Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley on Dec. 17 an-nounced that the state has reached a settlement with Powers Fasteners Inc. regarding the July 10, 2006, Interstate-90 tunnel-plenum collapse that crushed a car and killed a 38-year-old local woman, Milena Del Valle.
The tunnel is part of Boston’s $14.6-billion Central Artery/Tunnel project, which was completed in 2005. The collapse of some of the new tunnel’s concrete ceiling panels has been linked to improper use of the Brewster, N.Y-based firm’s fast-set epoxy in the an-choring system. Under the agreement, Powers will stop selling the fast-set epoxy and recall all previous sales. The fastener firm also will pay $16 million: $15.5 million will go to a state transportation-infrastructure fund and $500,000 will go to the city of Boston.
According to Coakley, the deal concludes most civil and criminal matters resulting from the collapse. In 2006, the AG filed a civil suit against the firm, which also was indicted for involuntary manslaughter in 2007. Coakley notes that the penalty for a corporate conviction on the charge in Massachusetts is only a $1,000 fine. “The settlement avoids a lengthy and expensive trial while serving as a deterrent and protecting public safety,” she says. Del Valle’s family has been notified and approves the deal, says Coakley.
In 2007, Powers paid $6 million to settle the family’s civil suit. “We applaud the attorney general for her willingness to dismiss the indictment against Powers,” says Powers President Jeff Powers. “Today, our company accepts its share of responsibility as one of many businesses involved in the construction of the tunnel.”