Big Dig Tunnel Expected to Reopen After Federal Review

Safety repairs to a portion of the Big Dig tunnel where a motorist was killed by falling ceiling panels have been completed and the section will reopen once federal authorities give the OK, Gov. Mitt Romney said Friday.

Romney gave no estimate when federal authorities would finish their review, but said they were aware of the urgency of addressing traffic congestion that would be partially relieved once the so-called "Ramp A" is reopened, providing a key link to Logan International Airport.

However, the Republican governor told a news conference he was open to making any changes that the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation's inspector general may recommend to ensure the ramp is safe.

"If so, those will be made. If not, we'll be ready to roll," Romney said.

If the section is reopened, it would be the first measure of relief for motorists who have been denied a direct route to Logan since the July 10 accident that killed a Boston woman.

Romney said state efforts to repair suspect ceiling panels and shore up giant ventilation fans suspended above the roadway on Ramp A have been successfully completed.

Opening the ramp would allow traffic to flow from South Boston into the Interstate 90 eastbound connector tunnel — where the accident occurred — and then on to the airport via the Ted Williams Tunnel.

Several Big Dig tunnels and ramps have been closed to traffic since 12 tons of concrete ceiling panels fell from the I-90 connector onto 39-year-old Milena Del Valle, crushing her to death.