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BOSTON � The joint venture that managed Boston’s Central Artery/Tunnel Project, or “Big Dig” and other contractors agreed to pay $458 million plus interest to Massachusetts to resolve criminal and civil charges stemming from a tunnel ceiling collapse and defects in another tunnel. The joint venture Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, which includes Bechtel Infrastructure Corp., PB Americas Inc. or formerly Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas Inc., agreed to pay $407 million. Twenty-four section design consultants agreed to pay $51 million. The agreement resolves the state’s civil case against Big Dig contractors for project cost overruns. Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Bechtel Corp., No. SUCV2006-04933 (Suffolk Co., Mass., Super. Ct.) Under the agreement, state and federal officials can sue Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff for catastrophic events through October 2017 that cause more than $50 million in damages. Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff and the state or federal government would use binding arbitration to resolve such claims with the joint venture facing maximum damages of $100 million. “We believe that today’s global agreement is the best possible resolution for the Commonwealth and the federal government,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. As part of the agreement, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff also acknowledged failures in certain areas: its obligation to manage construction of certain walls; oversight of ceiling construction in the tunnel where a ceiling collapse killed a woman in July 2006; its obligation to fulfill construction management obligations concerning contract modifications; and oversight of concrete testing protocols. The company is also required to institute corporate compliance program and conduct an internal investigation if it finds defects in public construction projects that could lead to a catastrophe like Boston’s fatal ceiling collapse. Most of the money will be held in a new Massachusetts Central Artery/Tunnel Project Repair and Maintenance Trust Fund. The fund now has more than $500 million counting last year’s settlement with a concrete company. In July, asphalt and concrete supply company Aggregate Industries Northeast Region Inc. pled guilty and agreed to pay $50 million to settle criminal and civil charges related to a fraudulent scheme involving concrete. Aggregate also agreed to provide up to $75 million in insurance coverage for maintenance problems related to the scheme.

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