Introduction to This Book
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do.
In 1956, an interstate highway was built across the United States, which ended abruptly at the edge of Boston and connected with an elevated highway known to Bostonians as the “Highway in the Sky.” Almost 50 years later, America's most ambitious infrastructure project, the Big Dig, was substantially completed. This was the largest, most complex urban infrastructure project in the history of the United States and included unprecedented planning and engineering, as described in Luberoff and Altshuler's political history of the Big Dig (1996), and reflected in the many awards for recognized excellence the project received (listed in the appendix to this book).
The Big Dig was originally projected to cost $2.5 billion and was to be completed by 1998. Instead, the project cost $14.8 billion and was not completed until 2006. Truly a massive project, the Big Dig involved 5000 workers, 130 major contractors, an army of construction equipment including more than 150 cranes, excavation of enough dirt to fill a football stadium to the rim 16 times, enough reinforcing steel to make a 1-inch steel bar long enough to wrap around the planet, and enough concrete to build a sidewalk 3 feet wide and 4 inches thick from Boston to San Francisco and back three times.
Unfortunately, the important lessons learned from this project ...