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Tunnel Safety

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Tunnel Safety

O'Neill TunnelThe Massachusetts Department of Transportation Vision is Leading the Nation in Transportation Excellence.

The Mission is to deliver excellent customer service to people who travel in the Commonwealth, and to provide our nation's safest and most reliable transportation system in a way that strengthens our economy and quality of life.

The MassDOT focus on customer service and safety includes the safe operation of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project tunnels- the Ted Williams Tunnel, I-90 Extension Tunnel, and Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Tunnel (I-93 Tunnels).

The MassDOT Highway Division conducts regular inspections of the tunnel system. Following an incident on February 8, 2011 during which a light fixture affixed to the ceiling of the Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Tunnel became dislodged and fell to the traveled roadway below, the MassDOT Highway Division conducted a hands-on inspection of the approximately 23,000 light fixtures in the I-93 and Ted Williams tunnels for signs of corrosion. Less than 2% of the fixtures inspected showed signs of corrosion, and all such fixtures were secured. The tunnel system remains safe.

MassDOT in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) pledged to complete a full assessment of the cause of the fixture corrosion issues and pursue both interim and permanent solutions.

The Tunnel Safety page is intended to provide information about ongoing steps to ensure the tunnel system remains safe.

Roadway Safety Tips -Tunnel Emergency Awareness

CA/T Inspection Review Final Report - October 13, 2011
Statement of Secretary Richard A. Davey on the CA/T Inspection Review Report:

"MassDOT worked closely with our partners at Federal Highway on this audit and we thank them for their effort and assistance in identifying opportunities for us to improve our tunnel inspection processes.

Tunnel safety is our top priority and federal highway officials affirm that our annual inspections are appropriate. We are continuously looking for ways to improve our processes and this audit provides recommendations for doing so. Beginning this past summer when Administrator Frank DePaola took over highway operations, we began to address many of the observations included in this report. A plan of action for all of the recommendations will be complete within the next 6 to 12 months.

In addition, while not a recommendation of Federal Highway, we also feel it is good practice to conduct regular quality assurance assessments of our tunnels. As such, we will be engaging an independent firm to perform one within the next 30 days. With new leadership at MassDOT, we have an opportunity to improve on old ways of doing business, and I am anxious to restore the public confidence and trust in our transportation system."

Letter from the Federal Highway Administration (PDF 64 KB)

Federal Highway Administration Central Artery Project Tunnel Inspection Program - Final Report (PDF 1.5 MB)

Additional Documents:

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