Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Big Pig

Sean Murphy writes in the Globe today about how the Big Dig leaks will be years in the fixing.

Finally, the criminal hack ranch, known as the Mass. Turnpike Authority released their written confession regarding the matter.

Leaks in the Big Dig's Interstate 93 tunnel roof will persist for years to come, despite current efforts to patch them with a grout sealant, according to an independent report released last night by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

The grouting program will seal an estimated 3,600 leaks in the tunnels this year, but more than 42 percent of those seals are expected to reopen, requiring a second round of grouting, the report said.

As a result, Turnpike Authority managers estimate they will face 1,543 leaks next year, 661 in 2007, 284 in 2008, 121 in 2009, and 77 in 2010, the report says. No estimate is made beyond 2010.

We need a new PBS home improvement show called "Ask Matt Amorello".

US Taxpayer:

Matt. I'm very dissatisfied with this 14 billion dollar bathroom. This morning I heard a loud bang next to the shower valve. Now there's water spewing out between some of the tiles. What's your advice?


Go down to the home depot and find some high quality grout sealant. Squeeze in between any tiles where water is coming through. You may need to repeat this process as time goes on.

US Taxpayer:

Ok. Now the water seems to be gushing into my basement, through the floor.


Buy a water pump. While the pump is clearing out the water, Get in there with a few cans of 'Great Stuff' and fill in as much of the space as you can. Then remove the pump.

US Taxpayer:

Ok. Now all the drywall is not so dry anymore.


Who needs drywall? Use glass instead. Maybe we can put a few ornamental fish right in the wall.

US Taxpayer:

But Matt! All of my electrical circuits are shorting out!

Look. Massachusetts is a high-tech state. Everybody is going wireless around here. Look to the future.

Sean goes on.
The cost of sealing those leaks is expected to drop from $7.3 million this year to $3.1 million in 2006, $1.3 million in 2007, $574,000 in 2008, $246,500 in 2009, and to $156,000 in 2010, based on a per-leak repair cost of $2,029.
The estimate was contained in a report posted on the Turnpike Authority website at about 7 p.m. yesterday.
So the US taxpayer could buy a kick-a$$ computer, for over 5000 school kids, for every leak in the brand spanking new Big Drip tunnel?
Mariellen Burns, the authority's director of communications, did not return calls last night, and in her e-mail notifying reporters of the report, she did not address the future cost of leak repair and maintenance.
We pay a premium for irony in the Gay State. I'm sure top dollar was offered for this director of communications, who can't communicate directly.
"The bottom line of the report is that managing water is a part of any underground construction project," she wrote.
Wow, you have to deal with water, when a tunnel runs under water. Maybe you guys should have planned on keeping the water out, instead of managing it. Everybody knows management is the first to go in any round of layoffs.
Turnpike officials, including Chairman Matthew J. Amorello and project director Michael P. Lewis, could not be reached for comment last night.
I'm sure he could be reached for a big mound of shrimp, free cocktails and a big, sloppy kiss on his posterior.
In November, when the Globe reported that the I-93 tunnels had hundreds of leaks, Jack K. Lemley, an outside consultant hired to investigate the problem, said of future repairs: ''You're talking years here, even a decade."
It was hard to capture Jack's head shaking and raucous laughter in print.
Estimating the number of future leaks is a risky venture, said Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, the consultant hired to study the impact of the two kinds of defects that have plagued the project as it nears completion. Those flaws are the thousands of small roof leaks at the roof-wall joints of the tunnels and the 189 soft spots in the tunnel walls, including the one that breached and flooded the northbound roadway on Sept. 15.
Another consultant checks in. I'm glad that we are spending the taxpayer's money fixing the problem. This is like stuffing a burlap bag full of cheap hamburger, letting sit out in this July sun, then hire a consultant to identify the smell and ooze as the weeks roll by.

"As the work continues, the recurrence rate [of leaks] could change," the report posted last night said. ''Any increase in the recurrence rate will result in more grout locations and higher incurred costs by MTA until a steady state is reached."

A positive leak rate derivative means more grout and money. Folks, breathe it in while you can; we are in the presence of pure genius here.

The Deloitte report said no estimate of the cost of future leaks had been made by the Turnpike Authority or Big Dig managers until March. At that time, Kenneth M. Mead, the US Department of Transportation's inspector general, was threatening to hold up $81 million in federal funding for the project unless he was assured that Turnpike Authority officials were adequately addressing the leaks.

The Feds should have given MA the bums rush out the door a long time ago.

The Deloitte report also concluded that fixing and preventing leaks has cost $38 million. Nevertheless, the report said the total cost for the Big Dig should remain within the estimate of $14.625 billion because the leak costs are paid from contingency accounts.

'should remain within the estimate of' In Big Dig speak, that's a code phrase for 'will rocket past the sum of'.

This project is an embarrassing insult to America's fine engineering community. You can put all the lipstick and pearls you want on a pig. It's still the Big Pig. The stinking French can dig a tunnel under the English Channel better than we can dig a tunnel under the beautiful people.


Dr. Phat Tony said...

Have they released the "epoxy" solution theory for in case the grouting doesn't work? If that doesn't work will they then move to duct tape? As long as they have the plan I guess all is well.

The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Great fisking.
Sorry about all the asstards you have working in your state.
(We have plenty here, too.)

Insolublog said...

Dr. - I got the impression they like the ineffective grout approach. Real Duct tape might actually be effective.

CUG - Without asstards, where would we harvest all our source material?