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Archive for Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pastor asks for unity, action at Big Dig victim’s service

July 16, 2006

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— All "politics and divisions" should be set aside so the deadly Big Dig highway tunnel complex can be fixed, a pastor said Saturday at a memorial for the woman who was crushed to death when concrete tunnel ceiling panels fell on her car.

"Let's not lose another life like Milena's," the Rev. Cesar DePaz said during the service at the Iglesia Hispana de la Comunidad church for 38-year-old Milena Del Valle. DePaz spoke in Spanish as his remarks were translated. "Putting aside all politics and divisions, I make a call that the right measures will be taken so that something like this won't happen again."

The governor has taken control of the investigation, amid calls for the resignation of the head of the agency in charge of the Big Dig complex, and the attorney general is spearheading a state criminal investigation.

Del Valle was killed Monday night when four of the 3-ton ceiling panels crushed the passenger side of the car being driven by her husband, Angel Del Valle, as they headed to Logan International Airport.

The $14.6 billion Big Dig buried the old elevated Central Artery that used to slice through the city, replacing it with a series of highway tunnels.

Although it's been considered an engineering marvel, the most expensive highway project in U.S. history also has also been plagued by leaks, falling debris, cost overruns, delays and problems linked to faulty construction.

The eastbound and westbound tunnels remained closed Saturday as federal and state investigators examined ceiling bolts supposed to hold up the ceiling panels. There's no timetable for reopening.

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