Boston’s $14.8B Big Dig finally complete: I can’t believe it’s finally coming to an end. All that’s left now are the lawsuits.
Officially, Dec. 31 marks the end of the joint venture that teamed megaproject contractor Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority to build the dizzying array of underground highways, bridges, ramps and a new tunnel under Boston Harbor — all while the city remained open for business.
The project was so complex it’s been likened to performing open heart surgery on a patient while the patient is wide awake.
I’ve driven the Big Dig. It makes you feel like a prairie dog — you run in underground tunnels, just popping up above ground long enough to get your bearings, then you’re back down again.
There’s a nice sidebar in the article that shows all the construction techniques that were invented to make the Big Dig work. One of my favorites:
Tunnel Jacking: Part of the project called for a tunnel extension under an active Amtrak railroad. Project managers realized the soil was so unstable that the rail lines could collapse. Engineers built a gigantic concrete box open on both ends, froze the soil using hundreds of rods and nudged or jacked the box under the railroad a few feet at a time.