Nonetheless, state officials under the Executive Office of Transportation recruited five engineers from Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff to join the 24-man team of field engineers overseeing ceiling repairs sometime in the last few weeks, said Jon Carlisle, spokesman for [John Cogliano]. Another 12 to 15 Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff employees have been working in the tunnel on projects such as wiring since before the accident.
The role of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, first reported yesterday by the Boston Herald, has triggered an inquiry from the inspector general of the US Department of Transportation, which has frozen $81 million in Big Dig funding since 2004 amid questions about the project's management. A spokesman for the office said state officials had promised not to use Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff employees on I-90 tunnel repairs.
The hiring of Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff to oversee repairs underscores the depth of the 15-year relationship between the state and the joint venture of two of the nation's biggest construction management firms. Under the controversial management structure of the Big Dig, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and the state were virtually merged, with Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff officials commonly making decisions on behalf of the state.