March 18, 2006

Massachusetts seeks Big Dig refund

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts' attorney general is
demanding that contractors refund $108 million for poor work on
Boston's "Big Dig," which is the biggest public works project
in U.S. history and has been plagued by leaks and delays.

Attorney General Tom Reilly's office plans to sue
Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and other companies if the two
sides do not reach an agreement over some 200 complaints of
shoddy work in putting a major highway running through downtown
Boston underground, the Boston Globe reported on Saturday.

"It is something we are actively considering," Stephanie
Lovell, the first assistant attorney general told the Globe in
an interview, adding that the state has proof the contractors
built a leaky roof and paved an uneven roadway.

According to the Globe, Reilly's office made in a February
7 letter, marking the first time he put a figure on how much
money should be returned to taxpayers for a string of problems
at the Big Dig. It is seeking $67 million from Bechtel and $41
million from other design companies.

A call to Reilly's office was not immediately returned.

Bechtel, one of the world's leading engineering,
construction and project management companies, is best known
for having worked on building the Hoover Dam and the Hong Kong
International Airport.

Costs for building the 7.8 mile underground roadway through
Boston ballooned from under $3 billion to the current $14.6
billion. Contractors have worked more than 14 years on the
project, which is now nearly completed.