July 17, 2006
The Honorable Ted Stevens
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
508 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Stevens:
I am writing to request that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation investigate the recent collapse of a portion of the Central Artery Tunnel in Boston, Massachusetts.
As you know, the Central Artery Tunnel is the main highway system for the City of Boston and is a critical part of the Massachusetts transportation system. After more than 14 years of construction, the Central Artery Tunnel has been carrying approximately 200,000 cars each day.
Last week, 12 tons of concrete from tile panels within the Central Artery Tunnel collapsed. The debris landed on a passing car and killed a passenger. This tragic event is unfortunately one of a series of recent safety problems at the Central Artery Tunnel which call into question the structural integrity of the tunnel.
We must do everything possible to ensure the safety of the 200,000 motorists who were using the Central Artery Tunnel every day. For many years, this Committee has worked to increase both oversight and accountability for the Central Artery Tunnel project. Public confidence can only be restored through sustained, vigilant oversight that has been lacking by those responsible for overseeing this project.
Therefore, I request that the Committee use its authority to investigate what structural problems caused the collapse of a portion of the Central Artery Tunnel, what safety improvements may be necessary to ensure the future safety of the tunnel and whether the contractors have endangered the safety of Massachusetts commuters.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.
John F. Kerry