Friday, August 17, 2007

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Giving it to the Massachusetts taxpayers in the shorts, that is.

US sees flaw in Zakim Bridge

Six steel plates that hold in place support cables of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge show signs of warping, and the state needs to quickly determine whether they present a hazard to tens of thousands of people who cross the bridge daily, according to a federal inspector general's report obtained by the Globe.

The report labeled the deformed plates an "immediate or dangerous condition" and said they could be a sign that the plates are overstressed.

No doubt, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley will be putting out a press release soon detailing her plans to file criminal charges against the owners of the mine, from which the raw iron ore was extracted.

But a top state official said last night that an investigation by his agency had already determined that the plates became warped when they were originally welded and thus do not reflect excessive stress or pose a safety risk.

"It is not a safety issue, but rather a defect associated with the installation," said Bernard Cohen, the state transportation secretary and chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which maintains the bridge over the Charles River.

Ain't that reassuring?