The state’s transportation board opted yesterday to reverse course on approving a $2.7 million design engineering contract for subway tunnel safety to a firm that co-managed the infamous Big Dig.
The MBTA had previously selected Parsons Brinckerhoff for the tunnel work, one half of the management team that paid $407 million to avoid criminal and civil charges in the catastrophic collapse of the I-90 tunnel, which claimed the life of Milena Del Valle. Yesterday the MassDOT board — in charge of approving contracts — decided to put the project back out for bid.
The board’s chairman, John Jenkins, said the reasoning was because the selection was made two years ago and that some selection committee members had retired. An MBTA spokesman added that the work, mainly focusing on the Blue, Green and Orange line tunnels, was not immediately necessary.
Judy Cooper, a spokeswoman for the firm, said she was “extremely surprised” by the board’s decision. She added the firm is currently involved in more than 65 contracts in Massachusetts.
After the board meeting, MassDOT Secretary Jeffrey Mullan said he was comfortable considering Parsons Brinckerhoff for the work in the future, adding it is “an internationally recognized design firm.”
“I’m hoping that people in the commonwealth will realize we are proper stewards of the infrastructure and guard their safety zealously,” he said.