.
National records also show that his agency\'s efforts to try to solve the problem are more secretive and slow than he admits.
Under the leadership of Mulan\'s colleague Helmut Ernst, engineers did not send the dropped instrument to the laboratory for analysis until March 16, instead, important evidence, along with piles of road debris, was left at maintenance facilities in South Boston.
\"I have to ask that we have been doing it for six weeks. No testing yet?
Mulan sighed in an email
Hours before the press conference on March 16, he told the public about the dangers of lamps in the tunnel.
Despite these private suspicions, mullan told reporters that he and his employees had \"spent quite a long time\" investigating the matter, he disclosed the matter after \"getting a better understanding of what we are dealing.
To avoid panic at work, he said, they deliberately kept the incident silent.
A few days later, Mullan\'s story crashed and he admitted he didn\'t know until a month after the light crash.
As news spread, Mullan\'s work could be threatened and Mullan forced others to leave instead.
His former first deputy was not Ernst, but Frank trentozi, the head of Ernst, when the national highway administrator was taking family leave.
Mullan concluded that, on an important security issue, Tramontozzi, not Ernst, had the greatest responsibility to keep him in the dark.
Tramontozzi said: \"He told me, \'Frank, it\'s either you or me, I\'m not going. A few weeks before he was eligible for the state pension, he was still painfully forced to leave.
\"Either you resign or you are fired.
Ernst received a letter of condemnation in the incident, saying that Tramontozzi should not be fired, and he questioned Mullan\'s current claim that he had not been aware of the corrosion problem for a month.
\"It\'s hard for me to believe [Mullan]
\"I don\'t know,\" said Ernst, chief engineer of the region, including Big Dig.
\"I hope he will stick to the first one [story]
And it\'s done. . .
You will not push your problem to the employees below you because your job is risky.
Mulan declined to discuss details of Tramontozzi\'s departure in an interview on Friday, but said, \"I have made it clear [to Tramontozzi]
I lost confidence in the leadership of the road department.
\"Mullan had previously admitted that he was\" poorly managed \"when he publicly disclosed the fallen lamps, and he also said that he never thought his work was in danger.
The fiasco highlights a culture of secrecy between engineers who maintain the world\'s most expensive $22 billion excavation --and problem-plagued -
After years of scandals, bad media, and lawsuits alleging shoddy work, the engineers freely admitted that they did not like to write it down, prompted a transport consultant to compare the atmosphere with President Nixon\'s White House.
David Taugher wrote in an internal report of the march, \"even if they knew they were supposed to do it, how deep is the culture and what no one would say?
\"Five months after the collapsed lights came out, the Department of Transport still had no idea why hundreds of lamps had severe premature corrosion that made them prone to collapse.
Mulan said he believes that the road salt on the highway has entered the lights, but laboratory analysis shows that the reason is easily the salt that is constantly leaking into the seawater in the tunnel, spending $12 million a year on the country to prevent flooding of roads in 2004 and make headlines.
EY called the cause of the corrosion problem \"mystery \".
Ernst & Young said last week that for whatever reason, all 25,000 lights will eventually have to be replaced and the tunnels will have to be rewired, a project that could cost $0. 2 billion.
At the moment, the staff are fixing the lights with plastic tape that they started installing three weeks ago. The 8-foot-
After peak hours on the morning of February, long lamps on the north lane of Interstate 93.
8 is just another piece of road debris for the maintenance worker who found it.
If he looked up at the tunnel ceiling, he would see a gap in a sparkling lamp that hung there until a few minutes ago, evidence of obvious public danger.
But, as there were no witnesses, and no apparent damage or injury, the lights went in from behind his truck on the way to the dump.
The electrician who saw the scrapped lights the next day realized its importance, triggering an inspection of the lights by O\'Neill, Ted Williams and other large excavation tunnels.
But from the beginning, the review moved forward at a slow pace.
In the first week, the transport records showed that of the 1,100 lights, less than 25,000 were checked by the staff and the inspection was completely stopped for three nights.
The inspectors initially found 3.
3% the metal clip fixing the lamp to the ceiling is loose due to corrosion
That\'s enough. but on Feb.
A crew member found a hot spot on nine lights, all the fixing clamps were corroded, and nearly 1,000 pounds of the unstable balance fixtures were hung on the driver\'s head.
The crew adjusted all 90 clips to fix the lights on the uncorroded metal.
Now Mullan and two delegates have objected to the seriousness of this finding, arguing that the workers may have found dirt and debris in the fixtures, rather than corrosion, and they are confused.
They say a crew member is re-checking the lights for the entire seven months.
In order to record the corrosion more carefully, the large excavation tunnel is up to 5 miles.
However, the crew\'s on-site report on February was unambiguous, and it was found that all the clips on the nine lamps had \"considerable corrosion on the tunnel ceiling, many without contact \".
There is no evidence in the on-site report that this finding was questioned.
National policy requires engineers to make written reports on potential safety hazards, causing
Emails and text messages remind the transport leader, but this does not happen here.
Ernst & Young explained that since the collapse of the 2006 ceiling caused the death of Milena Del Valle, engineers have become cautious about writing down because written records may become material for litigation.
\"We have been trained not to do so,\" Ernst said . \" He said he did not remember the hot spots of corrosion near the death site of Del Valle.
\"After all the testimony in the ceiling collapse case, we just met to discuss it. . . .
What\'s the point of writing it down?
Things happen every day.
You don\'t need to record.
You also need time to operate.
But Mullan denied that people in his agency had avoided writing reports.
\"This may be an old practice of the toll roads administration,\" he said . \" The agency was previously responsible for large mining.
Ernst & Young claimed that he had spoken to Tramontozzi and other managers earlier, but others strongly opposed the claims.
Tramontozzi insisted that he did not know about the fixture until February.
28, although Ernst & Young claimed he called Tramontozzi on the afternoon of February. 9 -
The day after the lamp fellto brief him.
According to the telephone records consulted by the Global Times, Tramontozzi called Ernst & Young and vice versa.
EY also claimed that he raised the light issue in February.
14 senior staff meeting of highway division.
However, seven staff members at the meeting, including a staff member who took notes, said that they did not recall Ernst doing so later when asked by a transport lawyer at Mulan\'s request
At the scene, the inspectors were working throughout February, checking the large excavation lights of 1 out of 3 and finding that about 2% of the fixtures were corroded, although the corrosion in some areas is twice the original.
At the same time, with 250,000 cars passing through the tunnel every day, the drivers happily did not know the danger on their heads.
The engineers thought it was salt that caused the corrosion of the lamps, but they were not sure if the salt was sprayed out of the road in the winter or came in with salt water that flooded the soil around all the tunnels.
The second possibility worries engineers because the salt water has caused so much damage.
Consultant Taugher wrote in his report on the events of the lamps that Ernst & Young\'s engineers told him that \"the leak is [a]huge issue.
Air pipes have 80% of water every night.
Someone can send a photo if they resign [to]
Click and blow things up.
An ongoing light check shows that at least part of the reason is the sea water.
Most of the corrosion, including falling fixtures, is within 700 feet of the tunnel entrance.
Highway salt is probably a factor.
But one of the most corroded areas is the depths of the O\'Neill Tunnel, where salt water intrusion has been a major problem.
At the same time, falling lamps that may give engineers a better understanding of the causes of corrosion continue to exist in maintenance facilities.
The problem was finally solved in front of Secretary Malan\'s desk.
According to official records-
When the discussion turns to money
A political aide at Mulan heard Ernst & Young talk about corrosion and he then posted an email
Mailing question: how many lights need to be replaced?
Ernst told his assistant the first time he expressed his concerns in writing: \"It\'s a big deal and I don\'t want to minimize the seriousness of this issue. . .
[About 5%]light fixtures]
So far, inspections have shown that they have seriously deteriorated to a point where they are no longer safe.
Ernst & Young continued that it could cost $0. 2 billion to replace all the lights.
The news soon passed to Mullan\'s chain of command, which got a face. to-
In the face of the Tramontozzi briefing on March 8.
Three days later, Mulan told the governor\'s office
Mail and interview
But Mullan waited another eight days before telling the public until he received an urgent message from Governor Deval Patrick and then carried out a trade mission in London.
Both Mullan and Tramontozzi said Patrick wanted the issue to be made public immediately.
Tramontozzi remembers Patrick saying to Mullan during a conference call on the 15 th: \"get this out before I get home . \".
Once Mullan was involved, the investigation accelerated: the number of staff checking the lights increased, and the Department of Transport finally sent a letter of concern to the company that made the lamps.
The falling lights were eventually transported to a lab in West boilston.
Mullan\'s assistant secretary, Joseph Landolfi, prepared his boss for an obvious question that reporters would ask at a press conference: Why did you wait so long to tell the public
Landolfi wrote a script saying the disclosure was delayed in order to \"better understand the issue and plan of action to resolve it.
At the press conference, Mulan repeated the landuffy message almost word for word and added, \"We now have enough information to fully tell the public what is going on.
\"But lawmakers and other critics have attacked muland for hiding public safety information for a long time.
The next day Mullan sent a long selfjustifying e-
Mailed to Landolfi, arguing that corrosion does not represent a \"systemic problem or a public hazard\" and that his staff addressed the issue \"promptly and positively.
\"The public is entitled to accurate information,\" Mulan wrote. \"When there is no fire, we are also obliged not to shout fire in crowded theaters.
\"On the same day, Landolfi sent an email
The Mail thanked Tramontozzi and other senior officials for their help at a press conference he initially thought was a success.
But even after Mullan admitted that it was wrong to postpone the public notice and promised \"this will not happen again\", the dispute did not end.
Later this week, Mulan told the Global Times that he misled the public at a press conference and took responsibility for reporting delays, in fact, he had been unaware of the whereabouts of the lights for several weeks.
Patrick has been saddened by Mullan\'s failure to say the news in a timely manner, and there are now more reasons to question Mullan\'s leadership.
As criticism grew, Tramontozzi said Mullan had said to him twice, \"I may have to resign for that.
Instead of resigning, however, Mulan asked his deputy general counsel, Robert holacek, to find out who was not telling him the whole story was to blame.
Ernst is clearly under suspicion, but he is one of the most senior and respected engineers in the department.
Although Ernst & Young reported to Tramontozzi, Ernst & Young\'s income was nearly $20,000 higher than Tramontozzi\'s salary of $120,000.
When a transport employee urged Mulan to ensure that Ernst remained at the agency, Mulan wrote back before the fixture collapsed, saying, \"I have no intention of letting Helmut go anywhere.
\'Tramontozzi is low
Personal data manager from Boston to the Department of Transport.
In the early days, when his predecessor was on vacation to take care of his sick husband, he became an acting highway administrator, which made him second only to Mullan.
But Tramontozzi does not have the connection and prestige of Ernst & Young accounting firm, and sometimes there is a problem going directly after Mulan, bypassing Tramontozzi, a total of Tramontozzi said.
Telephone records show that Mullan made a 16-minute call to Ernst & Young on Saturday, March 19, just the day after Mullan started its investigation of communication failures, in which Ernst & Young played the core
Mulan admitted that the two talked about the lamps but said they did not discuss the investigation by Horachek. (
On Friday, Mulan called Tramontozzi and said he launched the investigation, but the call lasted only two minutes. )
On the second Monday, hempek interviewed Ernst and his two deputies, who said the same thing: Ernst called Tramontozzi on February.
Brief the highway administrator on the falling lights. If true -
And Tramontozzi denied it-
That call made Tramontozzi the most senior official and knew from the beginning that there was a problem with the lights.
Holacek\'s discovery was enough for Mulan to drive him out.
Tramontozzi \"was told early in the investigation that there was a problem with the lights and he did not report it to me,\" Mulan said in the State Council on March 25, when Tramontozzi resigned.
On the same day, Patrick said he still believed in Mullan, but \"I\'m already very clear that I\'m not going to accept this anymore.
\"Tramontozzi said he didn\'t think checking the phone records he was waving on his face was evidence of his lying on February.
9 call, which was later obtained by Universal according to the national public record law.
Records show that Tramontozzi called Ernst & Young on February.
But vice versa, destroying the premise of launching Tramontozzi.
Tramontozzi is most concerned about getting credits for 10 weeks of unused holidays, which will qualify him for a state pension.
Mulan Tramontozzi said it seems to be OK, even sending Tramontozzi electrons
Send an email the next day urging him to \"stick to it.
\"But three days later, Tramontozzi received a call from Ken Weber, an HR company.
He had a bad news about Tramontozzi\'s holiday.
\"We can\'t do it.
Tramontozzi recalled that it would be bad news and Webb told him that it would be bad news if reporters found out.
Assistant Minister Landolfi said Webb did not tell Tramontozzi that giving him a pension could lead to \"a bad news \".
Although Ernst kept his job, he left disappointed.
No one should be fired, he says, and he predicts that big mining engineers will be more cautious in taking action in the future.
\"The whole thing left a bad smell in my mouth,\" Ernst said . \".
\"A little sad now.
If I don\'t do anything, I won\'t be in trouble.
Sean Murphy can be found at smurphy @ globe. com.
Scott Allen can be reached at Allen @ globe. com.