Engineer: Big Dig's water leaks become a serious concern

07/25/2011 | Boston Globe (tiered subscription model), The

Helmut Ernst, chief engineer for Boston's Big Dig, reported that the persistent leaks of salty ground water into the tunnels has created structural and safety problems. "Tunnel leaks are a more vexing problem as they are widespread throughout the tunnel and are the cause of safety concerns and [have] a damaging effect on the tunnel structure and equipment," Ernst wrote. Ernst did not say the tunnel was unsafe. He estimated repairs and preventive measures would cost $150 million -- on top of $200 million that could be needed to rewire and replace corroded light fixtures in the tunnel.

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