Ramp reopens linking I-93 north to I-90 east

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BOSTON (AP) – A traffic ramp providing a direct connection from Interstate 93 north to Interstate 90 east toward Logan International Airport reopened Saturday, the State Police said.

“Ramp L” had been closed since the July 10 death of a motorist who was crushed by falling concrete ceiling panels in a Big Dig tunnel.

An estimated 22,000 drivers will use the ramp each day, state transportation officials said. They said the ceiling panel hanger system was reinforced, allowing the ramp to reopen.

Meanwhile, a water leak closed a portion of I-93 south in the Thomas “Tip” O’Neill Tunnel downtown Saturday for more than four hours.

Executive Office of Transportation spokesman Jon Carlisle said two sprinkler heads in a Massachusetts Turnpike Authority structure above the tunnel burst, causing water to flow through an opening that usually moves air into the tunnel.

Carlisle said the problem was not related to previous leaks in Big Dig tunnels.

“It’s not like the past problems we’ve had where the ground water leaks through the wall,” he said.

On Jan. 14, the eastbound I-90 Connector tunnel where 39-year-old Milena Del Valle was killed was reopened to traffic. One area that was closed after the accident remains shut down – a portion of the High Occupancy Vehicle lane in the eastbound tunnel, which is still undergoing repairs.

Del Valle was crushed to death when concrete ceiling panels crushed the car in which she was a passenger. Her husband, who was driving, survived. The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against companies that worked on the project and the Turnpike Authority, which oversees the project.

Her death is still the subject of state and federal criminal investigations. Inspectors believe bolts that held ceiling panels in place came loose because of failures in the epoxy resin designed to glue them in place.

The troubled Big Dig project buried I-93 underneath Boston and opened new connections to Logan. The $14.6 billion project is the most expensive highway project in U.S. history and had been plagued by cost overruns and leaks before the fatal tunnel collapse.

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