State Settles Last Civil Suits in Big Dig Roof Collapse
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today the end of the last civil claims stemming from the July 2006 "Big Dig" I-90 Connector Tunnel ceiling collapse, which caused the death of a woman in a car traveling through the tunnel. Coakley, acting on behalf of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and the Massachusetts Highway Department, settled claims against Gannett Fleming, Inc., which designed the part of the tunnel ceiling that fell. Gannett Fleming has agreed to pay $1,525,000 into the Central Artery Statewide Road and Bridge Infrastructure Fund; $50,000 to the city of Boston; and to forgo $150,000 in payments from the MTA.
Another settlement agreement was reached with Sika Corporation, manufacturer of the epoxy glue used in that part of the ceiling; Sika sold it to Powers Fasteners, Inc. Sika has agreed to pay $200,000 into the fund. Coakley's office dismissed claims against Sigma Engineering International Inc., a structural engineering firm, and Conam Inc., a materials inspection company, after finding they weren't liable in connection with the collapse.
"Since taking office two years ago, it has been one of my priorities to resolve all matters related to the Big Dig ceiling collapse in a manner that was fair and just for the commonwealth and for the loved ones of Milena Del Valle, who so tragically lost her life almost three years ago. We believe that we have achieved that goal," Coakley said. "The resolutions we have reached with the various companies involved in the project appropriately hold accountable those responsible for the problems in our tunnels, ensure that similar problems will be prevented in the future, and provide the commonwealth with the necessary funds to maintain the tunnels and other transportation infrastructure in the years ahead."
The total her office has recovered since January 2007 in this matter is $610.625 million, some of it recovered in conjunction with the U.S. attorney's office.
Her office said Gannett Fleming has agreed to create a Corporate Compliance Program as part of the settlement. The program requires Gannett Fleming to provide a Federal Highway Technical Advisory to the owners of all facilities for which Gannett Fleming performed design services since 1990 where adhesive anchors may have been used. Gannett Fleming also must give a Technical Advisory to its current and former employees providing guidance and recommendations on the use and inspection of adhesive anchors.
Other companies that have entered into settlements with the state include AIG, $58.5 million (recovery of workers' compensation insurance overcharges), Aggregate Industries, $50 million (false claims for adulterated cement), Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and other contractors, $458.2 million (ceiling collapse, wall leaks, various design errors and problems), Modern Continental Construction Co., $21 million, Newman Associates Inc., $5 million, Powers Fasteners Inc., $16 million.