Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Big Pig Swig Frig Dig

They're getting warmer.

Inspectors lax on Dig wall woes

During years of Big Dig tunnel construction, the project's largest contractor repeatedly violated work requirements with the full knowledge of inspectors who in many instances failed to correct faulty work, a Herald investigation has found.


Although inspectors for project manager Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff talked tough in memos and inspection reports, they did not always force contractors to immediately correct mistakes, construction documents show.

For example, inspectors repeatedly noted that slurry violated contract specifications during the excavation of wall sections that would eventually develop defects. On other defective panels, inspectors discovered damaged concrete or obstructions that would eventually cause significant leaks.

I must say I enjoy reading these updates on the investigations into the construction deficiencies that have plagued the Big Dig over the last decade or so. And who knows? Someday, they might even figure it all out, not that I'm holding my breath waiting for that to happen. It's unlikely they'll be calling me for my input.

But, hey, what do I know? I only worked for Bechtel on the Big Dig from 1991 to 2000 in varying capacities, including Materials Laboratory Technician, Materials Engineer, and Field Engineer/Inspector. Reinforced concrete, slurry wall construction, paving operations, underground utility trenches, drilled caissons, soil analysis, tunnel jacking, steel erection - you name it, I've probably seen it.

So stay tuned. I plan on writing a series of posts (as soon as I can find the time), detailing my personal experience with and first-hand knowledge of the sheer incompetence that permeated virtually every department on that project, from before the first shovel hit the dirt up until the point I decided enough was enough and moved on to (much) greener pastures.

Buckle up, kids, and keep your hands inside the car at all times. It's gonna be a fun ride.