Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass.) has proposed creating a national highway tunnel inspection program.
A bill introduced by Capuano on Jan. 11 would amend the national bridge inspection program to include minimum standards for tunnel inspections. His action follows the July 10, 2006, death of a vehicle passenger in the Interstate 90 connector tunnel in Boston. She was crushed by falling precast concrete plenum panels. Subsequent investigations revealed that epoxied anchor bolts may have failed. The Massachusetts Turn-pike Authority, which oversees the tunnel, had not inspected the plenum since construction was completed in 2003.
The state’s attorney general has since filed a criminal complaint against several engineering, construction and supply firms. Capuano, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, says, “My legislation simply takes the Nationwide Bridge Inspection program and adds highway tunnels. It is a simple yet effective method of ensuring the safety of highway tunnels nationwide.”